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Circumnavigate The Globe in 123 days with Bill & Mary Ann - 2011 World Cruise

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Mary Ann,

 

Belated Birthday wishes, am thoroughly enjoying reading about your journey.

May you celebrate many future Birthdays aboard a cruiseship.

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Wishing you a wonderful birthday!:D

Am enjoying your blog once again. I follow you every year!

Enjoy the rest of your cruise! Deb C.

Edited by Deb C.

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Happy Birthday, following your account of the cruise with interest and wishing I was there....My husband told me that once you hit 50, you start counting backwards, so not sure how young that makes you, but Happy Younger Birthday to you...

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Happy belated birthday - what a great way to celebrate:):)

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Happy Birthday Mary Ann. I wouldn't worry about not being 39. You weren't taking world voyages at that age. Good things do come with age.

Irene

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Report # 23 January 26, 2011 Wednesday Day at Sea

 

As we near the islands of French Polynesia, the weather remained sunny and warm. So far this trip, we have had extremely smooth seas and nice, comfortable days. Hope it continues.

 

Our clocks were set back again one hour last night, so everyone has caught up on much needed rest. Happenings today included Barbara's talk on Raratonga, Melvyn's final speech about high society and the great ocean liners, and another culinary demo on how to make the perfect lasagna.

 

A Mongolian cookout took place in the Lido pool area. People seem to really like being able to choose their own vegetables, meat, and seafood, then hand it over to the chefs, who then cook it in a wok with plenty of oil. You would not believe the mounds of delicious sauted food the passengers can put away at this event.

 

We enjoyed the mini pizza social held in the Crows Nest at 7pm. Every evening, hot hors d'oeuvres are served with cocktails, but they never include pizza. Tonight, that is all there is besides peanuts. By 7pm, there was not an empty seat to be found in this lounge. Someone at HAL headquarters has done their homework as to how to draw guests to a certain area at any specific time. Two for one drinks and hot cheese and pepperoni pizza works for us.

 

Wayne and Pat brought it to our attention during dinner that today was Australia Day, the equivalent of July 4th for us. Since that day will occur on the ship tomorrow, the fellows have invited all of us to the Crows Nest for a special celebration. What that entails, we have no idea, but we are game to find out.

 

On a serious note, we have heard from a most reliable source, that three guests have died since we left Ft Lauderdale. We have no details, but realize that life goes on, no matter where you may be. An elderly lady from our group was taken off in Lima, due to pneumonia. She and her husband should be rejoining the ship tomorrow. That's always good news to hear.

 

Can't wait to walk on terra-firma in Papeete tomorrow.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 24 January 26, 2011 Wednesday Papeete, Tahiti

 

We sailed into the harbor at Papeete, Tahiti very early this morning. Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, which consists of some of the most beautiful islands and atolls in the world. Even though we have visited here many times, we never tire of the stunning sites of the volcanic mountain peaks, rain forests, and waterfalls. Since we have no tour booked today, there was no need to get up early.

 

After having a hearty breakfast of eggs over medium with English bacon, we thought perhaps the time would be good to try the troubled internet again. Everyone we have questioned about their internet success, have been having the same problems as us. Sending photos seems to be a huge problem, despite the fact that the internet gurus have switched satellites. It is no better. Now we know why so many of our buddies have been going onshore to internet cafes in order to take care of business quickly It is way cheaper, and it can save your sanity.

 

There was a small group of native welcomers, playing music and dancing near the gangway when we exited the ship. This type of greeting doesn't happen as often anymore, so it is nice to see the passengers joining in the fun, as they danced with an elderly Tahitian lady who was part of the band.

