One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things - Henry Miller

Friday, September 3, 2010


3/09/2010 5:53:54 AM
As I write day is breaking to the east and the glow of Sydney lies ahead to the west...our wonderful world tour is rapidly drawing to a close...Our ports have vanished to the bowels of the ship during the night and our home for the last three months is bare.
What a wonderful experience...This is something everyone should do...cruising is a wonderful way to travel.
The question everyone keeps asking is, “What has been the highlight of the trip?”
This is so difficult to answer. To me it is the whole package...the peaceful, relaxed, friendly atmosphere of cruising where you have the freedom to choose the degree of solitude or crowds that best suits you...the ability to “come home” everyday ...(unpacking and packing only once is a real bonus!!!)...the conversations ...Dave, our Excursions Manager, keeps telling us cruising is about making links and this has been one of the highlights...the links made around the world such as standing on the hills of Barbados and looking out across the Atlantic to Africa and hearing of a rowing race across this vast expanse of water...hearing of the Barbados crew who came second and then in Auckland, quite unexpectedly, you are shown the rowing boat that carried the New Zealand team to victory in the race...or during a Scholarship at Sea lecture hearing of the Spanish trips to Australia and the artefacts that have been found and lost from this have asked about our “cannon ball” and been told, “Yes they were made from stone.” Then to again, quite accidently, see granite cannon balls identical to ours in a fort in have experienced India... to have walked down the streets of Ephesus ... a city so ancient, that silting of the valley over the thousands of years that it has existed, now has the coastline 8 km away from where it was when the city began...Santorini perched on the top of the caldera cliffs where circumstances forced escaped slaves and pirates to establish homes... compared to the caldera walls in Papeete...Yes it has been a wonderful experience...
Our “Sail In calls but more precisely, Hobo 1 is perched on the edge of the bed breathing down my neck constantly checking his watch and questioning how long I’ll be...So ...see you soon. Over and out!

Do you like the farewell cake that greeted us on the sweets table at lunch time yesterday?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tasman Sea

Our trip is all but over and we are now heading west to Sydney.

We had our final tour yesterday and consider it one of our best. Auckland is such a beautiful city and its beauty was enhanced by early morning sunshine. We left the ship at 8:15 and drove straight up onto the dormant volcano, Mt Eden. It had rained the previous night and you know how beautiful the world looks bathed in sunshine the morning after rain. Auckland looked a picture.

Later we went into the maritime museum and saw a replica of the America’s Cup and the yacht “New Zealand” which won the cup for New Zealand. Its keel and mast are incredibly large and we were able to see it from underneath and then when we were up on the second floor look across its deck to see where the 17 crew members worked.

Our museum visit was followed by a sail in Auckland harbour...a great day!
But we have made our final return to the ship, entered our cruise card into the security check point for the last time and are now packing for our arrival home Friday.

We’ll be back in Gladstone at 7:20pm Friday night...By then Number 1 daughter will know if she is talented enough to maintain the reputation established by her mother many years ago!!! Good luck!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Over the Tongan Ridge

Sunday, 29 August 2010

24.40S 176.50W Opposite Gladstone and 2144km from Sydney

Only New Zealand to go! Group photos are beginning to be taken... the farewell dinner for our Kiwi friends is tonight...second last day of trivia today ...”White elephant” auction of the collection of tacky souvenirs collected over the length of the cruise...all point to the trip rapidly drawing to a close.

We are looking at a room filled with balloons, wine, cards and gifts to celebrate our anniversary yesterday. At dinner, our waiters gathered up a choir of 7 waiters and sang happy anniversary to us and presented us with a “cake and candle” from Princess Cruises. We ended the night in the wheelhouse bar listening to music with friends. A pleasant celebration given hobo 1 is still suffering from the cold I gave him.

While on Pago Pago we saw the guide who took us around the island last time. Our guides this round were two young 19 year old college girls who volunteer to do the tours when cruise ships are in. The pacific island tourist industry is quite depressed and the island was not as vibrant and alive as it was on our last visit.

