Thursday, 19 February 2009

Day Forty: The dolphins are back…

We have spent the day cruising the waterway between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef and it has been a day of mixed happenings. Hilary has not really been herself all day, nothing that we can pin it down to but she just feels blah. We had breakfast in the Al Fresco and today Hilary took her soya milk with her so that she could have some Alpen with added fruit, much the same as I had but I usually go heavy on the prunes and the figs. However even then she wasn’t comfortable with it and as soon as breakfast was over we followed the deck around onto the fore peak where you can lean over and watch the sea go by. It wasn’t long before we saw some flying fish and they are often a good pointer that their may be other birds and fish around. Some of the flying fish really travel a long way and they are a bit like skipping stones for they fly out across the water and just touch the top of a wave before they skip off again and they might make five or six skips before they eventually give up and dive into the water. We were just about to give up when Hilary saw something in the water quite a long way out – she does have amazing long sight this girl – and as we got closer we could see that it was a pod of dolphins playing ahead of us, unfortunately it didn’t take long and we were past them and we thought that would be our lot for the day.

As you know by now we couldn’t upload our blog last night, I had had problems the previous night but managed to get it out, but last night even though I sneaked into a deserted CyberStudy wriggling past a sign that distinctly said Closed, I was unable to connect and get the blog out. The CyberStudy is just one floor above Al Fresco so as soon as breakfast was over I climbed the two flights of stairs to make sure that it was operational again and then I nipped back to the cabin to pick up the laptop while Hilary attended the talk on Rabaul, I will let her tell you what that was like but the only two tours that P & O have are concerned with the Japanese occupation in WWII and they are of no interest to either of us.

Last night we decided to give the dancing another go and today’s lesson was the cha cha, a dance that I have never even attempted before. The preliminary lessons weren’t too bad and we both separately mastered the basic step but put together we were a total disaster and we found it much too fast for us. We were rescued in the basic step when Keiko – who usually dances the man’s part as Richard doesn’t dance at all – and a friend of hers came and showed us what we were doing wrong. Then they added some turns and that was it for us, we couldn’t do it fast enough and ended up getting in everyone else’s way so we cut our losses and left it to those with more rhythm and quicker feet than us. We will give it another go but we will probably wait for the waltz or the foxtrot which are more suited to our tempo.

We cut our losses with the dancing and knowing that it was going to be hot (81F with light airs) we worked our way down to the shady side of the Promenade Deck and grabbed a couple of sun loungers where we succeeded with the crossword (apart from one clue) and I failed miserably with the Sudoku TWICE! While I was doing and failing at the Sudoku Hilary had a tired interval and closed her eyes for the best part of an hour and that is most unusual for her. We both stood by the rail and watched the flying fish and the jellyfish go by but were horrified at the amount of pollution that there is in these waters, sometimes we were ploughing our way through oily murky water, then what looked like soap scum. Considering that the Australian Health and Safety have stopped us using the laundry until after we leave their waters we were most surprised to see what appears to be the result of tankers washing their storage containers in this haphazard way. Incidentally our bath/shower room is festooned with knickers that we have been forced to wash in the sink as we need some before the launderette becomes available again.

After Hilary woke up she was hungry so we went to the Conservatory about 2.15pm for a spot of lunch and it was when looking out of the windows here on Deck 12 that Hilary saw two whales and we both saw two very large dolphin pods, the latter were having a great time leaping in and out of the water and we can only hope that they are unaffected by the stuff in the water. Lunch over we decided on a whim to go and see a talk by an ex-Birmingham Chief Inspector who is to give seven talks about investigation techniques. It all sounded a bit dull but he was very, very funny and related a lot of his techniques to that used by wives when their husbands arrive home late from work. If we get the opportunity we will try and see his other talks. Tonight is formal and we also have to get ready to meet the new captain at 6.00pm so I had better stop and let Hilary add her replies to yesterday’s comments and tell you about Rabaul. She has been on the bed dozing ‘No I haven’t I have been listening to the TV with my eyes closed, I have heard every word!’ Here she is….