 

Walking the town was our objective today. Yes, it was warm and humid, but we packed water to help keep us hydrated. The most colorful pictures can be taken at the Papeete Market, a short walk to the center of town. It is a two story building that sells absolutely everything Tahitian, including fresh food and flowers. The fish section had already sold most of their catch. It is so fresh, you hardly detect an odor. Pineapples, mangoes, papayas, and bananas are the major fruits. Our favorite has to be the tiny bananas, which have a tangy and creamy taste to them. French pasteries were being offered too. Too bad we already ate breakfast, or we would have been tempted.

 

Another section held the craft and jewelry treasures. Black pearls are the big item in Tahiti, but not in this market. Artistic necklaces that are sold here are made from colorful seashells attached to a woven neckpiece. Some of them are quite elaborate, weighing up to a pound, and can be very expensive. We did find a conservative piece that found its way into our bag at a reasonable price. And another favorite thing to buy here are the flowers, which we picked up on the way back to the ship.

 

Our walk took us from the market, down the Blvd. Pomare, past clothing stores, restaurants, and bars. Crossing the busy street where the motorists immediately stop for you, we explored the Cultural Center, a collection of huts and buildings on the waterfront. A newly-constructed stadium faced the harbor, and looks like it was set up for concerts.

 

A pedestrian and bike walkway started from here, lined with grass, palm trees, and kiddie playgrounds. Bathrooms with changing rooms also were available along the way and well maintained. There were not too many people using this pathway today, since it was very hot, although we spotted a little fellow running on the pavement without shoes. Tough kids here.

 

We went back to the ship for a quick bite of lunch and plenty of ice cold water. It was no use attempting to go to lunch or even try getting a beer, since the cafes and restaurants were bursting at the seams. Wanting to check out the local fabric, we walked back to the market once again after 2pm. All of the smaller shops had closed their doors at noon for their lunch break. The thousands of bolts of multi-colored and flowered fabrics were overwhelming.....too hard to choose. So we came back empty-handed. We know that all of the products are imported, more than likely from China, so most of it can be purchased where we live and for much, much less.

 

The Amsterdam was scheduled to leave around 6pm. Many had gathered at the aft pool deck for the sailaway party, but we did not leave. The sun had set, and we still were docked. Captain Olaf finally announced that we had workers onboard fixing something, and would not leave until they were done. Gosh, wouldn't it be great if the workers were fixing the blasted internet??? No such luck....they were repairing the airconditioning for the inside staterooms. Darn!

 

Cocktail time was a bit different this evening, since our Aussie buddies were celebrating Australia Day. Rhonda, the bigger-than-life gal from Australia was in the middle of the excitement. She was draped with their flag, making her appear like a female Superman. Whatever floats your boat, we say!

 

Three of our tablemates were eating in the Pinnacle Grill at the Le Cirque of New York City. They were there to enjoy a French dinner for $39. each. So we had room for a guest, and asked Martha to join us. She kept us in deep conversation all evening. She is good at that, no matter who she is with.

 

Sometime during dinner, the ship sailed out of the harbor on her way to nearby Bora Bora, where we will be at anchor for a day and a half. We did not need to attend the show tonight, because we caught the singer, Aussie, Peter Cousens, practicing in the Queens Lounge while we were attempting emailing. He was very good from what we heard.

 

Until tomorrow......

 

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Mary Ann and Bill,

 

How delightful to be in Tahiti and spending one and a half days in Bora Bora. We will be there in 9 weeks time, we are counting the days.

 

Tahiti is my favourite place especially the beautiful islands. Enjoy your time there before coming across to us "down under"

 

Jennie

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to nearby Bora Bora, where we will be at anchor for a day and a half.

 

How fabulous to overnight on that beautiful lagoon in Bora Bora.:)

Not many ships do that.

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How fabulous to overnight on that beautiful lagoon in Bora Bora.:)

Not many ships do that.

 

Hi David,

I am sure you have said in the past that you have been to Bora Bora but if you would like the visual again, check out

http://amazingvoyages.blogspot.com/

if you haven't already. Just love his photos.

 

I follow a few blogs and enjoy them all but having problems following Kween Karen's present blog - think she is having trouble.

