Just to let you know, I have still not uploaded the photos – need to find an affordable way to do so. The ship is not it, just in case you had not figured that out….
Today is another pack up day. I am moving to my last of six cabins (five cruises + one change in the middle of the first). Headed down to deck 4, outside this time to see how it goes. I have booked fairly far forward so hopefully will out of the worst of the noise.
Tomorrow is early arrival in Sydney and hopefully access to upload some photos….
(Made a hat for one of the crew, he is headed to NYC and home and I didn’t need him to arrive and have a cold head. Not a bad exchange for mailing a package of three hats to upstate NY).
Seven Pair +Flippers
(with apologies to Margo, Shana, Miriam and anyone else who is in love with shoes).
As you probably can figure out, I don’t get shoes. I have commented on this more than once. Shoes to me are something that you put on your feet to prevent the soles from being destroyed by the earth/artifical surface upon which you are walking. Or running, jogging, biking or something else completely beyond my ken. They are foot covers and protectors. I don’t see any reason to wear anything that would make me unbalanced or make me hurt. Not toes, heels or back – I am not into pain for the sake of a pretty looking bit of leather/fabric or artificial whatever on my feet.
So here I am, on the road since 6 Sept. I have my jogging shoes which I also wear when desperate or on long distance transports. I have my keens which have become not just my water shoes but my wear everywhere pair. A pair of Clark’s black wedges function as casual to formal footwear and a pair of flip-flops round out what I might need. In reality, I could have forgone the flip-flops, but they were purchased in Florida last year (or was it the year before) and pre-date the Keens.
I noticed this pile of shoes that someone else had brought, then counted them. None were particularly spiky or unreasonable. There were just a lot of them. Several different colored sandal pairs, exercise shoes, flip-flops, skids. Of course, that doesn’t count the swim-fins.
I managed to locate and order a new pair of Keens which will be waiting for me in Florida, so I can toss these prior to heading home. The same for my Clarks – they are starting to fray and chew my toes. That leaves me wearing the running shoes and packing the flip-flops.
I was feeling more than smug as every little bit helps heading home. I have managed to off-load a lot of yarn, but all these lovely friends kept adding things back and still have to deal with knowledge that knitting mags are heavy. But none of these relates to the original topic.
Or that eighth pair of shoes that I just noted sitting under someone’s chair……
This is paradise, or could be minus the 400+ screaming children who all seemed determined to scare off every fish within several km of the beach.
Tendering into Isle of Pines, extensive areas of white sand beaches were easily visible to both the left and right of the pier. We clambered out and hiked first up to the local “Botique/Atelier” which featured a few locally made things, postcards and other tourist items to buy. Took the opportunity to buy postcards (hey, I was there…)
From there, Margo and I followed the directions she had obtained from various reviews and internet sources. We found a comfortable place in the shade to drop our gear and head into the water. Over the next hour, I enjoyed snorkeling around over areas of sea grass interspersed with sandy areas. There was minimal coral and only a few fish. The fish are not bright, but even they figured out that shrieking and splashing denoted areas to avoid. I have no idea what the major it fish were. They appeared about hand size, fairly oval in shape, thin in thickness, grey in color with a couple of dark grayish-black dots along the side. Oh, and their tails looked split. Swimming in a school, I came face to eye with them a couple of times before they vacated the area for quieter parts.
But the sand was lovely and white, the water crystal clear. My goggles (-3.0 diopters) let me see clearly, it was wonderful. From a density of a couple of dozen on the beach, there were hundreds by the time we moved on. Strolling around the rest of the area – a few merchants, a lot of local food stands and hot food local items. Since the island population is only about 2k, adding in the ship effectively more than doubled the population. A couple of ships a week right now is the norm.
Wandered back to the ship for a nice lunch of vegetarian wrap and asian noodle salad then washed off all the salt followed by card making, coffee and a lot of chat. Spending the evening relaxing.
Today it was birds rather than butterflies. You could hear the various voices in song and melody even over the sound of the morning’s captain’s announcement. The port is out away from the city. Even though it is Friday, apparently 0800 in the morning is too early for most of the local port operations.
Thirty minutes later there were forklift drivers everywhere and security people trying to look busy. If you were on a ships’ tour you headed right to the holding area from where they loaded the buses. Otherwise you headed left, past the gauntlet of men trying to see you tours, taxi rides or the water taxi into town. Oh, yes – and the local market souvenir stands – can’t forget the several dozen (well over a hundred) local stands carrying all the latest and greatest in plastic grass skirts, coconut bras (yes, really) pareos, bright colored shirts and skirts along with various shell, wooden and seed items (none of which are allowed to be imported into Australia.
After walking out to the gate in the blinding sunlight accosted by the hucksters, taxi drivers and the humidity, Margo and I made a U-turn and ambled through the shops back toward the ship. Sidewalks? not a chance and it turns out to be too far to safely walk into town so the best part of the morning turned out to be a lovely coffee in the lounge followed by knitting on the E.L.F hat (Harry Potter reference. If you have Ravelry, go look it up).
