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Cape Town - Appendicitis is an unpleasant condition and when you are on a ship far from the nearest hospital, it is even worse.
Karen Schneider, a former Tristan da Cunha resident, who was on the first leg of her return journey to Switzerland after visiting her parents on the island, knows all about that after she was stretchered off a ship in Table Bay Harbour.
The ship, fortunately, was the SA Agulhas II and Schneider went ashore minus the troublesome appendage on Wednesdaya morning, after an emergency shipboard operation.
South Africa’s newest polar supply vessel returned to Cape Town after a month visiting Gough and Tristan da Cunha islands in the south Atlantic.
Apart from loading passengers at Tristan, the ship also picked up researchers and meteorologists who had been working on Gough Island for the past 18 months.
So it was the usual long hair and thick beards who hung from the railings to enthusiastically greet friends and family waiting, equally excitedly, at the V&A Waterfront quayside.
Among the passengers was Jennie Bancroft who sailed with the Agulhas last month to visit friends made a few years ago when she joined a team of volunteers to wash oiled sea birds after a large ship had run aground near the island.