Rosie

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We thought the underwater walk was marvellous It was organised by the ship but could be done privately such an experience for those who do not scorkel or swim

 

We cuddled sting rays as they enveloped us in their velvet wings we fed many fish and chased octopus as well as watching various other underwater species

 

Recommended for everyone but particularly non swimmers:eek::p

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I wonder if the unrest in Egypt will affect this cruise? I believe it makes stops in Egypt and goes through the Suez canal. Although that won't be for several weeks.

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Is it too early to worry about Egypt, we board in Hong Kong and part of the excitement is the Suez canal and Luxor. Has the captain said anything about Cairo yet?

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Report # 25 January 27, 2011 Thursday Bora Bora, French Polynesia Day 1

 

Our port of call for the next two days is the lovely island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. And we were not alone.....the Paul Gaugin ship was also anchored in the bay. Every time we have visited here, we have taken a snorkeling tour to swim with sting rays and sharks, but we have never toured the island itself. Shore excursions descriptions have always led us to believe that all we would see were the rusty remains of World War 2. We could not be more wrong, as we would discover while on a circle the island tour with our travel group.

 

It's hard to believe, but this volcanic island is estimated to be over seven million years old. Well, she sure has worn those years well. The tallest mountain, Mt. Otemanu, towers over the bay at 2385 feet high. The coral reef that surrounds the island has to have the most beautiful shades of blue to turquoise waters we have ever seen.

 

We met at 9am with the group of 40 guests and Tom, our host, to tender over to the main village of Vaitape. There we boarded a deep blue painted "le truck", the favorite mode of transportation in Bora Bora. The plastic chairs were padded with cushions, which was a big improvement from the wooden seats of the past. Since the roads are not smoothly paved, the ride tended to be a rough and bumpy one. For a change, we happened to pick the best side (left) of the vehicle to sit, since we headed north in a clockwise direction on the seaside road.

 

This island is a sharp contrast to Tahiti. There are no high rises, malls, or big restaurants and bars. In fact, one of our breakfast waiters mentioned that the island reminded him of his home in Indonesia........many small villages built near the water. Small shops lined the roadside as we headed out of town. Several stops were made on the way. One was at a pareo shop, where we witnessed how the cloth was tie-dyed, then opened up and laid on a cotton-covered drying table. While still wet with the dyes, designs cut from old linoleum were placed here and there on the pareo. Even fresh-cut palm leaves were used for decoration. Their weight alone pushed the dye into the spongy tabletop, leaving their imprint behind. Voila....instant pareo. These fetched $10 each, reasonable we thought.

 

On a nearby table, the ladies invited us to partake in tasting their local fruits, which included coconut, mangoes, cooked bananas, and even breadfruit. That tasted more like a cooked potato to us, but not quite as tasty.

 

Our drive continued to where we could see the famous hotels, located on the surrounding islands. The accommodations are individual huts built over the water. The largest complexes were the Bora Bora Pearl Resort, Le Meridien, St. Regis, and the Intercontinental. Our cute guide said these huts, complete with glass floor panels to view the tropical fish, can run up to $1500. a day! Wow. Being in paradise does come with a hefty price tag unfortunately.

 

We snapped photos at every stop. One interesting place was where the sand crabs lived. They escape the heat of the day and predators by digging a hole in the sand. Our guide threw a few hibiscus flowers by the holes, and the crabs came up for the bait. It was comical watching them pull the succulent flowers into their dens. She said that the locals catch these crabs, cage them, and feed them certain foods in order to sweeten their meat. Interesting.

 

On the east coast, we passed huts on the water in Anau that were once owned by Marlon Brando and Jack Nickelson. As you may recall, Brando married his co-star from The Mutiny on the Bounty. She was a beautiful 19 year old Tahitian actress at the time they met. Once married to a native resident, Brando was allowed to buy property in French Polynesia. He also purchased a small island, where he built a fabulous home.

