Summer 2004:

In summer 2004 we made another trip to South Africa, with side trips to Mauritius and the Seychelles. Gabriel could not accompany us as he was headed to Tokyo as a Rotary exchange student for his senior year of highschool, so we said goodbye at Willard Airport in Savoy, just south of Champaign-Urbana. Our first stop was New York City to visit the World Trade Center site, which had been cleaned out by then with construction of neighboring buildings underway. We watched the sun set over the Hudson and New Jersey before heading over to Christina's mother Lee's home there for the weekend. We flew SAA via Senegal and Joburg to Cape Town, where the stunning view from my parent's 10th floor apartment near Muisenberg beach of Table Mountain, Table Bay, the lighthouse at Muisenberg, and Bloubergstrand greeted us the next morning. Once again we were incredibly lucky with the weather, which can be miserably wet and cold in winter there, and spent our very first day on top of Table Mountain, where it got warm enough to drink from the rockpools, although Erica was sceptical at first. Much of the fynbos was in flower, including some of the Ericas for which she is named. One reason for the trip was the first gathering of the three Robertson kids and my parents since 1982, so we had a family dinner and Christina took this shot of the whole Robertson clan (Pam, Rene, Ian, Michael, Jessica, Rob, Gert, Erica, and me). It was also my Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary this year, and it was good to have the grandkids there.

The next day we visited Shosholoza, the first South African entry in the America's Cup for 2006. Another lovely day saw three generations tackle the Lion's Head trail, with Erica in the lead, and first to the top. A tired crew gathered for pizza dinner to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday that evening. Another daytrip was to Hermanus to watch whales, although we found more dassies (rock hyraxes) and aposematic red-and-black grasshoppers.