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Robbed in Capetown!

December 18th, 2009

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, delivers the latest from new team member Aimee Cebulski who is on a 6-month world travel adventure. She’s taking an Osprey Sojourn 28 with her (from our new Travel Collection). Trouble struck in Capetown, as Aimee and her partner were robbed…

For the first time in both our lives, Jeff & I were robbed.  Last night, we came back from dinner to find our room door was unlocked.  Jeff opened the door and we found our stuff scattered all over the floor.  After all the hundreds of places the two of us have stayed in over the years, it’s the first time either one of us have been robbed. It sucks.

What really sucks is our guest lodge is in a very nice, quiet part of Cape Town and is super secured with outside gates and two double-locked front doors.  This was an inside job.  No forced entry.  Our door had been unlocked and then they opened up the back door and the back security gate and slipped out.

It’s ironic:  We have stayed in so many places with many more opportunities for theft – tents with nothing but a zipper, old doors, etc….However; this place had outstanding security features.  Go figure.

Let me make this very clear:  We were SO lucky.  Our room had a safe where we had our passports, credit cards, extra cash and the netbook.   We had gone out to dinner for a few hours so I didn’t bring my camera (too bulky).  So now that’s gone, including my brand-new Tamron super zoom lens I bought for this trip.  Oh well, at least I got to use it on safari which was its number one purpose.

They also took Jeff’s entire backpack.  Most of his clothes were left behind but they took his whole pack.  Mine was spared and all my clothes were still there minus my windbreaker and hiking shoes (who wants my smelly old Merrells????)

For me, the saddest part is the loss of Passport Duck.  I can get another camera, another iPod and reload it when I get home…  Passport Duck was in my backpack, tucked away in his regular spot.  He’s gone.  Also gone is my little bag of jewelry I brought from home – Nothing of any real value – But sentimental pieces from previous travels that are irreplaceable.

Also a bit of a bummer is the fact that I had several souvenirs that I was actually just getting ready to mail home for Christmas that I had picked up for loved ones here in Africa.   Sorry everyone!

Jeff’s also now out a Dive Computer, we both lost all our chargers/cables and Jeff’s cool travel sleeping bag was in his backpack too.  On the bright side, they somehow missed Jeff’s camera tucked in his small backpack so at least we still have one camera!

We’re not going to dwell on this.  It’s not a reflection on Cape Town or Africa.  This could have happened anywhere.  Someone had a key and it happened fast.

We’re totally fine, no harm done, just a few things to be replaced.  If we had to get some new stuff, at least we are in one of the best places for some shopping.

Since the robbers took the extra key we had left in the room during dinner, we’ve bailed out of Ashanti Gardens and moved to its sister property a few miles away called Ashanti Green Point.   We’re still planning on enjoying Cape Town and meeting up with Jeff’s friends on Sunday.  Hey, any excuse for some more wine, right???

It’s been a crazy day and we wanted to share our latest development.  I’ll have to find something new to replace Passport Duck – More to come!

Editor’s note: Aimee’s Osprey Sojourn (see below) was not stolen! Here’s what she had to say —
‘They didn’t take my Sojourn, probably because it was open and on the floor, not easy to stuff things in and run…However, they did get Jeff’s Osprey Ather 70 which he bought for the trip!

Sojourn 28

Features of the Sojourn 28 wheeled convertible pack: Our StraightJacket™ compression system has always been well-suited to the rigors of travel. Add the High Road™ Chassis to the mix and you’ve got the Sojourn. For those who want to reduce the hoist component of their haul time it can’t be beat. When you do need to carry the Sojourn our superb zip-away suspension is on the ready. You’ll also find foam sidewalls for keeping the load secure, while handy mesh pockets, clothing straps and front panel daisy chains maintain your organization. Colors available: Earth, Charcoal, Pepper. Click here for more information – Sojourn Series.

For more information about Aimee, check out her bio page here.