Afternoon we joined a ships tour up to the Mele Cascasdes. There were four scheduled times but by the time I figured out that ships tour was going to be safer than doing it on our own, the only time left was 1330. Go me (grin). Mini-bus to the falls, swimsuits under hiking clothes, water shoes on the feet. Easy walk up (unless you are over 70 and rather mobility impaired) to a lovely falls where there were pools, small cascades and waterfalls. The upper area (where I didn’t climb) were lovely. There were a couple of groups that went absailing down the waterfall. Looks interesting but banging into rocks is not my idea of a good time so that particular activity isn’t yet on my “need to try it” list.
I didn’t really do much wading around since I had the good camera with me since taking a risk with that valuable an item would have been outside even my foolishness limit. Wandering down a bit ahead of the group, Margo and I wound up talking to a lovely older Australian couple. Both of us were independently a bit entertained by their perceptions of the rising obesity in the US and the issues with food, portion size and eating out. Now I agree on all of the later, the US has issues but frankly (and unfortunately) the UK and Australia aren’t all that far behind and attempting to catch up. But when the person speaking is also having problems walking, getting out of bed in the morning and generally can’t move around as rapidly as they used to, one might think that they would recognize that their own weight might just play a significant role in their activity reduction. Perception I guess is everything and the person we are least likely to be objective about is ourselves?
Arriving back at the ship, it was a causal evening. More progress was made on the ELF (now up to hat 4) and Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson is now on the audio. As it turns out, she is discussing the development of kitchens, kitchen utensils and eating implements, not just forks……
Tomorrow is Isle of Pines
was all about butterflies. When Margo and I got off the tender and started walking up the hill they were all over. White, yellow, orange flitting singly and in groups around the hibiscus, frangipani and anything else that was blooming. Of course, since we were planning on going snorkeling I had my GoPro and not a regular camera.
On the one end of the island, perhaps the head of the turtle swimming in the pacific waters, stands a church looking out to see. It has become a standard representation of the island. Hiking up, more flowers, butterflies and the occasional birdsong. The lack of children from the ship was frankly refreshing, While some of the kids are lovely, there is more than a few of the obnoxious kind. Believe it or not, as an average, the group on the five day was better behaved, including the schoolies.
Ah, tendering. Unlike in most US ports it seems that Australians are not known for getting up and off early especially on those cruises which are child “enriched.” As a result the first hour of tendering was named “the early bird” and you didn’t need tender tickets. I am not sure that Margo really had her eyes open but she gamely came along. The first tender wasn’t even full!
We then checked out the pay snorkeling cove and decided where the area might well be worth the 15$AUS that was requested, climbing down ladder, stairs and heading immediately into deep water was not what we intended. So it was back out walking.
There is really only one road on the island and we had not exactly docked on the town end, so traffic was almost non-existent on the single lane. Passing the landing area of wooden jetty with enough space to dock two tenders and set up a security space, two sheds for local market and a parking lot we headed toward the other end of the island. There was a second church, this one dating from 1889 (or so) along with a small graveyard still obviously in active use. Another 40 minutes along the road it was obvious we were not going to read town or anything else resembling civilization (which might just explain the dozen mini-buses in the landing parking lot).
Turning around, we passed again the church, the old man with the sign for “Caves and Beach” with a slightly lower price than the other snorkeling area and stopped at the main beach. The water was lovely, but I didn’t bother breaking out my snorkeling gear – the few people out already said that there was really nothing there but for a couple of small fish and a lot of legs.
I made what was to be a brief trip back to the trip (it took an hour for a seven minute tender each way – there are a lot of toddlers whose parents don’t seem to mind encouraging the independent climbing of stairs even if there are a hundred people waiting behind them). Dropping off the snorkel gear I grabbed my good camera and came back.
[insert standard - as soon as I can find anywhere with enough band width I will upload the pictures] We hiked back along the road capturing images of flowers and butterflies. It was one of those blinding flashes of the obvious. I didn’t see any birds, all the plants are flowering. the butterflies are flitting from flower to flower. Duh – they are filling the niche of pollinator.
The rest of the day was for me quiet and restful. I finished off another course and Margo made it back to the gym once again. We went to the show, dinner in the MDR and I started yet another hat.
was our first stop in French Caledonia and provided an interesting contrast between nature and modern heavy industry. On the one hand, the city centre was open with statues, benches, garden areas and families. There is Wifi – as long as you have an email account to which can be provided a user name and log-in code with which you can access the network…..
There are green forested hills and mountains, islands and sandy beaches. There is also the 35+% of the worlds nickel supply that is mined in New Caledonia; departing for all of the rest of the world from various docks and harbors. There are markets with interesting fruit (no clue what these two are), fresh fish, brightly colored cotton lengths of cloth. There are piles of coal and huge chemical refining retorts. There are smiling faces and there are cigarette butts scattered everywhere on the sidewalks and streets.
