A Travellerspoint blog

From Autumn to Spring

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sounds strange but it's true. This morning we crossed from the Southern Hemisphere where it is Autumn (or fall) to the Northern Hemisphere where it is now Spring. The sea continues to be almost glassy smooth and the temperatures continue in a range of 27 °C to 33 °C. Although there were clouds on the horizon there was virtually no colour in the sunrise as we sailed Northward with Borneo on our starboard side.

After breakfast Jenny went to Tai Chi and I sat out on Deck 5 watching the fishing boats and small islands passing by. Attended Lisa Moore's talk on her trip to the "Big Island" of Hawaii and one of the telescopes atop Mauna Kea, 4000 meters above sea level. She spent a week there and wasn't able to complete her sighting because of the ice and snow.

Wandered past the bargain tables outside the shops and up to the buffet for a coffee and later a light lunch. Jenny retired to the cabin and I stayed up on Deck 10 to watch the "Crossing the Equator Ceremony". I've seen it a number of times before but was able to observed it closer up because of the smaller vessel. Proceedings followed roughly the same pattern but the unexpected climax was when the Captain was accused of still being dry. He was found guilty and sentenced to a dunking in the pool. He was lead meekly to the pool by two of the young female crew and then grabbed one of them as he 'fell' into the pool. I've never known of this to happen before !! He's an amazing character and a great sport.

Achieved another first, I bought a coffee at one of the bars, so who accused me of being a tight-wad ??

Back to the cabin to sort through today's images and prepare for dinner. With all the other activities we missed the afternoon movie, no great loss in my opinion. The write-up for "Enough Said" didn't en thrall me anyway.

Dinner in the dinning room, excellent as always. Passengers are really loosening up and talking longer and louder during dinner. Quite a hubub in the room. Went along to tonight's show and enjoyed the powerful voice of Stephen Fisher King. Will post my photo and this blog tonight.

The final of four sea days tomorrow with no significant events to report so the blog is likely to be brief. Meanwhile if you want to see a photo of today's King Neptune you can always follow this link which should take you to my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-03-31
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 07:40 Archived in Brunei Comments (0)

Passing to the West of Borneo

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Another day at sea, another beautiful sunrise as we sailed West-NorthWest with Borneo to our starboard. At the behest of one of the head-waiters we decided to try the dinning room for breakfast. Times are 07:00 to 08:30 and we were there promptly at 07:00 so that Jenny could get to her Tai Chi. The breakfast was elegantly served and very nicely presented. We may do it again from time ti time.

I attended Lesa Moore's lecture who spoke about the great minds of science and astronomy. Jenny stayed for the church service and I went off to photograph various parts of the ship. Will have to do that again using the flash next time. Whilst out on the open deck I was surprised to hear an announcement warning of a rain squall in five or ten minutes and suggesting we seek cover. How nice !!

Tried the lunch in the dining room. An extensive menu with lots of great options. Jenny ordered a bacon burger and declared it the best she's had. The meals were certainly well prepared and presented. After lunch we sat through another Peter Headley presentation primarily to reserve seats for the afternoon movie. Today's offering was "12 Years a Slave", a powerful story which certainly deserved the three Academy Awards.

Dinner in the dining room was excellent as always and beautifully topped off with a delicious Black Forest Cake. It took some effort to climb up the stairs back to the cabin. A three course dinner is certainly more than either of us need.

I attended the show this evening, Jenny's still a bit drained after today's movie. The entertainment featured Paul Cincotta an Australian multi-award wining pianist. He played popular and classical number on the grand piano and a portable instrument that looked like a keyboard with the neck of a guitar. Well worth going to see.

Two more sea days to Ho Chi Minh City. Sorry for posting this only on alternate days but it is the best compromise with the state of the Wifi/Internet connection. Meanwhile if you want to see a photo of today's sunrise you can always follow this link which should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-03-30
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 07:38 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Sailing NorthWestward Between Bali and Lambok

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dawn broke as we sailed between islands in the Indonesian Archipelago, the humidity was high and haze covered the horizon. The sunrise painted layers along the horizon. Enjoyed our breakfast on Deck 9 and snapped some images of the event. After breakfast Jenny went off to Tai Chi and I attended the Port Lecture on Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Looks like there will be many surprises in store for me.

Spent an interesting hour at the Future Cruises Lecture where Tiffanie provided an insight to the options available in Alaska, covering the many Land & Sea packages. It was heartening to find that the package we've booked is one of the best available -lucky !!