 

The best stop was at the Sofitel Hotel, another luxury resort built on the island itself. We were escorted to the shoreside outdoor restaurant, where we feasted on a spread of delicious cuisine. We were all happily surprised to such a treat, since our tour description only mentioned a refreshment, such as a drink. Well, we had drinks, all right.....they were rum and fruit punch cocktails, complete with pineapple slices and cherries. The buffet table held platters of finger sandwiches, breaded calamari, pizza, croissants, crispy hot egg rolls, and sausages. All of this was followed with desserts of fresh island fruit, small custard eclairs, and an array of lemon and chocolate mini pies.

 

We filled the tables that surrounded the infinity-style swimming pool, just relaxing in the shade for about a half hour. It sure would have been nice to stay here for longer, but we had much more to see. Right before we left, friends Ellen and Barb arrived to the hotel to spend the afternoon there. They had taken a shuttle and paid a small fee for the use of the pool and facilities. Wished we could have joined them, but maybe next time.

 

Our driver stopped at the only public beach on the island. Here we saw a darling 2 year old girl playing in the gentle surf. Her mom and a lady friend were near the toddler, and were topless, as is accepted on these islands. You would not believe how quickly some of the elderly men on our truck ran down to the water's edge to take photos of them. That was just plain rude, and the ladies felt compelled to cover themselves by laying in the water on their stomaches. Some people just don't get it.

 

As we circled the southern part of the island, we stopped at the much touted Bloody Marys, a restaurant and bar with lots of history. Built in 1979, Bloody Marys has two signboards of the names of famous people that have visited here since then. Most were actors and actresses, but some were also singers, athletes, and politicians. One thing we found funny was the fact that the cheapest t-shirt here cost $25, if one used a credit card, but $31 if you paid cash. The salesgirl claimed the exchange rate was not good for cash, so few people bought one.

 

We were back at the drop-off point by 1pm, and we all agreed that this tour was one of the nicest we have ever done here. But it was so warm and sticky, that we headed for the aft pool for a cool swim. The pool water had to be at least 90 degrees, but once wet, we did enjoy the breezes that swept over the deck. What we did not plan on was the presence of nasty wasps, that stung Bill while he sat in the sun. His hand swelled and throbbed for the rest of the night. Only bagged ice help reduce the swelling. Hopefully the worst will be over by tomorrow. He is one tough dude, but begs to differ with the statement that Bora Bora has no poisonous insects, as stated on the map section of our newsletter.

 

Between 5:30 and 8pm, a Bali Hai BBQ was held at the Lido pool area. Great food and lively music was promised, and as we heard, was delivered. Our Aussie tablemates attended and reported that the suckling pig and BBQ ribs were excellent. We usually don't go to these BBQs, but may reconsider next time. Our ribs in the dining room were rather tough and chewy, and just sauced, not char grilled. At least the weather was perfect today, and not like the downpours our friends experienced while on their Seabourn cruise just a few weeks ago. Their BBQ got rained out.

 

There was no show tonight in the Queens Lounge, so the movie, Avatar, was shown. We found it odd that a local group did not get invited to perform for us. Usually, native dancers and singers come on in Tahiti, then leave in Bora Bora or Moorea.

 

It has come to our attention by a more reliable source that only one person has passed away on our trip, so we stand corrected. And we surely hope that the count remains at one.

 

The ship will remain at anchor overnight, giving us a view of the brightly-lit Paul Gaugin, who also remained in the bay.

 

One more day in paradise tomorrow!

 

Mary Ann & Bill

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Report # 26 January 28, 2011 Friday Bora Bora Day 2

 

Today we planned on taking it easy, since yesterday was a busy one. The first thing we noticed was our neighbor ship had departed sometime before daylight. That meant we had the entire island to ourselves today.