The New Caledonian Museum featured a wonderful exhibit of historical implements and descriptions of past life with the occasional English translation .
[Oh, just a reminder -this area is more properly names Noevelle Celedonie - pardon for not having the accents as they always make a mess of any email. French possession/protectorate with its own currency, left hand drive cars and no signs on the sidewalk to help the less than wary Australians who are not used to thinking of cars on the "right side of the road."]
Upstairs there were exhibits from other of the islands in New Caledonia as well as representative items from related Pacific Island cultures. I also really liked the hut that was in the center of one of the courtyards. Of course, since I signed the “no flash, no commercial use and no internet agreement, the only photos I am likely to post is that of the exterior and internet of said hut.
It was early days yet when we headed back to ship for a late lunch and a restful afternoon.
Lifou tomorrow is quiet. It is so much so that there are no ship’s tours offered at all. I think the idea will be to just walk around, head to the beach and maybe snorkel. More people on the ship than live on the island.
Did I mention that I was dragging my cousin Margo along on this cruise?
Its fun both to corrupt a new cruiser and to see things once again through eyes that are not familiar or jaded with what is available.
We ate at Giovanni’s the first night and in the main dining room the second night before drifting through the windjammer this evening. It also meant that I have been to a show (in spite of the ships rocking which seemed to affect a large number of folks in the audience). It also meant that “full reservations” did not mean full since a fair number of people either cancelled or failed to show up at the appointed time.
Remind me to tell you later about winding up as the senior cruiser on the ship. Instead of “Diamonds In December” Royal is handing out heavy plaque thingies. Think block x2 for weight. No clue on how or if I am going to get the thing home….. Don’t want a second, that is for sure!
[pictures to follow]
tomorrow is New Caledonia
-Holly with the added benefit of being able to send from the Maritime Museum which provides wifi….free
A number of people have commented about not being able to stand cruising in an inside cabin because they feel shut in. They like light, openness and the ability to open a balcony door. I had to think about it for a while, but inside cabins don’t bother me.
I do admit that the nicer cabins are well, nicer! But as I have mentioned before, the nicer the cabin the more expensive. The more expensive, the less time you spend taking advantage of the rest of the ship. Why would I come out of my perfectly comfortable space? There is also the issue of cost, especially when traveling by myself, but I am going to ignore that for the moment and thought about inside cabins.
I realized probably the main reason that I don’t mind the inside, although having a balcony is wonderful and extra room is fantastic is because I am retired military. More than that, I have done more than a few deployments.
While being in the field in a tent is not an inside cabin, most of them provide dirt, stuffiness, uncomfortable cots and not much for light. Depending on the location, there are also the rest of the crew sharing the space. If the accommodations are provided in the ubiquitous warehouse then it was normally bunk beds and up to 499 of your new, very best friends. No quiet and often lights 24/7 as people were always coming and going. Then there are the variation on Davidson Huts which can be large and broken into multiple small cells or large and one big echoing wooden room. If small, then there are fewer divisions. In any case, in the desert you don’t have functional windows and any ventilation is provided by a dual purpose cooling/heating unit. Dust and dirt as well as stuffiness is a way of life. All light is artificial.
Other alternatives – such as UN Trailers provide a bit more privacy but not windows that really work. And a definite sense of living in a can. A metal can. See where I am going here?
Now think once again about an inside cabin on a ship. It has carpet, a private bathroom, a TV (for those who care), often a fridge. It is clean, it has beds rather than bunks. You chose your cabin mates. It is dark unless you turn on lights. The air circulation comes from a dual purpose cooling/heating unit…. and someone else cleans it.
The real difference? In one case I was paid to living in the dark; now I pay for same but the conditions are much better. And all the cabins arrive in port at the same time……
[and yet another post on which I owe you pictures....]
Brisbane is often described as a city defined by it’s river.
Or, in my way of thinking, it is a city defined by bridges and ferry’s making every effort in the world to manage its business while ignoring the inconvenience of the river as much as possible. It is no longer the 1880s or turn of the century. The river is no longer dredged and the commercial port has been long relocated a lovely 30 minute motorway drive out of the city.
Arriving on Elizabeth St I to hustle down to the river in time to catch the 0900 City Hopper (free). It is about 90 minutes if you ride the whole loop. A bit less if you get off at the Maritime Museum on the way back to walk across the good will bridge. Of course, if you do that – you can get a nice iced chai latte to drink as you stroll.
One of the last back on the bus – I am the last on the wifi here and they are going to pull the plug – so expect an update in the next couple of days…
Somehow, when it is hot outside it hardly seems like Thanksgiving. Also, when on a ship of around 2200 pax (with almost 1900 being from Australia and a hard-drinking group they are) it wasn’t surprising to find out there were somewhere between 23-35 American’s on the ship. [number floats depending on whether or not you count the cruise director staff and childcare crew in the numbers).
