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

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.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New York

26 July 2010
New York was a surprise - a mixture of old and new all beautifully blending together to make a very clean, neat, inviting city. Being Sunday the streets were quiet and filled with markets...we visited Ground Zero...a more moving experience than we expected...we enjoyed a coffee in the Financial Centre which has an observation deck overlooking the site where a bridge once linked the centre to the Twin Towers...It was quite chilling to think people would have been doing exactly the same thing on 9/11... and be as unprepared as we were for such a disaster.
In the afternoon we went to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum which was right next to where the Dawn was moored. We went on a submarine, “the Growler”, which was used during the Cold War as a nuclear missile carrier. It carried four regulus missiles with nuclear war heads. Again our tour was interrupted by an afternoon storm but we spent the time on the hangar deck exploring displays ranging from the Intrepid’s role in WW2 to their retrieving of a Mercury space capsule.
Unfortunately the rain did prevent us touring a Concorde aircraft on display as well...disappointing but I’m still coughing and I didn’t want to take any risks of getting wet.
Again the rain cleared to give us a magical sail away as the twilight melted into a full moon rising over Manhattan before we headed back out into the Atlantic to begin our three day cruise to Antigua.


26 July 2010
Newport was delightful... Being a Saturday everyone was out sailing, picnicking, relaxing...a heavy rainstorm brought an end to this late in the afternoon but the sunshine that followed gave us a very picturesque sail away.
We anchored out in the harbour and went ashore in the ship’s tenders. We meandered our way in through a harbour filled with all shapes and sizes of water craft - drooling all the way!!!
It was our day to visit the grand mansions built in the late 1800s as summer “cottages” by the rich magnates of New York. The mansion we visited was chosen for a wedding photo shoot...although the house is showing its age the owners have filled it with an amazing collection of furniture and other collector items from palaces all over item that caught my eye was the tea set Napoleon took with him into battle...the cups and saucers delicately painted with little “legs” on both the cups and the saucers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


24/07/2010 9:29 AM

Survived Boston...a great city...tidy, welcoming, well laid out city, full of History, reminds one of Rockhampton. Very interesting to see historical buildings standing proudly beside their modern neighbours.

We are now cruising into Newport at 10kts as a result of a seasonal management plan to protect the 400 remaining North Atlantic Right Whale that cruise these waters. They are apparently lazy and not easy to disturb and were frequently hit by ships until the speed restrictions were introduced.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

South of Newfoundland

21 July 2010
South of Newfoundland
Sorry to all followers for the period of silence. Hope you were able to find your way through the catch up blogs yesterday.
We safely made it through the night and did not follow Titanic to the depths. We passed over her resting place at 0006am this morning. We’d been steaming towards this point since Dublin and had not seen a ship but as we neared the site, a ship’s lights became visible. At first we thought it was a fishing boat but then decided it must be a research vessel because it was right on the spot where the Titanic sunk. The captain confirmed our suspicions on the ship’s noon update today. It was a research vessel and at the time we were passing they actually had a camera down in the wheel house examining the bronze steering column which is apparently beginning to disintegrate. So in the photo you can see the moon, the ship and the wake of the Dawn Princess above the wreck of the Titanic at latitude 41043.9N 49056.9W. We passed about a mile to the north.
Hobo 1 can now relax!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mid Atlantic