We have just jumped from Friday to Sunday as we crossed the International Date Line last night. Saturday 28th just did not occur on the ship! So we have now caught you up again and are actually 2 hours ahead of you time wise.

The Pacific is still calm with the odd whale cruising past us...two different pods came right in beside the ship yesterday... today it is dead flat a mill pond...
Have kept myself busy today with cooking class, trivia, morning tea chat over coffee, art auction etc...last formal night tonight...the commendatore shared his special menu for tonight with us this morning...I think I’ll be settling for a Symphony of Caviar for starters followed by a duo of lobster tails, with a quartet of chocolate mousse for desert, topped off with coffee and Homemade Mignardises (whatever they are)...this life of cruising is so hard to I’m well again I could just keep cruising!!! Some people are...Dawn Princess leaves Sydney to circumnavigate Australia at 5:00pm the day we arrive in Sydney so people from Fremantle for example are just keeping on going.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


25 August 2010
On Moorea we circled the island and visited Tikki Village which is a village recreated to represent the Polynesia of the past. It was established by a Frenchman 25 years ago and the local villagers (the entertainers) live on the site. They perform traditional wedding ceremonies, provide folkloric shows, demonstrate traditional village life etc. They showed us how to attack coconuts; dye cloth; dance the hula and fire dances as well as demonstrated the many outfits it is possible for men and women to make by just knotting, folding and tying one rectangular strip of cloth.
A little girl won our hearts...On our arrival at Tikki, the family tried to coax her to play her bongo drum which she was dragging around behind her ... but no way would she do it while people were looking...but as soon as we’d move on she’d sit down and play... by the end of the morning she had crept in amongst the band and I eventually caught her very proficiently banging out the rhythms on a big drum...She looked such a trick...dummy in mouth, big beater in hand perched up on a stool trying to do what she loved doing best but too self-conscious to look at audience.
We’ve been enjoying (when we are well enough) some very good onboard shows and movies. Last night I saw a talented ventriloquist - Dean Atkinson. Tonight our dance troupe is performing another production show - “Extreme Country”. A couple of nights ago we watched the movie “The Note Book” – a story dealing with dementia - cleverly told with a rather confronting ending. Not really pre bedtime viewing for our time of life but enjoyable just the same. Last night our late night movie was “the Secret Lives of Bees”. Many of the movies have been chosen because they are filmed in places we have visited and played when we are in that area. It’s very exciting to see places where we have been like a couple of nights ago when the movie featured Sea Life Park in Honolulu.
Tomorrow finds us at our second last port of call – Pago Pago – before Auckland, Sydney and home.
See you all soon.
P.S. Hope you have those election results sorted out before we get home.


25 August 2010
Sunday was spent in Papeete where we overnighted and left for Moorea (2 hr away) at 5:00am the next morning. French Polynesia is still one of my favourite spots in the world. This trip, we took a 4WD up into the caldera which is in the centre of Tahiti. What magnificent had rained heavily in the morning and the rich, green rainforest was dripping with water and all the waterfalls were cascading down the sides of the caldera and into the river bed 1 400 m below its summit...breathtakingly beautiful and so fresh and clean and reinvigorating after 2 days in bed.
The island has a Department for diabetes and obesity. In an endeavour to educate children and turn the lifestyle behaviours around, every Sunday they have an outdoor activities fair. The streets on the water front are closed to traffic and opened to bikes and every sort of non- motorised vehicle you can imagine. In the city square, a public exercise program is conducted in a Harbour Festival type atmosphere. From 2:00pm to 5:00pm, there was a non-stop public exercise program being lead by locals...dancing, running, boxing, drumming, stretching... something for every age and was fascinating to watch...and little kids and families everywhere were bike riding, roller blading, skateboarding, jogging...if it had wheels, someone was riding or pushing it! The Police had a “bike Ed” type course set up and this was really popular with kids of all ages. This was followed by a concert band until 10:00pm... and all this took place just under our balcony!!! We had a ringside seat. Everything ceased at 10 and by 10:30 it was all packed up and the place deserted.
The gangways were down until 4:00am, so as we were retiring to bed around 10:30, the crew were streaming off the boat to begin their R&R. Needless to say there were quite a few visible headaches and tired crew members around the next day. They are contracted on for 10 months at a time and work long hours with broken shifts. Nights on shore are few and far between for them so you can’t blame them for having a good time when the opportunities arise.