Didn't stop the chefs from putting on a Thanksgiving dinner in the side dining room complete with turkey and cranberry sauce. I skipped the rest of it because I had already been to dinner once that evening.
Yes, the woman who rarely eats dinner happily showed up for an extremely nice salad followed by blackened salmon at the Captain's Table. That was 1800. I even have the picture and menu to prove it - along with my little name card. But no way was I going to be able to eat two dinners in one evening.
Where was I? Oh yes, eating turkey after the introductions but escaping prior to a round of "what I am thankful for...."
Other than that - it was a quiet day at sea during which I read, knit, worked on courses and just about missed the ad hoc cruise critic get together which I had organized that morning and posted on the bulletin board.
Oh - and the wandering door decoration which had been stolen was found by my lovely cabin attendant (in another cabin) and returned. Didn't even think about kids on the cruise or the fact that someone might take it for a holiday decoration.
And another working port which worked to our advantage. The city itself provided the shuttles into the city so that Royal didn’t manage to get its share of money from our pockets.
Catching the first shuttle out, I walked the historic trail of the city most of the way prior to getting fascinated by the wave action at the Ocean Baths. [pictures and clip to follow]. Good thing that I have decent balance, a pair of keens and pants that dry extremely quickly. But the water temperature was more than comfortable and I didn’t squelch for all that long. As I contemplated what the shuttle driver had said about coals, it was obvious that the town name was chosen for its resemblance to the coal producing area of England. Still a major industry in the area, most of the coal goes out of the region, especially since the steel and iron works closed.
Museums? Found them – At the Fort which saw action in WWII against Japanese submarines, in the Art Galleries and the Maritime. Ignored any and all shopping (but if you are a vintage clothes nut, this might just be the city for you as there were more than a dozen shops).
Many of the original homes are standing but similar to Wellington, there seem to be contractors bent on updating and splitting up.
I climbed the Queens Wharf Tower which over all had 180 steps to find that the plastic windows at the top are so scratched that photos were impossible.
On our way out past Fort Scratchley, the volunteers fired a three volley salute to the ship. Being inside, I certainly heard the ship’s horn response, but missed completely (other than the smoke) the volleys.
[photos to follow]
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Probably the most important things to know about this cruise are
1) it is totally and completely booked
2) by reputation – it is a drinking/party cruise
3) there are only one other senior cruiser and I left from any of the previous cruises and no one senior – i.e. with any sense, getting on.
I think I may be hiding out a lot!
Abbreviations are very culturally specific.
If you don’t believe me, think of all the short cuts that have become almost common place since the advent of cell phone txt [ing]. See, right there my first inclination was to use txt instead of text since saving a letter when using the old number pad substitutions made a significant difference. Today with virtual keyboards, not so much.
Then there are all those abbreviations which go with the military. I will not bore you here. If you are, have been or related to a service member you have probably already had your fill.
Organizations look for spiffy combinations of names so that the acronym for the organization will be memorable and relevant. If it hangs around for decades or enters the general vocabulary, all to the good.
Where am I going with all of this? I first met CBD in Sydney and didn’t have a clue. Decided either it wasn’t important or relevant, promptly forgetting all about it. But it kept showing up over and over in Australia then in New Zealand.
It finally twigged in Wellington because I was logging into cbdnet. Hello? Where was I? The Central Business District and this was the free wifi in the downtown district. And if CBD doesn’t = what I think it does? Don’t tell me. Right now I am happy thinking I have a clue!
When they were done flying and gravity dragged them down, the dragons must have come to earth here in New Zealand.
But since I don’t have the bandwidth at present to upload photos – at some point this line will disappear and you will understand about the dragons.
Picton is the last stop in New Zealand and not exactly a large. Since we docked in the working port (and I am starting to wonder if there are going to be any trees at all left in New Zealand at the rate I am seeing lumber), there was a shuttle. Which, since the town was providing the shuttle rather than Royal – it was free.
Where was I? Oh, yes. 0715 on the gangway headed to the bus. Two fellow passengers were dragging suitcases and duffel bags. Getting off? No, just dropping their luggage off at home so that they don’t have to pay luggage back from Sydney.
Arriving early, I headed out on one of the hikes. Saw no one for almost 90 minutes other than two locals with their dogs. Hiked out to the point and had a chance to observe both the quiet and amazing scenery. I heard a number of the native birds but only saw one.
There were a few more people passing on the way back, but it was a nice break, having a nature walk day.
Following today I will havetwo days at sea before I arrive in Sydney on the 26th.
Now, explain to me why I wound up watching a Cricket Match in Westpac Stadium this evening. I could not have possibly because I know anything about the sport. Checking with my handy reference – Wiki tells me that there are 11 on a team, there is a central pitch and the idea is to score runs.
