The title is a reference to a detailed discussion over dinner last night which was marked by the absence of our wine drinking companions Bill and Alison who were with some like minded friends on the Terrace Grill. The subject had turned to the location of Auckland and as to whether or not it was on the east coast of Australia, which I was certain it was, or on the west coast which was stoutly maintained by Richard and Peter. We argued about it over dinner and I started to waver even though my instincts told me that I was right, then as soon as dinner was over we headed off to the largest map we had access too and I had to admit that it looked as if I was wrong. However both Richard and I knew that there was a much more detailed map in the Crows Nest and when I got the opportunity I was in there looking at the track Oriana was taking and it confirmed that I was correct, Auckland harbour is indeed on the east coast of New Zealand. This morning I had the satisfaction of Richard apologising to me for having doubted my word and that he had spent the entire day in Auckland assuming that he was looking west towards Australia only to find that he had actually been looking east. Made my day!
When we boarded last night the captain came onto the intercom to tell us that we are heading for rougher seas and high winds, well last night we had the first sign that he may be correct as around 1.30am we were wakened by the ship shifting around quite violently. Ted was moving around on the windowsill behind us and our water glasses were sliding around on our little countertop. Nothing too violent but enough to make us feel that we were on the slow spin cycle in a washing machine, the seas were apparently about 3 feet high and the winds gusting to Force 4. We have been warned to expect seas up to 10 feet high and Force 8 gales tonight and tomorrow before we reach Sydney on Monday – we have both chosen to put the Sea Bands on but have not resorted to Dramamine. My food intake has not been affected by all of this – sad to say – although I decided to just have Weetabix for breakfast and then succumbed to a small fish and chips for lunch followed by apple and peach crumble with custard. Tonight’s dinner is formal, so bow tie and tux have to be dragged out again, although I might just go with my dark suit and tie for a change, I did buy a new dark blue tie today with the Oriana logo on it so perhaps this might be a good time to give it an airing.
Air temperature outside has been anywhere between 64 and 72F today but the wind across the decks has been quite cold and only a few hardy souls are sitting outside on the promenade deck. There are a few more on the Sun Decks but most of the pools are roped off because they are sloshing around and those folks that are out are sitting in the sun rather than in the shade. Hilary and I did stick our noses outside but ended up in Anderson’s, a rather clubby little sitting room with armchairs and sofas that is used by the old and tired like us. A foursome was playing bridge but most others were asleep in their chairs, we sat and did the crossword (one clue unsure) and the Sudoku (at the second attempt) before coming back to the cabin around 3.15pm so that Hilary could do scrapbooking while I typed this tripe on the laptop. Incidentally I should have taken the laptop ashore in Auckland as we found one internet café in Devonport offering an hour on the web for $3NZ (about £1.20) that’s about 1/10th of what we pay on the ship! Mind you Hilary wouldn’t have seen me for an hour and perhaps that was why she didn’t encourage me to take the laptop ashore.
The reason that we couldn’t use our favourite cold weather seating in the Crows Nest today is that Australian Customs and Excise are aboard checking every passenger and crew member before we land in their country. We were scheduled to go and talk to them between 4.00pm and 5.30pm but another passenger told us that they were appealing for anyone to go so we joined the lines around 2.00pm. It was a painless process, just two forms to fill in (one for entry and one for exit) the passport was stamped AND THEN TAKEN AWAY UNTIL WE REACH SINGAPORE. We still don’t understand that last bit as we will be wandering around Australia and Hong Kong without any form of identification other than a receipt for our passport whereas NZ had insisted that you had to carry your passport with you at all times. As Ripley says, “Strange but True.” Hilary watched the presentation about Brisbane and we have decided to go on the morning tour of the Australian Zoo which is the one made famous by The Crocodile Hunter, then we have the afternoon to either go to a beach or walk around the city. This is the rainy season for Northern Australia so the weather is unpredictable and it is best to be flexible with the plans. We still have no word from Brian but he is an Aussie after all and we will just assume that he will be there to meet us when we dock and if not we will do our own thing. We both want to be up at 5.30am on the day that we arrive so that we can film the entry into Sydney Harbour as we sail under the bridge past the Opera House. Pray for good weather for that one. With that I will turn you over to Hilary for the rest of today’s news. p.s. don’t want to boast too much but I am peeling lightly across my nose and my forehead (where my hair should be).
Tiz I. First of all I want to thank Georgia for the lovely message we found on the messages last night. Lovely. I was really sad when the ship pulled away from New Zealand yesterday – I know that Mum was too. I’m not too sure that the whole visit was not guided by Tony either! A great time and great memories. Next stop we should see Brian – that will be a trip down memory lane too. Now, the scrapbook is completed up to the end of the first leg (San Francisco) and I am running out of paper and pages already, this tome will be very big when it is finished. I will not expect anyone to have to wade through it all but for me it is full of wonderful memories. The seas are rolling up into quite interesting waves and we have been warned that tomorrow will be lumpy. If I do feel dizzy then the next leg of the trip (up to Sydney) will get a good start in the scrapbook – I can do that while lounging on the bed! Today is Valentine’s Day (Granddad Lowe’s birthday) so I will be wearing the red dress with the lacy top (a St. Luke’s special) for the formal evening dinner. I have to do something with the strawlike hair so I will leave this and hit the bathroom. Showering is impossible while the ship is moving around like this, I described the problem in a previous blog. It gets to be a long process when you have wait to slide up the bath again to catch the shower before sliding back to the other end of the bath with the next wave! Before I go I want to say sorry for not mentioning Betty and Sheila on their birthdays. I thought of you both on your birthdays but the mind went completely when I came to write my bit. I hope you had a super day. Next birthday on the list is Mum on 17th and Julian on 23rd so know that I have not forgotten you all – just having senior moments. Anyway the hair must be done. Take care, God bless. Oh, just to say great Liz, hang in there, only a few days to go now! And to say have a safe journey home to Sam.
Valentine’s Day dinner was a bit special and all the ladies were given a red rose and as we are towards the end of another leg we had the parade of the chefs and their staff and we were given a copy of all our menus for the past 14 days. Tomorrow we give our stewards and cabin girl their next lot of tips so they are being extra nice right now. We only had five on our dinner table tonight as Alison was feeling a bit queasy – it is a bumpy ride at the moment – and Peter and Christine decided to give the formal bit a miss and went to the Conservatory as it was Pasta Night. They missed a great meal and Hilary’s dessert was so attractive that she took a photograph of it, I will post it tomorrow. We have just come from the latest Headliners show and once again they were fantastic, one nice thing is that every so often at the end of the show they run off the stage and wait by the doors so that you can talk to them on the way out. Then we always compliment them on their performance, shake hands and generally encourage them to carry on. That’s all there is tonight, I will write again tomorrow, assuming that the Oriana doesn’t capsize in the swells – just kidding!