Brand Team posts

Dahab, Egypt: Camel Dive Safari

October 28th, 2009

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, delivers the latest from new team member Aimee Cebulski who is on a 6-month world travel adventure. She’s taking an Osprey Sojourn 28 with her (from our new Travel Collection). This is her sixth (and final) update coming to you from Egypt…

One of the top things we both wanted to do during our time in the Middle East/North Africa was to camp somewhere in the desert under the stars…Until we got to Dahab and heard about the Camel Diving Safaris, we hadn’t even thought about combining the desert camp with diving and an ocean view!

Like Baja California, Most of the Sinai is desert right up to the water. As a result, you have several small Bedouin (local) villages set up just along the shore. Buildings are no more than huts with no real walls or roofs to speak of. Since it rains maybe one day a year in the Sinai for about 15 minutes, this isn’t a problem.

Many of the villages (especially those close to interesting dive sites) welcome visitors to stay overnight in one of the many available huts and even cook you dinner and breakfast for a small fee. We decided to do a Camel Dive Safari out to Ras Abu Galum, an almost untouched dive site with far fewer visitors than other parts of the Sinai.

Ras Abu is only accessible via boat or camel – No roads. Many dive shops organize Camel Dive Safaris where you hire a local guide and local camels to take you and all the necessary dive gear out to Ras Abu. You can choose to do an out and back day trip (leaving early in the morning) or an overnight stay, leaving later in the day and doing most of your diving the next morning. We elected the overnight stay to be able to camp under the stars.

On our way to the location to meet the camels we stopped for a midday dive at Rick’s Reef, another less frequented location and had a nice quiet dive with just us and our guide April (who was my course instructor – she’s awesome as both a guide and instructor!).

We met the camels in the mid afternoon and watched the Bedouin locals load up all the camel bags with our gear (regulators, BCDs, masks, fins, overnight equipment, sleeping bags, food, even the air tanks for all our dives). These animals are amazing creatures, quiet and steady, workhorses that are the transportation backbone for this region.

This was my first time on a camel and let’s just say it’s quite bumpy and my butt was quite sore after just a short time. After a short ride on the camel I hopped off and walked the rest of the way – Ras Abu is about 4 miles from Dahab. It was a beautiful, breezy night and the walk right on the coast was spectacular.

We arrived at camp just as the sun was setting and we were treated to gorgeous colors in the sky, along with a few local children and women trying to sell us bracelets and scarves (of course). As the sun went down, we ate dinner by candlelight and took in the millions of stars.

Jeff & I elected to take our sleeping bags outside and just sleep under the stars. We did see a few remnant shooting stars from the Orionoids shower and fell asleep to the sound of the water. However, the sand was quite hard and even with a sleeping bag and pad, neither of us got a full night sleep. Oh well! The view was totally worth it.

We woke up with the sunlight coming over the back of Saudi Arabia (across the Gulf of Aqaba) and geared up for an early morning dive. The conditions, the reef and quality of marine life were out of this world! No one was out there but us and we saw tons and tons of fish (some really big ones) and amazing colors of coral.

We got out of the water, had breakfast, and then went in for our second dive, going in the opposite direction of the reef. We were greeted by a sea turtle, an octopus and a school of barracuda. Super cool!

After the second dive and cleaning up, packing the gear, it was almost noon and time to head back to Dahab. Unfortunately, the hike back was not nearly as fun as the way over with blazing sun, no clouds and 90+ degree temps. We all rode the camels for a while since we were tired, but it’s actually hotter and slower up there, so we got off and hoofed it back.

Jeff & I checked into our new place, the Dahab Coachouse, which is a lovely small B&B run by a Danish couple, took massive showers, wolfed a big dinner of the local meatloaf surprise cheeseburgers and promptly crashed! Today we are taking it easy; I might do yoga tonight again here at a local class. Tomorrow is our last full day in Dahab before making the trek to Petra, Jordan.

Dahab has been the perfect stopover after the craziness of Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh and the fast pace of the European leg of the trip. Super excited to see Petra and then move on to Eastern Africa when we touch down in Nairobi on November 1.