And no – it maybe a ball and bat sport but it bears absolutely no relation to US baseball.
(Note, I walked the city, visited the museum, public gardens and observatory, rode the cable car. Walked down past all the grand all Victorians which seem to have fallen victim to developers who are updating, polishing and chopping them up into flats while they have the opportunity. About 80% seemed to be sporting scaffolding, sales stickers or contractor names. Then there were various shops, munchies, public buildings, government buildings).
When walking back to the ship, there was a sign up about sports parking and a sign on the stadium about the game tonight. Wellington Firebirds against an Australian team. Silly me, I thought it might be rugby. Wandered out to find internet after dinner and went to the stadium. Turned out to be cricket. I was five minutes too late to get in.
As I was walking away, a young woman chased after me and handed me a ticket. Her law firm has box seats. She decided she was too tired and happily headed home. I went it, stopped at the team merchandise and bought a bright shirt on sale.
And went and watched cricket.
There are these guys all over the field, there are two members of the other team in the center. The pitchers – oops – bowler runs, hops and tosses the ball to the batter. Said ball is underhand and hits the ground once so the batter has to catch it on the bounce. Hit, run to the other end of the central pitch. Apparently if you hit it far enough, you can run up and back. The scoring goes into the hundreds.
I have no clue about the final score – it was 8:195 when I left with the first two Firebirds still up.
I am going to read the rest of the article after I get back to the ship. With luck you will get photos in the morning. But it is now 2230 here and it is a bit late to be out and about.
Sailing into Akaroa this morning the volcanic origins of New Zealand couldn’t have been more obvious. A large central circular, water filled area with cliffs above on all sides except for the opening through which we sailed, into the caldera or cooking pot. Take your choice.
At one point (in spite of the lovely video at the historical museum) I suspect was a small but prosperous town. First the Maori (more than one tribe) then the European setters of English, French, German and other later persuasions came to this beautiful area.
It is hard for me to imagine the area in other than today’s stark beauty, but the reality is that it was heavily forested which explains the logging industry. The whales explain the arrival of the whalers.
The Brits explain (Colonialism and wanting to beat out the French) their eagerness to govern. The earthquake and the cruise ships explain the growth of the town today which can swell from the less than 1000 permanent residents to thousands thronging the streets with the arrival of the tenders. (Lyttleton Harbor where the ships used to dock 10 minutes from Christchurch is not not functional after the quake).
Two ships in town was just unmanageable. Given that most of the large tour buses were from Christchurch and proceeded to block streets, travel and loading it was more than a challenge. Now I could see this happening if the ships happened to belong to RCCL and HAL. They don’t talk to each other. But today it was the Solstice and the Radiance. (Hello? Home office?)
Anyway, I bailed off early and was met by Bev who drove over the mountain from Christchurch. I feel so lucky to have accumulated a circle friends around the world and hope that I can pay back at some point. We traded goodies (yarn went that way along with the last Heidelbear, and I have patterns, possum yarn and some lovely fleece from her personal alpaca).
We walked the town early, looking at the historical buildings,
climbed up to the French Cemetery
and poked in shops here and there. After a nice coffee stop, we saw the Lighthouse,
a local Maori location
and took a ride out to the peninsula that extends into the heart of the caldera.
And then we have stubborn. There is this spit of land that stretches well into the center of the bay. Before the earthquake it was all of a piece. Not so anymore and you can see where both a break occurred and the one portion has not quiet finished coming apart. As a result, the first small look out is posted as off limits. Not knowing all of that, I just decided to be a good kid and play by the “walkway closed, take the lower route at low tide.” Coming around the end…. I probably don’t weigh enough to help finish the job started by a twitchy mother earth, but it probably doesn’t pay to be too stupid.
Down, around and the most amazing rock formations. I kept going, up the next hill. And on, and on and on, along the path to the far promontory.
My alarm went off early, but then it always goes off early. [Aside - and before I forget - I finished up the module yesterday and have my pass for the year. The reason I was having so much trouble with it was that …… there really wasn't much of anything to do other than "next" through the patient interviews. I kept thinking that it was complicated or that I was missing something. I wasn't. Lucking out, I drew the easiest module. Could have finished it in Adelaide had I staying on it for even 10 more minutes. Impatience generates its own anxiety.]
Back to your regularly scheduled tale telling.
New Zealand is in sight. Starting with Milford Sound we are cruising through, or perhaps it is in, turn around and back out like the Fjords of Norway. Since it is cold outside (well colder than inside and the wind is blowing – 14*C). I decided that I will look at the receding vista off my aft balcony. The other,, probably more important reason is that we are sailing east with mist still rising high off the water. Without the ability to take clear photos from the upper decks, staying warm seems quite sensible. As it turns out – it was partly to see it, take a gander at Sterling Falls but mostly to drop off the 85 pax on an overnight (expensive) adventure to see a bit of NZ from land after which they will join us in Dunedin tomorrow.