 

More clouds had covered the island early this morning, raining every now and then. Guess that is why things are so green and tropical. The islanders do have a reverse osmosis system that produces their fresh drinking water. We are not sure if there is a source of ground water here. Perhaps rain water is collected like it is done on other smaller islands.

 

We headed over to shore after a leisurely breakfast in the dining room. Service there has been more than excellent, with the most friendly waiters taking good care of us. Many of them know that we like plenty of catsup with our eggs and bacon, as well as copious cups of hot coffee. Our cups are never empty.

 

Strolling up and down the streets, we checked out the treasures for sale, but came up empty. Black pearls are the big item here, but also come with a high price, depending on the artistry of the piece. Again, you must know what you are buying as far as quality. Most tourists are happy with the generous supply of shell jewelry. Everything else costs double on the island. For instance, our friend Wayne was going to purchase 4 calendars and a coke. He changed his mind when the bill added up to $89. Ouch! We would have put them back too.

 

Something we noticed on our tour yesterday, were the small fishing boats that were suspended over the water by a contraption with a hand-pulled hoist. Our guide said that it was the only way to protect the wooden boats from the destructive sea worms that eat them slowly. Never thought of that before. Nothing lasts forever, even metal ships if they are not maintained.

 

Once back on the ship, we went to the back pool again. Not being terribly hungry, we made a pass by the pizza section at the Pool Grill. We properly used the pizza spatula to take one slice. Then a man came along, pulled the slices apart with his fingers, took one from the middle of the pie, and stuffed it in his mouth. He then went to the taco bar, and dipped chips directly into the dips. Yuch! No wonder that bug gets passed from one to another so rapidly. Clueless, especially when he almost knocked over an elderly lady by jumping into the elevator to go down. Wish we had said something to him, but it would not have phased him, we are sure. Doubt we will snack from this venue very often, if ever.

 

There was a sailaway party, that was also a 2 for 1 drink opportunity. That brought way more guests out today. This afternoon, we left on time and Captain Olaf must have been pleased, because he blasted the ship's horn at least 6 times! Or perhaps, the many local kayakers happened to be in our way. It was fun watching these very fit fellows surfing their boats in the wake of the tenderboats. With two ships here yesterday, these guys were in surf heaven.

 

Again, we enjoyed the company of many friends as we watched the small island fade on the horizon. What were still present were the pesty orange hornets, one of which stung Bill yesterday. Someone reported that there was possibly a nest of them on deck three. Sure hope not!

 

We have a day at sea tomorrow, then we will be in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Mary Ann and Bill,

 

Loved your latest report. We too have spent a day at the Sofitel Hotel for a small fee when we were in Bora Bora back in 2007 and we hope to be doing the same thing in April this year when again we are in "Paradise".

 

I hope Bill's hand is back to normal very soon. Those wasps or hornets certainly can sting.

 

Jennie

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1am.jpg

 

They are moving across the Pacific.

Just left Rarotonga and heading to the small Isle of Niue.

(pronounced new ay)

Not many cruise ships have called there.

Wonder what they will find?

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Report # 27 January 29, 2011 Saturday Day at Sea

 

The Amsterdam continued on a southwesterly course on our way to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The morning started out to be quite warm and muggy. That would change.

 

We have a new speaker, Brigadier General Charles M. Duke, Jr. Charles is retired from the Air Force Reserve, although a more exciting job description is the fact that he was an astronaut involved in the Apollo space missions. He will be speaking in the Queens Lounge describing the race to the moon. Bet that place will be packed.

 

We spent some time at the aft pool, but soon the skies turned dark. When we heard the roar of thunder, we knew that rain was not far behind. We could tell that the ship was being steered around the showers, but that could only last for awhile. A few sprinkles actually felt good, but when it came down harder, we abandoned the outside decks.