Tiz I. As you have probably gathered I have had an exceptionally quiet day with the highlights being seeing the pods of dolphins and the two whales – fantastic. The whales had practically passed by before I realized that a crowd had gathered at the window and being nosey I asked what they were all looking at? Now my faith in the Pacific showing me a whale has come true even if it has made me wait until we were almost through to the end of it! I went to a presentation on Rabaul, Papua New Guinea which is on an active range of volcanoes. The last eruption of note was just a few years ago and the main town has been rebuilt so many times that after the eruption in 1991ish the people gave up rebuilding it altogether. We do not have a trip out on this stop and are unlikely to get one. The people are not geared up to accommodate large cruise ships and to take the tours we will be depriving the local people of their public transport system for the day. There are two volcanoes which are constantly venting steam and smoke so we might be able to see them from the ship. Tomorrow we will be seeing the islands of Whitsunday and again we have not booked a trip but intend to take the tender to shore and investigate the town if it is not too hot – today has been incredibly hot and hard to breathe but then we are in the top part of Queensland so it to be expected! I believe that the general consensus that we should continue with the blog after Sam and I get home is great and I agree with you all – should be fun – but I have many more places to tell you about before I get home. Now to answer the messages. Pat, congratulations on getting that lovely cross stitch out again and almost finished. It is beautiful and well worth finishing. Sharon, I agree with everyone else, why play games that you don’t want too? Good on you gal. Jess, I agree with Nana – what a clever grand-daughter we have! You can be our interpreter in Hong Kong, hope you can make it sweetheart. Take care, God bless.

Last word from me as we have just come from another Headliners concert which was fabulous as always, we have seen this show earlier in the cruise, it is the one about Hollywood stars and the Bob Fosse numbers are exceptional, such energy that these kids have. Tomorrow it is Whitsunday Islands and we don’t have any plans other than to catch the tender ashore – this will be the first time that we have not actually stopped in a harbour – then we will decide what to do and where to go. It promises to be exceptionally hot so we may not stay ashore too long. Night for now.


samw7 said...

Yeah, so glad that you were able to post. I missed reading about your adventures yesterday. Glad to hear that you were able to see the dolphins and whales, and the zoo sounds amazing. Not much going on here. Getting back in work mode, although slowly this week. Tonight Jeff, Kelly and I are going to see Robin Williams in concert. This was our Christmas gift from Jeff and since he is my favorite comedian, I can't wait to see him. Love to you both, Sam

Pat said...

Sorry to hear that Hilary was feeling a bit poorly, bet the heat didn't help.
Thought you might like to know that Jessica's christmas present arrived today (posted in Dec). She sent a scarf come shawl for mum and a red and blue nodding dragon for me. They were both great and to top it all my mother thought so to and you know how fussy she is.
When you are in Hong Kong you must look out for some chinese brocade for a waistcoat for Sam and silk for you.
Have I told you that Kate's baby to be is a boy. Kate said Chris was a bit overwelmed when he found out (ahh).
Was quite bereft yesterday morning without your blog to read but great to read 2 today.

Love Pat

Julian said...

Hi the zoo sounds fantastic and was worth the trip. Glad you have got to see whales as well as dolphins. I'm still waiting to see a whale around the uk coast, but will bore you with my dolphin stories. College is finishing tomorrow but I have to come back next wednesday the 25th to take my oral exam with the maritime and coastguard agency. Will bore you with the problems and phone calls I have had to make later. The rope with a ball is a ' heaving line ' and the ball is a knot of the rope made into a ' monkeys fist ' Yes you will be tested on this later. Enjoy the Whitsunday Islands. Love to you both Love Julian Moira Carl & Kelly

Liz said...

Hi there,

I'm glad you saw the whales and dolphins, that must have been amazing.

Have just been watching a nature programme about north east aussie's rain forest with very large birds called 'casseries'. They look like ostrichs with bright blue necks. Very attractive birds but lethal with tallons and claws!
As you enjoy the view of the forest coastline travelling up the east coast, be glad that you are in the safety of the cruise liner on the sea!!

Looking forward to hearing all about the Whitsunday islands. (To be honest I have never heard of them before)

Glad you had a good trip to China Sam, the ice sculptures sounded great, they are one of my top ten sights to see along with the Great Wall. Trouble is the list keeps getting longer,there are so many wonderful things to see in this world aren't there?

will write again soon, have fun.
Love Lizx