It was quiet and peaceful with what seems like a resort, a few buildings, some boats + a small airfield at the end just big enough to accommodate your average Cessna. After transferring our passengers to the tour vessel and recapturing the rescue boat which allegedly was there for emergencies but mostly seemed to be accommodating a couple of photographic staff with huge lenses on their cameras, we turned and sailed back out. As we did, the sun which had risen hours before crested over the mountain sides. It was suddenly almost warm. Blinding bright, but warm enough that my fingers uncramped a bit.
We entered Thompson Sound about 1230 followed by Doubtful Sound (Hello? Did anyone every accuse the early English of any imagination in geography names?)
It was lovely outside this afternoon, warm and sunny. I sat out taking photos then fell asleep for a short time on the lounger. But then we turned the corner, the wind changed and I was cold out of the sun. Headed down Breasky (?) to Dusky Sound before passing back out to the ocean.
Let me just leave it with the following – the seas are a bit more interesting off the southern coast of New Zealand than they were in the Tasmanian Sea (we were lucky there).
Tomorrow is Dunedin – I am taking the train up the Taieri Gorge before hunting around in town for the afternoon.
(and if the time posted doesn’t make sense – just remember I am currently at UTC+10 or so)
Today is not thrilling. I finished all the questions for my required board module while I was in Adelaide. It might not have been all that much fun for Kath to be sitting there, quietly knitting while I swore at the laptop, but it worked. Following the tricky multiple guess questions – none of which are the old easy to do five element format of my University Days – comes this patient simulation module.
After eight years of sweating through them – I finally had the procedure down. It might not be fun but I understood how they worked. Well, guess what? They changed the simulation module which I refused to believe till I was partway into it and realized that not only had the rules changed on me, but I didn’t have a clue as to what they wanted. Ok, take the deep breath and back out. I was about to run it again when Helen got home and I had my excuse for stopping. What I noticed also at the last minute was that you have SEVEN days in which to finish. If you don’t finish, it resets and you have to go again.
Now, given the rules change, I don’t know if I would get the same patient again or if it would be a completely different patient/disease/simulation. Since the absolute worst for me would be to have to start something completely new and strange, I am sure that is what it is going to be. So that was the 14th. Since I didn’t deal with it at all (ran out of time in Melbourne) I wasn’t paying attention to the calendar. 14+7=21 and today is the 18th. But I don’t think it works that way. It could be seven days starting with the 14th which would mean my final chance before reset would be the 20th. 24 hour clock? So would I have to estimate about noon just to safe side it? Or is it calendar days? Including the 14th? Which time zone? For that matter, since I am on the other side of the International Dateline from Kansas (who in their right mind would have their office in ….. – never mind) do they think I started this particular module late on the 13th? I think Adelaide is about UTC +9.5 while Kansas is UTC – 6. Too many hours or not enough. In either case it can give me a head ache.
So I am going to use up the last of my free internet Package to just go on-line and do it. Procrastination has its own costs. Today we are at sea. Tomorrow we sail through the Sounds before heading around the southern tip of New Zealand. On the 20th we are in Dunedin where I am planning on traveling the Taieri Gorge Railway. I really don’t want this exam hanging over my head.
I’ll let you know tomorrow should I manage to finish.
There really aren’t all that many time zones across Australia. My apologies to Cat, Helen, Jenny, Glenda, Ruth and all you other true children of this marvelous country, but your time zones are nuts.
Totally and completely nuts.
30 Minutes? Why?
Obviously cruising around the northern part of the country was easy since we were being gifted with hours back multiple times so the challenge has been in the last few days. At least so far all the time zone changes are done on the sea days so people don’t have an excuse for missing tours, ships, other conveyances or friends.
Perth was fine as was Freemantel but then we started into this series of insanity. No one thought anything of it (except that it was silly) when we jumped ahead 30 minutes the night we left Esperance. Then we visited Adelaide (with its guilty 30 minutes). With one sea day between – that night we lost 90 minutes. That is right – an hour and a half. Then there was another hour the following night. Which means, as far as I can tell, that Melbourne is on Sydney normal time.
[Note to all, I don’t even want the headache of trying to figure out the presence or absence of daylight savings time Downunder. I can’t even keep track of it in the Northern Hemisphere where the UK and Germany change at different times; I have children in three time zones in the US, one of whom lives in a state where they don’t play with time changes). Just when I thought I had it figured out up north, I have this feeling that I am missing something here.
This ship also does changes at night, rather than noon. By today when we had lost another hour in preparation for New Zealand both staff and cruisers are all walking zombies.
I really didn’t understand the noon thing early (Noon becomes 1300) but it makes sense. People get one hour less in which to consume food which benefits everyone and only the minimal night staff loses an hour of sleep as apposed to the 95% of passengers and crew who don’t sleep during the day.