Samoa Bound

25 August 2010
15 degrees South 166 degrees West
Samoa Bound
Whoops!!! Didn’t realize so many days had passed since my last blog...Sorry, sorry, sorry!!! Time is running out very quickly now.
We’ve both been battling a very nasty cold which has taken the shine off this leg. I spent 2 days in bed prior to Papeete and then, very unselfishly, shared my disease with Hobo 1 who is now “enjoying” his couple of days in bed. He brought the lift down this morning when he was discussing what a “mongrel disease” it was, and reeking of Vicks stated, “Of course, nobody has been as crook as I have.”
Since our last communiqué, we have crossed the equator, re-entered the southern hemisphere and travelled south as far as Tahiti. Now we are once again heading north-west, but after Samoa tomorrow, it is all downhill to Sydney.
This afternoon we’ve just returned to our cabins after a special invitational lunch with the captain for all those passengers completing the Pacific Rim as well as either or both the 2009, 2010 World Cruise. The officers joined us and we were served complimentary wines with Tasmanian Seafood Potpourri as entree, followed by Rack of Australian lamb, with Harlequin soufflés (6 little individual soufflés served in the traditional serving bowls used for oysters) for desert and petit fours with tea and coffee to finish. You can see why our double chins are expanding before our eyes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sailing South

At midday today we were at latitude 15.31, 156.37 degrees W

Now, having spent the day recovering from a busy day in Honolulu, while Hobo 1 showers for dinner I’ll share a little of the day.

Our tour was to Sea Life Park on the southern tip of O’ahu. We watched performing sea lions, penguins (although they cannot be trained and simply walk around the arena) and very talented dolphins and a wholphin - a 25 year old cross between a false killer whale and a dolphin. He is the darker animal in the photo.

After a return to our cabin and a freshen up we went shopping and had our first experience of WallMart. Mystified by the attraction of WallMart ever since our last cruise, we were anxious to discover the attraction for ourselves ... Picture travelling the world to shop in Silly Solly’s in a store as big as Bunnings and you’ll get the picture...We were looking for a copy of Photoshop Elements 8 and were told we’d be able to get one at Wallmart...After walking miles to actually find the store a very friendly doorman welcomed us to Wallmart and directed us to the back of the store and then to the far end of that isle to reach the Computer Section. When we eventually found the section, guess what! “Sorry Madam, we don’t stock that product.” Hobo 1 was very patient and didn’t say a word as we took the long trek back to the bus stop and headed home empty handed. (At least the doorman thanked us for coming and wished us a happy onward journey.)

BUT... just before the ship’s bus stop I spotted an Office Max. “Hey, didn’t John say we could get one there?” So off we headed...It was just back a block or so wasn’t it??? NO... Try five blocks!!! Fortunately our long walk (no quad available) paid off and now I have Photoshop installed on the computer and have “adjusted” my first photo this afternoon. I’m back into computer classes to learn to use the product. As well, Ally and I are going to photography class. Meanwhile John and Hobo 1 are having to keep up our trivia reputation unassisted because of time clashes. They are also searching the internet for motor scooters “so the paparazzi can follow celebrities when they get back home!”

Yesterday we saw a couple of men standing on top of this cliff above the rocks in the picture. The first one had a couple of budgies in his hand. We were aghast when he just jumped off the cliff clutching the budgies to his chest. We looked across to the second man. He had a gun and a parrot in his hands. Before we could say “Jack Robertson”, he also jumped. Half way down we heard a shot. We peered over the edge of the cliff. A cloud of feathers were floating down to the black rocks below. Both men were still alive but in a sorry state. We scrambled down to help them. I grabbed the first man’s hand and as I struggled to recall my first aid training, he moaned, “This budgie jumping is not what it’s cracked up to be.”