Sojourn 28

Sojourn 28

Features of the Sojourn 28 wheeled convertible pack: Our StraightJacket™ compression system has always been well-suited to the rigors of travel. Add the High Road™ Chassis to the mix and you’ve got the Sojourn. For those who want to reduce the hoist component of their haul time it can’t be beat. When you do need to carry the Sojourn our superb zip-away suspension is on the ready. You’ll also find foam sidewalls for keeping the load secure, while handy mesh pockets, clothing straps and front panel daisy chains maintain your organization. Colors available: Earth, Charcoal, Pepper. Click here for more information – Sojourn Series.

For more information about Aimee, check out her bio page here.

Brand Team posts, Outdoor Activities, Product , ,

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

October 15th, 2009

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, delivers the latest from new team member Aimee Cebulski who is on a 6-month world travel adventure. She’s taking an Osprey Sojourn 28 with her (from our new Travel Collection). This is her fifth update coming to you from Egypt…

Are we in Egypt or Las Vegas?  Sharm El Sheikh turned out to be much more of a resort town than we thought.  Once upon a time this was a diver’s haven, a little strip of land right on the Red Sea.  Now, it’s a super developed, all-inclusive style of resort town.  Not really our scene (but it does have a Casino!).

There are countless 5-star resorts and a sea of buffets (along with people stuffing their faces) – And diving is a big business here.  We almost fell over with sticker shock when shopping for a hotel.  We scored a sweet deal at the Iberotel Lido – which is actually a very nice property, right on Naama Bay, with a killer view.  We nabbed a rate of only $180/night – includes breakfast and dinner.  This is a steal here.  Needless to say, we dramatically changed our plan to spend only a few nights here and then move quickly out of the area.

We’ve enjoyed the hotel, relaxing on the pool deck and taking in some of the local seafood at restaurants here.  Our main purpose to come to the Red Sea was to do some scuba diving.  For the last 2 days, we’ve been heading out with Camel Dive Club, one of the oldest dive shops here.

It’s a well-oiled machine, extremely organized and also very focused on diver safety, which is excellent.  Jeff says it’s the most he’s ever paid for diving, so again, we are not staying here as long as we first planned.

We’ve done 2 dives each day over the last 2 days.  The water conditions are outstanding, warm, clear and blue.  Tons of fish, amazing coral (color, styles and variety) but not as much wildlife as we have seen in other spots (turtles, reef sharks, etc.).

A videographer accompanied our group on our dives today out in Ras Mohammed National Park and she produced a video for viewing before we were even back at shore!  You home video fans (dad!) would have been super impressed at the video quality underwater and the production value of the finished piece.  However, at 45 Euro (about $68) for a finished copy, purchasing one was just not in our budget!  We were shocked at the price.  At 45 Euro, no one bought one.  If she had priced them more like 10 Euro, she would have sold out!

We’re staying here until Friday (not diving tomorrow) and then heading to the coastal haven of Dahab.  This is much more of a backpacker’s place and more like the experience we are hoping to get out of the Red Sea.  We booked a cool little hotel called the Alaska Camp & Hotel (go figure) – Our 7 nights there will equal ONE night here.  Insane!

We haven’t taken too many pictures – but a few here of us and the Red Sea.

Signing off for now, hopefully will blog again in Dahab, our hotel is supposed to have free WiFi.

sojourn28Features of the Sojourn 28 wheeled convertible pack: Our StraightJacket™ compression system has always been well-suited to the rigors of travel. Add the High Road™ Chassis to the mix and you’ve got the Sojourn. For those who want to reduce the hoist component of their haul time it can’t be beat. When you do need to carry the Sojourn our superb zip-away suspension is on the ready. You’ll also find foam sidewalls for keeping the load secure, while handy mesh pockets, clothing straps and front panel daisy chains maintain your organization. Colors available: Earth, Charcoal, Pepper. Sojourn Series.

For more information about Aimee, check out her bio page here.

Brand Team posts, Outdoor Activities, Product , , ,

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