I can maybe understand that there would be a lot of confusion with the 30 minute increments if they were accomplished during the day. But morning coming earlier and earlier with less and less sleep just isn’t working.
I never have lived in a sea port nor did iI grow up around ocean going vessels. So I am still absolutely fascinated by how many people, both young and old, come out to see the ship off as she leaves the harbor.
This hasn’t happened just once, but every time we leave any harbor that is not totally and completely an off-the path commercial one. Young and old, kids, dogs and bikers alike. They stand and wave as we leave and I just can’t help but wave back.
As I keep promising – I will include photos from various ports as soon as I either finishing going through them all, sanity strikes or I am off ship for a while (pick your best guess).
Or Adelaide, as laid back.
Since Maus & I were here for several days in 2010, my goal this time was simply to spend time with friends. If I saw anything at all, it would be a benefit.
So there I was, standing by the train station and waiting for a ride. My friends Helen and Kath bailed me out of Port Adelaide (not exactly next door to the city) and took me off with them for the day. We had a marvelous breakfast (now if I could just figure out how to order coffee in Australian, I would be just fine. What the heck is a “flat white” anyway? What if I just want a cup of coffee, non-instant?)
Any way, I had the best day in the whole world. Sat and chatted with friends. Got caught up on a number of on-line courses. Finished the exam for my CME module and started the patient simulation. Which of course has to be completed within the next seven days or it times out. Probably should have finished but I was freaking out.
Sent my post cards from Port Adelaide, then watched the wind/kite/para surfers on the beach before boarding the ship (less all the goodies I was able to pass off!)
It was still light out when we sailed out past waving crowds on the shore. The next time I come back, it won’t be with deadlines hanging over me which will leave me more time with great friends.
Yep, all around us
as we sail east
The distance to the shore is important. Looks like for the next few sea days both before and after Adelaide, we will not be leaving Australian Waters. This is not relevant to me, but has a significant impact on the Casino. Running gambling in territorial waters falls apparently within the country and state regulations (and do we really want to have a discussion between Australia, West Australia, South Australia and Victoria? The ship would obviously lose, have to kick money into the kitty, and be involved in politics… not worth going there!)
And since the only time I every do anything in the casino is the free Spin to Win which occasionally nets me a free keychain or t-shirt I am not exactly wailing….
I am in Esperance, Western Australia. It is the 11th of November and the year is 2013. It was 95 years ago that the War to end all Wars – the Great War which later was renamed WWI officially ended. The crowd is composed of the old, the tourist, the locals and school children. It is also comprised of a number of veterans.
When they asked for Allied Military Veterans to join the ranks, it would have been impossible to stay in my place in the shade. I wound up standing next to a lovely woman from Queensland. She served 10 years, a cousin was the MC, an uncle was responsible for raising and lowering the flag during the ceremony.
It is a day to pay respect to all those who, inspire of personal cost, served their countries call. It is not a time to debate the rightness or wrongness of the governments decision. It is not a time to lay blame; whether it be to the Kaiser, the Tsar or the Brits (for sacrificing the ANZAC troops at Gallipoli). It is simply a time to respect and pay homage to those that lost their lives or brought back the scars of war to be borne for the rest of life’s span. It is a time to note the sacrifices of all those on home fronts who in many lands were not in harms way, but suffered loss and privation. In other locations, the war was in their skies, their fields, farms or homes.
It is a day on which to think about peace. And the fact that we seem as a specifies constitutionally unable to settle differences without violence.
I followed my new Australian acquaintance over to the local museum. Unlike the heavily curated and organized within centimeters of existence -this is an exuberant exhibit of the local settlers. Somewhat organized, the building is chock full of items from the early white settlements on. Ranging from household items to signs, farm machinery, frogs, wildflowers, musical instruments and various collections of medical & dental instruments, there is pretty much something fun for just about everyone in the collection.
There is also an exhibit about the collaboration with SkyLab (yes, that SkyLab).
I spent a happy hour wandering around and taking a few pictures before sitting down to write out the obligate postcards. My collection of magnets seems to be growing as well. Since I can stick them on the wall, I am avoiding thinking about the weight till I have to complete my final packing.
After this current stop at the library, I will still have a couple of hours to explore the shore line and see if any birds, sea lions or whales grace me with their presence.
In case you hadn’t figured out their numbering system – the day you board is Day 1 and the day that you get off doesn’t count.
So, since I have already talked about the ship (it hasn’t changed), and some of the people, I thought instead to mention some of yesterday.
We docked on the 9th and were released to freedom around 0715. I was one of the first (no surprise). For $11.60AU you can buy an all day transportation pass for the local area. Or you can pay as you go. Since I wanted to take the train to Perth and back + the Ferry’s, the pass seemed the way to go.
So – I took the train. Then walked to Barracks Ferry Point and took the ferry across the Swan River both ways. Of note, the Ferry Captain is a Dane named Soren, recruited to come to Australia in 1988. He came, he stayed.
