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BTimmer's Almost Live Downunder 2022 - (10/2/22 to 12/6/22 on the Westerdam)


Btimmer
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On 11/16/2022 at 11:59 PM, Btimmer said:

We had a nice stop in Gisborne.  We walked around the town and along the beach before taking the steam train excursion out to Muriwai where some children performed Maori dances.  This railway is very unique in that the tracks cross the international airport runway.  It's the only one of its type in the southern hemisphere.  As we approached the end of the tour, we came close to hitting a lady and her dog who were walking on the tracks and oblivious to us approaching.  I was standing on the very front of the train and could hardly believe my eyes.

 

Our Covid isolation count continues to rise and is now 40 passengers and one crew member.  That's 5 more passengers than yesterday and 10 more than the day before.  Our Captain indicated that the currents are very strong entering the harbor at Tauranga and that's what's delaying our entry.  He also indicated that the tendering conditions for Waitangi (Bay of Islands) the following day don't look promising.  Perhaps we can reach Auckland early and have more than 4 hours there.  Here's a few pictures.

 

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Sunset tonight 

 

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Steam Engine

 

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Memorial to Captain Cook's Cabin Boy who first spotted land at New Zealand

 

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Captain Cook memorial

 

 

Another Capt Cook memorial!!!!!   😂     Here is the complete list!  https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/memorials/countries-with-memorials

Edited by The-Inside-Cabin
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We're just departing Auckland after the shortest ever major port stop for us.  We walked about 4 miles RT to church.

 

The Covid # just announced in the departure message was 2 new cases and 3 more than reported yesterday for yesterday.  By my count we have 56 total not knowing any recovery numbers.

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Our Captain just announced that it is very likely that we won't make our 6:30am arrival in Sydney on 11/23.  Tomorrow we are facing very stormy seas and may not be able to maintain the current high speed. Sydney has arrival slots and the next available slot is 9:45am.

 

The Covid count is down but I couldn't hear the specifics.  Perhaps he'll repeat the info this afternoon in his Ask the Captain session.

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The arrival time is still listed as 6.30 am on the Sydney ports schedule but I will be keeping an eye on it.  I hope it doesn't mean we will miss Eden, seeing Phillip Island has been cancelled.  Good to hear Covid numbers are down.

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5 minutes ago, ozcruizer said:

The arrival time is still listed as 6.30 am on the Sydney ports schedule but I will be keeping an eye on it.  I hope it doesn't mean we will miss Eden, seeing Phillip Island has been cancelled.  Good to hear Covid numbers are down.

Keep following my thread and I'll give the most current information from the ship.  The 6:30am slot is the reservation time, and because of ferry schedules, our Captain said the next available slot is 9:45am.  
 

We're experiencing an increased amount of motion from the ocean since this morning.  

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On 11/11/2022 at 1:52 AM, Btimmer said:

The second half of our scenic cruising was in Dusky Sound.  It's walls are much more rounded and we entered the fjord with a bunch of low hanging clouds.  There weren't as many waterfalls, but I saw a bunch more wildlife in the form of seals, an otter, and large fish that didn't break the surface of the water.

 

Here are a few pictures.

 

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Milford Sound is one of my favorite destinations.  I have really enjoyed your pictures.  My only recommendation for Milford Sound would be to do an excursion and get off of the boat if you have not already done so.  It is a lovely lovely place.

Edited by NMTraveller
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After his one hour 'Ask the Captain' session, Captain Wouter answered questions for another 45 Minutes. I learned our Covid number is down to 49 cases including one crew member. I'll write more details in my blog tonight.
 

Tonight we enjoyed dinner in the Main  Dining Room.  It was the last Dressy night of this cruise. 
 

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Cecelia & Angela ( we met her on the Zuiderdam in January in the Canaletto

 

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Escargot

 

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Salad

 

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Shrimp & Peppercorn steak

 

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Coconut cake

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6 hours ago, Btimmer said:

We're experiencing an increased amount of motion from the ocean since this morning.  

It quite often seems to be a bit wavier coming into Sydney from a cruise but huge winds for the last two days are probably making things even more spectacular. 46knots in Sydney Harbour today

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We just received word that on Wednesday, November 23 on our turnaround day that we need to pack everything up and present it to Australian Border Forces for inspection.  The luggage will then be delivered to our new room, but we can't get back on and have to carry our hand luggage with us until the zero count is reached.  I have a backpack and a CPAP machine, so I'm not going to traipse all over Sydney with that.  We are to receive our written confirmation of this along with new luggage tags, key cards, etc. tomorrow.  

 

It unfortunately will destroy our plans for doing the sightseeing we had planned.  And, of course, there's the issue of when are we going to arrive.  The Captain told a small group of us that if we arrive late, we likely will depart late as the same restrictions we have docking in the morning will be in place during the late afternoon hours (during those times no thrusters can be used as it disrupts the ferry operations).

 

I suspect all of this has to do with needing to do the ABF inspections on 23 Nov for all guests who have visited a non-Australian port and the next leg is entirely Australian ports so a border inspection is not needed.