“Well don’t try parrot shooting,’ the second one coughed through his broken teeth. “It’s nothing to write home about either.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Approaching Honolulu

16/08/2010 5:20am

Approaching Honolulu

We have reached Elite status in the Princess Captain’s Circle.

“So what?” you may ask but with it comes “a host of rich benefits”- none more important than getting free (sorry, complimentary) laundry services.

On our arrival back from Universal in LA we were greeted by our complimentary bar set up, were delivered a plate of very fancy canapés to our room to go with our pre-dinner drinks on Formal Night on Saturday night and have already begun benefiting from our 10% discount in the Boutiques on board. And of course the highlight – we now have black cruise cards dangling from our necks and our name tag outside our door is black....Oh, we could also go to afternoon tea if we wished but the increased rolls appearing around my ribs and under Hobo One’s chin prevents us from partaking in this privilege.

We have been seeing some great shows of late. Last night was a variety spotlight on Mark Nizer – “the Juggler your Mother warned you about”. He makes his living as a juggler...and has done so for 25 years. He is the World Champion. Those interested in seeing some of his work might do a Google search for him. His web site is but there are some good You Tube images etc of his work as well. He juggles knives, laser lights, electric carving knifes etc as well as juggling five ping pong balls in his mouth...quite incredible! The previous night, in the idyllic surroundings poolside on the big Movies under the Stars screen, we watched Elton John in concert on his sixtieth birthday (and played spot the celebrity with Ally and John while we did so.) The night before that, enjoyed a most impressive pianist, Mac Frampton, playing with our very talented Dawn Princess orchestra... the list goes on.

Life in Ubobo will be a challenge when we get back!

(Dawn is just breaking as I write. I see Orion in the east and 3 planes circling in the darkness...Hawaii must be close.)

The photos?...Laundry time...the mini bar arrives...How rough life is on the Pacific- the view from our balcony!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pacific Ocean

Saturday, 14 August 2010
Pacific Ocean 25 degrees N 142 degrees W
Our day in Los Angeles focussed on meeting the challenge of American immigration procedures and the crowds at Universal Studios. We survived to tell the tale and now find ourselves 1367km south west of Los Angeles on our way to Honolulu.
There was little to see in LA but cars as we took the 60 minute bus ride out to Universal but the highways and overpasses were impressive and we did see the Hollywood sign through the early morning haze.
I’d bought our entry ticket on-line so were able to walk straight up to the entry turnstile where our finger prints (which were taken last trip) were used to bring up our identity pictures...a bit of a mind blower to start the day!
John and Ally had tried to talk us out of taking the trip because it would be too rushed to be worthwhile. However we had a great day. We were in the studio by 10:30am and were able to view three shows - WaterWorld, Shrek and Animal Antics; take an hour tram tour of the backlots where you’re shown the various lots, set up for Universal movies ( like the street built from styro foam for the Smurfs) and experience the technical tricks of Jaws, Jurassic Park, King Kong, Psycho, earthquakes, floods, train crashes etc ; experience the 40 minute queue to get on the tram and still had time to sit outside the House of Horrors and enjoy a cold dipping icecream before getting back on the bus at 3:30pm.
Kobi will be pleased to know we had a chat with Shrek and bought a waffle off Donkey but we didn’t see Dragon - only in the show. The dog did tricks for us and jumped over the boy as he took off around an obstacle course which he completed in 28 sec while the Orang-utan blew us kisses. I loved the window displays in the shops out in the City Walk at the front of the studios. Imagine a whole shop given over to selling just socks!
Hodo One was impressed with how they could move crowds around and with the amount of traffic. We drove down a 14 lane highway with every lane full and never saw an accident. Overpasses curved over our heads three and four layers deep carrying traffic away into the suburbs... amazing.
Maybe you will have your third prime minister since we left by the time we cover the last 7 500km of this journey. We picked up postal votes in Los Angeles, did our voting by yesterday and will have these dropped off to the consulate in Honolulu for return to Australia. We’ve just seen a Skynews clip of Tony in his budgie smugglers under the banner, “the one politician who has little to hide.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Off San Diego

Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Happy birthday to all those celebrating birthdays over the last week or so - hope you all enjoyed your special day. Love, kisses and hugs to you all.
Sorry for the long silence. I’ve been suffering from the Norfolk Island complaint – “morla will do”. I am rather surprised at how many tomorrows have slipped by during this time.
We loved the Caribbean and our trip through the Panama was one of the highlights of the tour. Have a look at all the people gathered at the exit at Miraflores Lock to see us pass through...lots of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...Oi,Oi,Ois exchanged between ship and shore.
In Acapulco we came closer to solving the mystery of our “cannon ball” (a round stone I found when we first built our house in Gladstone)...We had already learnt from one of our lecturers that the Spanish did make cannons out of granite...and low and behold on display in the Acapulco Museum in the Fuerte de San Diego were these cannon balls, exact replicas of the stone I found in Gladstone.
In Manzanillo we travelled out along the Cutuylan Peninsula to a turtle sanctuary and helped release the previous nights hatchings of the Olive Ridley turtles that they are trying to protect along with two other types – the eastern pacific green turtle and the rarer leatherbacks.
Since then we’ve had two more sea days as we’ve made our way to Los Angeles...beautiful warm balmy days of sunshine and smooth seas...tried to catch photos of dolphins playing under our deck ...but could only catch the splashes that showed where they’d been.
Today I toured the galley and listen to the Executive Chef, Manlio Cuzzolin, explain the catering side of ship life. The mind boggles when you hear that each day the average amount of ... used is:-
· Potatoes 400kg
· Eggs 9000 units
· Coffee 1210 litres
· Watermelons 400 kg
And they use 227L of detergent to clean up after us! Tomorrow is a turnaround day and the start of the final leg of our journey. So tomorrow about 80-85 tons of food will be loaded on board for this leg.
“Never let a chance go by” has to be the motto of this ship. On the last day of each leg they have a big discount sale. Our tour of the galley poured us out into the back of the dining room where the sale for this leg was set up. You couldn’t get out without having to battle your way through the whole sale...These bright eyed little bears were looking up eagerly into our faces as we made our way out through the galley door...I do hope somebody came and bought some. They looked so eager to be bought when I took their photo.
Time is running out. It will be back to reality soon. Only five more ports after Los Angeles. We are back up to 32 degrees north but from tomorrow it’s a downhill run to Australia. We gain another hour tonight so have another 25 hour day. Unfortunately mid pacific we have to pay back time and will have to skip a whole day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Update 3


We have left Pedro Miguel Locks and will be in Miraflores Locks (the next camera) in a few minutes... Having a great day...Big storm developing to our port side...This lock will lower us through two locks into the Pacific Ocean.

Update 2

Now we are arriving at Centenial Bridge for the next shot of the ship.

Panama Update

Wasn't much that could be seen was there?

This is what you missed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


We are in the first Gatun Lock.

Caribbean Sea

2/08/2010 8:18 PM
Caribbean Sea
A reminder - the Panama Webcam is found at and Dawn Princess can be seen passing though it at thius site.
Tomorrow morning’s transit begins with the arrival of the pilot around 5:00am. We should be in the Gatun Locks between 6:30 and 8:00am (ship’s time - Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadaljara zone). Our HOBOS from UBOBO sign is ready for hanging while we are in the lock. The animals have their spot picked out on the balcony and our champagne breakfast is booked for 7:30am.
Gatun Lock lifts us from the Atlantic into Gatun Lake which we cruise across. Then the Miraflores Locks lowers us into the Pacific. We are on the port (left) side above the second last lifeboat. I don’t know where Centenary Bridge is so don’t know when we’ll be passing there. We should be at the Miraflores Locks between 3:00 and 4:00pm. I’ll try to publish another blog in the morning to update any interested viewers.
Curacao was very colourful and we enjoyed a most pleasant day ashore. It is an island that was once an ancient coral reef that was lifted up from the ocean floor abut 400 000 years ago. The soil is very poor, white limestone much like that on Heron Island – the water is as pretty too!!! Once the houses, built of cement from the island soils, were all white. A Dutch governor decided that this was a health hazard for locals with the glare causing migraines and damage to eyesight. So he encouraged everyone to paint their houses and now we have this bright liquorice-all-sort lolly-coloured housing all over the island...Wayne and Kim Lester would feel right at home there...Any way to continue the story, when the governor left it was discovered that he was a major share holder in the paint company. But the citizens loved their new brightly coloured houses anyway and although the law no longer requires it they keep on panting their houses in these lovely strong, bright colours.
After our onshore excursion, we lunched on this very pleasant deck overlooking the waterway into the Willemstad port. During the tour, we bought ourselves some genuine Curacao Curacao and on our deck after dinner we celebrated another successful day with this delicious but very potent liqueur.
Hope some of you may get an opportunity to spot us on the webcam. If not we’ll have it on the World Tour 2010 DVD. The camera crew are going on shore to photograph us as we go through.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In Transit