Tuesday, 20 July 2010
This is quick catch up 4.
At Sea 15th- 19th July
It is a rather sobering thought to see a crush of grey headed patrons with walking sticks, hearing aids and wheel chairs pushing and shoving to get into a Beatles concert. Where have the years gone?
Four young men joined us in Southampton and performed a Beatles concert for us but we were unable to see them because we could not find a seat into the 550 seat theatre. We were rather pleased to hear they were causalities of the aborted Dublin stopover and had to stay on with us to Boston. Consequently they have performed for us three more times and every time the theatre has been packed – in fact it was filled 20-30 minutes before opening time. Tonight we are having a “White Hot Party” on the open decks and they will be playing for the last time. You would swear they were the real Beatles.
With no entertainers the cruise staff has had to be really innovative. Last night two of our entertainers who play music in the Atrium each night put on a musical quiz show for us which was excellent – “Drama on the High Seas” to quote... “an “award winning” performance of the murder of the master mariner at midnight on a misty Monday in the mid-Atlantic with a Mayan Machete.”
Another set of 4 Russian musicians gave us an excellent concert of popular classical music. Could they make those strings talk?
During the day we’ve continued our trivia games but are suffering the absence of Ally and John. We’ve been to three cooking classes with Master Chef, Commendatore Alfredo Marzi. We now know how to make Swans “Swimming in a Sea of Chocolate”.
Afternoons have been spent watching movies – loved Saturday’s movie “Leap Year” and saw “It’s Complicted” again just as good as the first time we saw it.
Imagine everyone’s joy when the sun came out Monday and we had a 360 degree unimpeded view of the horizon. A walk along the deck was very slow as everyone stopped to chat and share their joy.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010
This is quick catch up 3.
Dublin 16th July
This did not eventuate.
After a day of rough weather around Lands End, we were up early and off to a quick breakfast with Dublin in sight. We were planning to do a walk on our own while we waited for our afternoon tour. I’d normally take photos as we came in but not this morning. Because we were doing this walking tour I only took two photos.
At breakfast we joined John and Joy (Gleeson) and John told us the pilot boat Hobo 1 saw “delivering” the pilot while I showered was in fact returning to Dublin with the pilot on board. It was John’s belief we’d not be seeing Dublin. Sure enough...landing too rough for our ship to come into the wharf so it was off to sea and on our way off across the Atlantic.
Our friends Ally and John were stranded. They’d left the ship and gone to Northern England to see Ally’s mum and were meeting us in Dublin. All our entertainers for the transatlantic crossing were also left behind. There’ll be a few good tales to tell when we all get back together again in Boston!
Unfortunately, the weather did not improve Saturday or Sunday- one of the main reasons I haven’t been sitting at the computer writing blogs!


Tuesday, 20 July 2010
This is quick catch up 2.
Stonehenge July 14
Our first wet day.
We had a lovely day in England in spite of a wet start to the day. It began to drizzled as we stepped onto the bus in Southampton and built up as we drove through Wessex, Hampshire, new Forest, Salisbury, Wiltshire and out to Stonehenge.
It is much smaller than I expected. After we donned our raincoats we were given a headpiece and left to take our own 45 minute narrated tour of the site. About half way round the weather lifted and we had a beautiful day from there on. I like the little “path” signs which invited peopek into the neighbouring field where cattle and sheep grazed completely oblivious to the busloads of tourists wandering around.
On our return to Salisbury, we accepted our guide’s invitation to tour Salisbury Cathedral . What a surprise! We saw one of 2 surviving copies of the Magna Carter written in 1066, tombs of men who were supporters of Richard 2nd and Richard the 3rd in the 13th and 14th centuries and walked o memorial stones to people who died from as early as the 12th century.
Back in Southampton we went shopping and saw a store owned by F Hinds and bought a couple of new shirts at Marks and Spencers before beginning the third leg of our journey- Southampton to New York at 9:00pm with 1100 new passengers. There are only 900 of us doing the round trip.

Tracking the Titanic

Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Off Newfoundland above the Titanic
Number 1 granddaughter picked it - writer’s block...Had a couple of busy days in France and England then had to miss Dublin because of bad weather and face up to seven days at sea as we crossed the Atlantic...the body was willing but the mind was weak! Plus the sea is much kinder today – smooth but covered in fog.
This morning as we breakfasted we met Richard and Joan (Lyn Wood’s parents. Lyn relieved me at Ubobo when we went round the Pacific.) They had joined the cruise at Southampton as did a new couple sat our table. This couple, Bev and Elwyn, are from New Zealand When we said we were from Ubobo, they said, “Oh yes. We know where that is.” For the past five years they’ve had a campervan housed at a cousin’s place in Beenleigh and come over to spend the winter in Australia. They leave Brisbane and camp at the Boynedale Bush Camp or on the Calliope River for the first couple of nights of each trip. I’m repeatedly surprised at how small this world is and with how much travel some people have done- Joan and Richard did the first half of the world cruise last year and left home when we did this year but flew to England and hired a car and toured England for six weeks until they joined us in Southampton to do the second half of the world this year.
As we cross the Atlantic, we are following the pathway of the Titanic. Our ships are of similar size, similar speed, carry the same number of passengers and left from the same port - Southampton. The Titanic couldn’t get in to Dublin either and now today we too are travelling in fog with the fog horn being blasted every two minutes. Tonight at 2300 we are going to pass directly over the Titanic’s resting place. (The same time it hit the iceberg.) We have had a Scholarship at Sea lecture today at lunchtime on the ill fated voyage and the movie was played at 2:00pm this afternoon. The attached photo shows Hobo 1 on iceberg watch!!!


Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Quick catch up 1.
Versailles - 13th July
I managed to get lost during the tour of the palace and caused myself and Hobo 1 a great deal of anguish.
As you can see by the crowds at the gates, the place was packed - 7 million tourists a year visit Versailles. We walked up this glorious marble staircase and into the first room. Camera clicking, I was busy gazing at ceilings when I suddenly found myself caught in a wave of Japanese tourists who carried me forward with their tour. When I tried to get out they just locked up tighter than a scrum pack and I got separated from our group and try as I might I could not find them again for over an hour... I eventually found my way out of the palace and to the gates of the gardens where I thankfully found two other Princess cruise passengers who were also lost...but this was no all that comforting as I knew they’d missed the bus a few days previously and were left behind when they failed to make it back on time. (It cost them $120 in taxi fees to get back to the ship.) They wanted to move on but all I could depend on was that Hobo 1 would not move beyond this point unless I was with him. However a wait of 45 minutes began to have me doubting I’d ever see him again! Having left the palace I couldn’t go back in and without a ticket I couldn’t move forward. When we were found by our tour leaders I couldn’t see Hobo 1 which increased my tension. So when he finally came round the corner at the back of the group I burst into tears.
Needless to say my Versailles experience is now etched firmly in my memory.
However lunch was delightful and were able to stroll through the grounds for an hour before the tour ended. By that time I’d gathered my senses again and we really enjoyed our 90 minute back through the Normandy countryside.

Monday, July 12, 2010

At Sea July 11

11/07/2010 4:49 PM
This is the view at 42.14 degrees North and 9.49 degrees West (looking west that is!) We’ve seen dolphins and some people saw whales but not much else to see today.
Just another quiet day at sea...We wrecked it before it started... stayed up too late and then slept in this morning and lost most of today...the Dawn Princess band plays great Dixieland Jazz...straight out of New Orleans...After two hours of jazz in the Wheelhouse we stayed on to listen to Brodband who are a great dance band who were playing sixties music last night...our table moved from dinner to the Wheelhouse and stayed till late. But late is all present it is still daylight at 10pm. Today the sun rose at 6:58 and won’t set until 9:18.
Today was our final day of progressive trivia for this segment of the trip...we finished ninth out of 30 teams and are rather pleased with ourselves...have to form a new team after Southampton as Joan and Lindsay leave us there.
To end this segment, the World cruise 2010 Choir performed for us in the Vista before lunch...they had put together a set of songs from the was really enjoyable...a little sad for some of them as many are getting off in Southampton (the half way mark of our trip)...actually tomorrow is the exactly halfway.
Doesn’t time fly?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


10/07/2010 3:40 PM
An early sail away from Gibraltar now has us cruising the Straits of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain. It is a sunny afternoon with white caps on the choppy sea caused by wind against current. Surprisingly the whole day has had a fog floating over the Mediterranean reducing visibility but keeping the temperature down. But the fog is not a surprise to locals. It was used in the 1780s to smuggle food into Gibraltar when the British were blockaded for three years by the French and Spanish forces during the American War of Independence.
Today we explored a 120m tunnel dug at that time using only crow bar, mallet, auger and gun powder to chisel through solid rock. It was constructed to allow the British to surprise the enemy by having a gun out on the end of the cliff that overlooked the isthmus between the Spanish mainland and the Rock. In WWII these tunnels were expanded to about 30 miles of tunnels and caverns within the rock to protect Gibraltar in case of attack by the Germans or Spanish who were still anxious to regain control of the area.
Again “age” amazes me. We rode a cable car up over a Moorish Castle built in 711AD. They held the rock until 1462. How easily the passage of 700 years rolls off the tongue. We saw a Neanderthal scull 60 000 years or so old in a beautiful little museum built over a Moorish Bath House. 6 columns in the hot house were all different indicating the moors were recycling Roman and Greek materials to build the rooms. There was an Egyptian mummy of a young man found by a Spanish fisherman on a ship that had run aground and been abandoned.
We survived the Barbary Apes. Signs everywhere warn you of the dangers of coming too close to these animals. So imagine my fright when one jumped off the rail in front of me and up onto the bus I was leaning against!!!
Gibraltar was yet another different experience! As I’ve said before, my planning last year is paying off...great to talk to a couple of you on the phone at lunch time. ... Sorry to hear Random Rulz is not too well... Love to all in Townsville... I keep mentioning your name Rhys as I visit churches across Europe...We even lit a candle for you in the Black Madonna’s chapel on Montserrat...looking forward to having the freedom to visit you when this great adventure is finished.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