 

At the Captain's talk at 12:45pm, he brought up the subject of the country of Egypt and the upheaval that is happening there. Many concerned guests have asked if our itinerary will be changed, since we have two stops there. Of course, we have to transit the Suez Canal, which could also be a place of concern. The Captain stated that so far HAL has not amended our itinerary at this point of time. However, anything can occur from now until then. We will not be in that part of the world until late March, so who knows, their problems may be solved by then. If not, we may have to detour around Africa!

 

It was time for lunch. Our sandwich server was ready for us, and knew exactly what we liked.....ham and cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. It is never crowded at 3pm, so the service is excellent.

 

An article in the daily program finally confirmed our suspicions that the internet has been experiencing major problems. The satellite provider, MTN, and HAL's corporate office are working to increase both speed and bandwidth of the services onboard. We, as well as hundreds of other passengers, have wasted way too many of our precious minutes with poor results, especially since we left Peru. Hopefully, they will have this problem solved very soon. Whether this helps the I Pad users, we do not know.

 

Dinner was fun tonight. It was named formal/tropical attire, which really confused the guys. Could they wear tropical shirts, instead of jackets? The answer was no. But as long as they wore a jacket, flowered shirts were OK. Tropical night is really more fun for the ladies. The dining room was decorated with flashy green palm trees with gold trunks. You would have laughed to see how many palm trees were carried out of the dining room by some of the guests. We had the spa manager join us, and she said it was such a great table, she wanted to be invited back. She's got a date!

 

The 10pm show was music from the Rat Pack. No, obviously not the originals, but a younger version. Last night's entertainer was Sally Jones, a musical comedy actress. She was good as reported to us from friends. Pianist Diane Fast also had a full house, but maybe the 2 for 1 drinks helped that happen.

 

Hope Rarotonga is a go tomorrow, since our Seabourn friends had to bypass the port due to high seas and bad weather.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Report # 28 January 30, 2011 Sunday Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

 

Our port of call for today was Avarua, Rarotonga, the capitol of a group of South Pacific islands called the Cook Islands. Rarotonga is a very popular tourist destination, and we can see why. The volcanic island itself is only 20 miles in circumference, with several towering peaks that appear through the rain clouds occasionally. The island is surrounded by a lagoon and a few small stretches of beaches. There are two bus routes, one going clockwise, and the other going the opposite way. You can't get lost.

 

And we have been here before, sometime in the fall of 2008. At that time, we were sailing on Regent's Mariner, and had taken a snorkel and BBQ lunch tour. On this visit, we planned on taking a walk to see what we missed back then. And besides, with today being a Sunday, there were no tours available to purchase on the ship.

 

Due to very strong winds and rolling seas, it looked as if we would not be able to tender ashore this morning. After breakfast, we watched the two boats that had been lowered to the angry sea. They were rocking and rolling big time. Captain Olaf had announced that only able-bodied passengers should attempt this dangerous passage, since entering the boats from the ship can be quite dicey. We don't know why, but that seems to be the suggestion to a small percentage of that group of passengers that it is a go for them. Go figure??? Who knows if we are ever in that position....we may be defiant too.

 

Anyway, the Captain announced again, that unless you were fit, you would be turned away from the tenderboat service. This must have sped the process up, because once we lined up to board, the line moved quickly. It was not necessary to get a numbered ticket, since we had the 4 star keycard. We don't mind this perk at all.

 

The ride to shore was a bouncy one, but fun. Well, not so fun for those who were prone to seasickness. The usual souvenier stands were set up by the landing. The t-shirts were expensive (they deal with New Zealand dollars), and not the best quality. But it was easy finding some fun seashell jewelry, of course. The most friendly native vendors said they were really in trouble with their elders for breaking the no work on Sunday policy. One lady said she had been to church earlier in the day, and would beg for forgiveness later. Actually, it was a bit refreshing to find a culture that religion trumped money on a Sunday.

 

The two local buses were offering a drive around the island for a mere $7. per person....not a bad deal if you had never been here before. Many people did that. But not us. We felt the need to get in a good, long walk, which we have been missing since we left home. And since it was cloudy and breezy, we thought the hike would be good for us.