31/07/2010 4:01 PM
In Transit to Curacao
We may not have escaped the Bermuda triangle. We’re once again experiencing “technical problems” and have been without power for two hours floating in the Caribbean Sea...take down the coordinates in case we disappear - 12.33N 64.26W.
If you’d like to see us live on TV you can on Tuesday between 5:00am and 4:30pm as we transit the Panama Canal (Our time. It should already be Wednesday in Australia) . Ships using the canal can be seen on the Canal’s webcam - . We googled Panama Canal Webcam today and were able to see a container ship moving through. For the occasion, we have joined our fellow passenger and made a [HOBOS from UBOBO] poster to hang from our balcony...Watch for it...We’ll be on our balcony for a champagne breakfast and to enjoy the day...Queensland should be 15 hours behind us time-wise...Remember look above the second last lifeboat and under the word Dawn.
Barbados was green, green, green!!! Caught a shot of Hobo 1 under the Jade Vine Pergola in the Andromeda Gardens... saw some Santa bulls and these indigenous black bellied sheep...these old ewes pictured standing under an Australian she oak tree, had been separated from the herd which was penned by the road side for us to stop and see up close...Drove all over the island and saw this ancient built in 1727 and duse until 1945 to crush sugar. It was restored between 1960 and 1990 and is now open for viewing...We ended the day with the most amazing folkloric show back on board...One of the performers was on stilts about 1.5 m high...and the tricks he could do on these two thin bits of metal had the theatre gasping as did the limbo queen who went under the limbo bar about 30cm off the floor while it was on fire!!!
This weekend is the Crop Over Festival on Barbados...yesterday locals were setting up stalls for the whole length of the waterfront in Bridgetown...would have been great to have been there today to see the whole community in party mood!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010


30/07/2010 5:55 AM
Off St Lucia - 13.42N; 60.20E
Woke at 5:30am to find we’d left the Caribbean Sea, rounded St Lucia and heading back out into the Atlantic on our course to Barbados. I am sitting on the balcony watching an Atlantic storm approach from the North east. We’ve survived the Bermuda Triangle so I trust we can handle this storm...plenty of thunder and lightning in it but just misty rain in the early stages of its arrival...I find it interesting that you can hear the rain on the sea...has that same wrap-up- and- get- into- bed –with-a-book sound appeal of rain on a tin roof...Unfortunately the ship passes through storms very quickly and all you’d get time to read, if you were lucky, would be a comic!!!
I’ve been bed ridden with the an upper chest infection since New York...a trip to the “Aaah!” and 6 penicillin capsules cost us $175 but at least I was able to make our “Lobster and Champagne” cruise of Antigua...I think the money spent on this cruise was more beneficial than the penicillin...It felt so good to have fresh air in your lungs! On second thoughts it may have been the champagne, captain’s punch, calypso music and dancing...whatever...I am feeling more myself this morning.
(Warren may be interested in how many linesmen it takes to release a ship in places outside Australia... In Antigua, two on the wharf, two on the dolphin...Also wondered if we were watching the next Viv Richards in action on the beach...a fellow passanger thought the practice wicket may explain the quality of the West Indies team today.)