This was Mark Twain's second visit to the African continent. In "The Innocents Abroad" he visits North Africa. Now, three decades later, he visits South Africa as presented in "Following the Equator". Rasmussen notes "While he had mixed feelings about Britain's proper role in the South African (Boer) War, he was unreservedly opposed to the ruthless commercial exploitation of the Congo Free State -- and denounces it in "King Leopold's Soliloquy".
April 7. We are far abroad upon the smooth waters of the Indian Ocean, now; it is shady and pleasant and peaceful under the vast spread of the awnings, and life is perfect again—ideal.
The difference between a river and the sea is, that the river looks fluid, the sea solid—usually looks as if you could step out and walk on it.