9/07/2010 7:08 PM
We’ve just enjoyed a very lazy day at sea catching up after four hectic shore days. Our tour of the Mediterranean is fast coming to an end as the map shows. It is Gibraltar tomorrow and shipping is starting to squeeze up this afternoon as we move into the straits. 9 vessels are visible from our deck at the moment.
Yesterday we did the “Monster Rat” – Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery founded in the 9th century high up on this striking mountain range which is only seven miles long and three miles wide. The monastery itself is is so high up the cable car ride to it takes eight minutes (We went by bus) and the view from the top is stunning.
Having seen my meal of the previous day you may get a giggle out of the come down yesterday – cheese and olives... but let me assure you it was delicious and the setting was just as good.
As you walk into the monastery the local Spanish farmers set up food stalls and offer you samples of their food so that as you come out you may stop and buy from their stalls. Goat, sheep and cow cheeses are on offer as well as a wide variety of stone fruits which are in season at the moment being summer. In the Monastery the monks make chocolate among other things. Our guide told us to try their speciality made with olive oil and salt added to the regular ingredients.
On our return to port, the huge terminal was almost empty but had a little bar selling nice cold beer. So before boarding the boat we ordered a beer and were given a bowl of olives to have with it so we went out on the deck in front of the terminal facing the sea with a beautiful cool sea breeze blowing and had beer, olives and our purchases- sheep’s cheese, cherries, figs and chocolate for lunch which extended into afternoon tea and almost tea as well as another couple came to join us! A great afternoon!!!
I was a little disappointed not to have gone into Barcelona because everyone was saying how nice it was- that was until this morning’s trivia session when our friends Joan and Lindsay shared their misfortune with us. They sat down to have lunch in Barcelona with their back against a post and tucked in against a wall. Lindsay put his bag down beside him with his hat, expensive camera (He is a photographer by profession)and other bits and pieces in it and when he stood up to go the bag was gone. The pick pockets had got it while he ate his meal!!! As well, the woman who joined us for a drink yesterday had lost her camera in Cannes. She put it down on a wall to take a photo for someone else. When she reached back to pick it up it was gone! So now I’m not so sure I did want to go into big crowded cities. Our rural trips are looking far more attractive!
Must go! We’re off to see Duggie Brown from “The Comedians” tonight. Missed the Spanish dancers last night because we sat too long watching harbour activities and the theatre was packed when we got there - disappointing but not as disappointing as having your camera stolen. I’m downloading my photos every night.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


7/07/2010 9:22 PM
Bonjour/Bon soir Monsieur and Mademoiselle
We have spent the day in the French Riviera and enjoyed it... Was fascinated by the number of luxurious boats of all sizes and the number of luxurious hotels..have never seen so many big flash boats in one definitely is a playground of the rich and famous...We saw the hospital where Angelina had the twins... Elton John’s Riviera home...Greta Garbo’s home...the names dropping could go on and on.
We came ashore in Cannes like the poor relations in our tender boats and began our tour of Nice and St Paul de Vence. We saw old Nice from “The Little Train”...Hobo 1 was flabbergasted by the extent of the bird population(brown nosed tits) on the stony beach...there is no sand on the beach only small rocks...looks a most uncomfortable place to sunbake.
We lunched at St Paul de Vence ... Hobo 2 was flaggergasted by her seafood salad lunch...a very tasty work of art!
We are now on our way to Barcelona tomorrow...our reception will probably depend on the result of tonight’s soccer semi-final! (Looking favourable with the Spain having just scored in the 73 minute)
Au revoir until demain!