 

So we went to the left, following the seaside road for a couple of hours. It is hard getting used to the traffic coming and going in the wrong direction for us. It's the British way here, and you have to look both ways twice before crossing a road. Just about every store, restaurant, and business was shut down. Even the tourist's accommodations seemed vacant. We asked one of the locals, and they told us that we were here in the middle of their hurricane season, and most of the tourists businesses were shut down for the season. Perhaps that is why there were no tours scheduled today. We're lucky to even be here, since our friends sailing on the Seabourn world cruise bypassed this island due to high seas.

 

As we left town, the roadside became a series of small homes. Many of them had decorated graves in their front yards, probably family members. This is a common practice among South Pacific Islanders. The properties get handed down to family members, and are rarely sold. Most of the land is communally owned, with extended families sharing the rights and profits from these holdings. Land cannot be traded or sold, just leased, we learned.

 

We were about the only ones walking on the road. A couple of natives stopped their cars and asked if we needed a ride somewhere, and we don't think it was about making money, just genuine concern that we may be lost or something. We have to admit it was getting warmer as the sun was starting to peak out. When we exited the ship, it was practically raining, so we did not think to bring a bottle of water. Now our objective was to find a store open that sold Cokes....ice cold Cokes.

 

By the time we had walked about 2 hours, we came upon a small gas station with a mini-market. Perfect. There were even picnic benches in the shade for us to relax a bit and enjoy our cold drinks. More young locals stopped us and asked where we were from. It was funny to hear such a distinct New Zealand accent when they spoke, not hard to understand, because the islands operate under the New Zealand jurisdiction.

 

Time to go back. It's strange how the walk seemed shorter going back, thank goodness. It was apparent to us that the swells had increased since we had tendered over earlier. It was showtime watching the tenders bouncing like corks in a bathtub as they made their way back to the mother ship. By 3pm, we took the "Disneyworld" ride back to the ship. We had a good group that seemed to enjoy the rough ride, well all except one gal, who turned a little green. We let her get off immediately upon arrival. With the help of the sailors, we exited carefully when the small boat hovered long enough to jump off onto the platform. We heard later that the transfer to shore was cut off at 3pm. They were only bringing back the stragglers up to the 4:30pm last tender ride.

 

It was at that point, we went up to the sailaway party. By 5:30pm, we had not moved and one tender was left bobbing up and down outside the harbor. Now what? Captain Olaf annnounced that the boat hoist was broken, and we could not leave. The two sailors on the tenderboat went back to shore, where we heard that perhaps the port agent treated them to dinner until the hoist could be repaired. That happened around 7:30pm. The Captain said we would make up the lost time, and would not be late in arriving to the next port of Alofi.

 

Dinnertime was most appreciated this evening with the offering of a 22 ounce t-bone steak. Did we order them, cooked to perfection? You bet we did, but in anticipation of the hearty meal, we went without lunch today. Despite that, it was impossible to finish the entire steak, so we shared some with Ellen, who made small sandwiches to be eaten the next day. Smart girl....you sure can't order that through room service.

 

We think most every one of our tablemates headed off for bed early. The heat and exercise we got today wore us out. And our Aussie buddies needed extra recooperating from a 3am night before party. We sure are going to miss them when they debark in Sydney.

 

The clocks went back one hour this evening. Soon, we will lose one whole day as we are approaching the International Dateline.

 

We have a welcomed day at sea tomorrow, then another island on Tuesday. Life is good.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS A nice surprise was waiting for us in our mailslot. Henk, our kind hotel manager, gifted us an additional 60 minutes of internet time to conpensate for the problems we have been having. He did this for over 400 of us, who most likely purchased the 1000 minute package.

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Bill & Mary Ann - such great reports and so enjoyable. Thank you again:)

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