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Aloha. Love your reports and pictures especially food lol.  Congratulations on your milestone. Your reports are so enjoyable and refreshing to read. I have had to stop reading reports from another poster unfortunately and not to rant, I’m sorry but their first world problems of staff not remembering them, food not hot enough blah blah blah and their constant reminder of their presidents club achievements have been an overload. I’m sure they are nice people but oh my word, we can all match their travels and blah blahs but I wish them well on their Grand Voyage. For you I wish blessings great health and smooth sailing!  

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Just had a thought.  Sydney's Central Railway Station has lockers where you can store luggage.  It's a distance from Circular Quay but fairly quickly reached by the City Circle trains.  I thought it might help if you want to do a bit of exploring while in Sydney tomorrow.

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Just now, ozcruizer said:

Just had a thought.  Sydney's Central Railway Station has lockers where you can store luggage.  It's a distance from Circular Quay but fairly quickly reached by the City Circle trains.  I thought it might help if you want to do a bit of exploring while in Sydney tomorrow.

We're aware of that option but I'm not comfortable storing very important items in a locker. Thanks, though for the suggestion.

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We just received official word that we are docking at 9:45am.  We're currently only doing 15.4 knots and the ship is really pitching.  The Lido pool is really losing water in impressive waves.

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All afternoon the seas have been rough and the ship is moving around a lot.  The ship's speed has been reduced to around 15 knots and the Captain just came on mid afternoon and noted we have 50mph winds (11 on the Beaufort scale), heavy seas and the outside decks are closed.  Motion sickness bags have been placed throughout the ship.  The lido pool is really splashing!

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20 minutes ago, Btimmer said:

All afternoon the seas have been rough and the ship is moving around a lot.  The ship's speed has been reduced to around 15 knots and the Captain just came on mid afternoon and noted we have 50mph winds (11 on the Beaufort scale), heavy seas and the outside decks are closed.  Motion sickness bags have been placed throughout the ship.  The lido pool is really splashing!

 

That sounds just like what I had on Noordam sailing from Sydney down towards Tasmania exactly 4 years ago. I think we were down to less than 10 knots at the time and missed Port Arthur the following day.

Stay safe!

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The Captain just came on at 6:20pm ( it's very rare for him to make public announcements except at noon) and said the sea height has increased to 23 feet and we've altered course to a WNW heading to position better against the seas.  It's been rocking and rolling all afternoon, but we are packed for the turnaround day. He still expects to be alongside the pier at 9:45am.

Edited by Btimmer
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Today was turnaround day in Sydney.  We have a full ship and the age demographics have definitely dropped.  
 

We visited the aquarium and loved it.  Hopefully tonight will not be as rough as the last few.  My blog has lots more detail especially about the fiasco with needing to drag luggage off the ship. Below are a few pictures from today.

 

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Lunch

 

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Making music on the ferry

 

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The famous Sydney Bridge

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An iconic sight

 

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Pilot boat

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After a wonderful day in Eden, we are just preparing to depart.  The Covid numbers are good.  1 new case with a total of 5 passengers and 2 crew in isolation.  Captain Wouter did set some expectations about our port call at Port Arthur in a couple days that we may have to cut it short due to deteriorating weather conditions.  Here's a few pictures from today.

 

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Just a heads up for anyone planning to book an Australian cruise on the Westerdam.  On the present cruise we have 1200 Aussies and only one coffee bar in the Crow's Nest. The line is long as is the MDR late dinner line.  Hint: eat early and eat in the Lido.

 

Currently we're only doing 11 knots on our way to Tasmania.  It's a sea day today.

Edited by Btimmer
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We're slowly cruising across the sea to Tasmania at 11.4 knots on flat seas.  What a contrast to a few days ago.  The Covid count is up 3 to 10 total.  2 crew and 8 passengers.

 

We had a good Meet & Greet today.  Chris the cruise & travel director made an appearance and answered a few questions.  

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It was a beautiful sunset crossing the.ocean off of the coast of Tasmania.  Tonight in the Captain's toast, he began to set the future expectations about our crossing from Hobart to Adelaide when he said it would not be like today and would be a bit rougher.  He also introduced his new staff captain, Mark Andrew Trembling from England.  At the end of this voyage, Captain Wouter will leave on vacation, and Mark will be promoted to Captain and the Westerdam will be his first ship.  Congratulations to him.

 

At Caneletto tonight for dinner we were seated with a couple from New Zealand who are also motorcyclists.  We thoroughly enjoyed that conversation and look forward to more during the rest of the voyage.  

 

Enjoy a few photos from today.

 

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4th from the left is Mark Trembling the new staff captain and soon to be Master of the Westerdam

 

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Sunset with Tasmania in the background

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We had a good stop at Port Arthur.  The projected winds did not materialize so tendering was smooth.

 

No new Covid cases today. 10 total in isolation (8 passengers and 2 crew).

 

Enjoy a few pictures.

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Our walking track

 

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The black ball signifies we are anchored.

 

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Tassie meat pie

 

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creek bridge

 

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Sonething separated us!

 

 

 

 

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