From there the Bell Tower was just opening. So if you wondered what ever happened to the Bells of St Martins-in-the-Field, the answer is on the fourth level of the Perth Bell Tower. I didn’t stay long enough to watch the Change Ringers practice. Took the CAT (local inner free bus system) to the Australian Museum and Art Gallery and followed that up with a wander through the local music festival. On the main square opposite the train station, the Australian Military Band (not sure which) was performing some wonderful 1920s-1940s music.
Then there is the White Dwarf – the science fiction and fantasy book store on the square. By this time my energy was flagging a bit so I took the train back to Freemantle. Couldn’t get back on the ship without checking out the Maritime Museum, The Round House and the local street festival…….
(pictures to follow)
The seas rocked me to sleep last night. Since the cause was high winds, the ship this morning was about 30 minutes behind schedule (large ship, rough seas, 60km headwinds). I will not entertain you with the huge amount of whining from various passengers when they heard the late docking information.
Hello? the world is not going to end if you have 30 minutes less in a port. Besides, there is this small matter of tendering.
Geraldton is what I might describe (as at least described by the locals who are both friendly and loquacious) as a typical Western Australian Town. It has the usual history (caretaker by the Aboriginals, coveted by the European Settlers, taken over by the later).
But the town is fairly level with the downtown area several blocks by several blocks and an interesting combination of locally owned and chains with a few box stores tossed in for good measures.
I walked by the original Victoria Hospital
on the way up the hill to the HMAS Sydney II Memorial (the A stands for Australia, the HM to the UK Royalty). The ship was sunk near the end of WWiI with her 645 man contingent. Looking at the names and the areas of the country, every Australian area was represented as well as UK.
A saunter back down led me past an incredible front yard
and right past a Quilt Shop. Going out of business the woman said – retiring. All sorts were interested in buying me out until they learned that they were actually going to have on-going overhead costs as well as costs for the inventory. Seems like the business sense was lacking, along with the cash and the willingness to work 7 days a week. I browsed but didn’t see anything uniquely Australian for which my suitcase thanks me. Since she was down to 5% of her original inventory, no surprise.
Then I stumbled on the Used Books and Internet Cafe where I am at the present.
from here it is
It has been a good day to till this evening. I had managed a good 3500 or so steps from sliding (55 steps on average per trip – you do the calculation) and hiked around enough that I didn’t feel too badly about skipping the gym this evening. Talked to people.
Attended the Back-2-Back cruisers meeting which turned out to be ten minutes of information and 35 minutes of sales pitch before I headed out the door unable to take it any longer.
In fact, when someone mentioned that there was going to be Karaoke in the Concierge Lounge, I though they were kidding. Unfortunately, they were not. The first time was Halloween when I managed to duck out without screaming. The available choice of songs was interesting – the voices were not. Three young ladies singing out of tune does not do justice to “Lets do the Time Warp again….”
Tonight, when the sound guy (from Broadcasting, not Ninja) came in and screeched the amp I was out of there so fast the wind from the door practically knocked people down. The group apparently wants everyone to participate. I know better – so you can take your fingers out of your ears.
Besides – they don’t have “Banned from Argo” on the list. I looked.
From both what the little the ship had to say and Wikipedia, I have gleaned the following: This is an industrial port town whose population seems to be stable around 15000. In a prior existence, it was the both the gateway to the Marble Bar gold area (and the rail terminus for that particular Railway). It is reported to be the largest tonnage port in Australia. Well, iron ore is heavy. Looking out the window this morning at 0530, I saw more than huge ore-carriers in a ragged line just floating and waiting their turn for loading. Red hulls with black above and a white low castle, they ride low on the water like a flock of birds. Since we are not due to dock till 0900…. As a deep anchor harbor, we don’t have to deal with tenders. The original harbor was protected by a sandbar which has long since been dredged away. Most of the development actually happened in the 1960s with the expansion of the iron mining (meaning able to handle 250,000 ton ships.
There was also an immigration detention center established in 1991 and operated first by the government and then privatized till 2004. It was convenient for the arrival of boat people. (perhaps the numbers arriving here dropped because there was a center?) Anyway the center was turned into housing for the expanded mining operation. The climate is described as warm to hot. Most people with brains who are visiting stay out of the summer months (Nov temps 21-> ~37*C*C).
There are salt hills between Port Hedland and South Hedland. Suppose I should go back and finish Kurlansky’s Salt to see if he has a reference. (answer – no, at least not that I found with a search on my KindleApp). Of course, I had not been expecting to see a huge pile of salt out in the open at the port. We arrived early and spent over 30 minutes inching into the pier. Unlike all the cruise ship terminals, there were no rubber bumpers, old tires or anything to protect the side of the ship from the steel pilings. I guess that it doesn’t matter if the sides of the ore haulers get bruised.