After lunch went to the Cabaret Lounge to see what the on-board photographers had produced in a DVD for Komodo Island. They managed to capture a number of scenes that we hadn't seen. They also cut and pasted parts of their images repeatedly through the 30 minute show. A very professional product in just 24 hours. We stayed in the Lounge for the Passenger Talent Show. The six acts varied from quite ordinary to semi professional polished performances. Some people have an inflated opinion of their talent, I'd be embarrassed to get up there.

Next in the Lounge was this afternoon's movie. The movie "Gravity" stared George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. An unlikely story line but great effects and 'space' scenery.

Super quick service for dinner tonight and we're not attending tonight's show so will have plenty of time to upload images and this blog.
Clocks back another hour as we continue to sail towards the West coast of Borneo.

That's about it for today with three more sea days ahead. Meanwhile if you want to see a photo of today's sunrise you can always follow this link which should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-03-29
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 04:52 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Komodo Island, Indonesia

Friday, 28 March 2014


View 2014-03 Singapore on greynomadm's travel map.

An early breakfast after a delightful sunrise as we approached the island of Komodo in Indonesia. The tenders were launched on a flat calm sea and we assembled in the Cabaret Lounge for our shore excursion. Only individuals booked on authorised tours were permitted ashore. We were issued with the obligatory sticker and then escorted to the pontoon to board the tender. A quick trip into the pier where we were assigned to our guides. After an appropriated lecture on the need to stay with the guides and within the group we were lead off.

I suspect the warnings of danger are at least partly hype but then again they wouldn't anyone to get hurt. Although it was early morning the temperature and humidity were already extremely high. The guides stopped in shaded places to answer questions and explain various aspects of the natural features of the park. The path varied from fairly wide with crushed coral to more narrow and strewn with roots and wash-aways.

Eventually we were lead to a clearing where two of the monsters were asleep in the sun. The guides ensured that we didn't wander into the possible danger zone. We were fortunate to be there when another dragon decided to join the party and I was fortunate to capture him in motion. I managed to also capture some up close images courtesy of the zoom lens.

After a while and to make room of new groups arriving we set off on the track back to the pier. We'd been supplied with complementary water before we set off and were provided with more welcome refreshment on our return. There was an extensive horde of hawkers promoting their wares and Jenny relented and bought a Tee Shirt. In short order we were aboard the tender for the smooth and uneventful trip back to the ship. The cool air-conditioned comfort of the ship was most welcome.

A quick shower and a change of clothes and we were ready for lunch on Deck 9. On return to the cabin we downloaded the photos and stretched out on the beds for a quick nanny-nap. I watched the Afternoon Movie "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"- fantastic scenery and amazing special effects. Jenny decided to stay in the cabin to read and rest.

Time for dinner - do we do anything other than eat ?? After dinner we were lured to the Cabaret Lounge for tonight's shoe "Johnny Bagpipes" (Rock and Roll Bagpipes and Comedy). Very disappointing, weak jokes and dreaded bagpipe music. Jenny walked out and I followed soon after.

So here I sit putting together these words. Four sea days ahead of us as we sail through the islands of Indonesia on our way to Vietnam.

Meanwhile if you want to see a photo of the dragon you can always follow this link which should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/runner-up/2014-03-28
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 04:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Northwest Across the Indian Ocean

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Another perfect morning with a spectacular sunrise to awaken the senses. Enjoyed breakfast on the open deck again until forced inside by a blindingly brilliant sun. Filled in some time on the port side of Deck 5 and struck up a conversation with a frequent traveller. He pointed out that there was an alternative to the South America cruise we have booked for March 2015. Will need to see if we can find a berth on that ship.

Attended the UFO and Sky Myths lecture by Lesa Moore, she presented some interesting factors that make travel to or from even the closest star not only unlikely but impractical from a financial viewpoint. Got to agree that UFOs continue to be totally fictional for me. The next lecture was by Peter Headley the topic was very interesting but his presentation was agonisingly boring. I'd love to have learnt more details of the Gallipoli landing but just couldn't stay interested beyond about 15 minutes.

Joined Jenny for lunch in the Steakhouse, a British-style Pub Lunch, she had 'Fish and Chips' and I had 'Breaded Prawns and Chips' and topped that off with a wine trifle. Excellent !!

After lunch I hunted down a brochure on South America cruises, the cruise described by the chap on Deck 5 is not listed so I'll have to see Tiffanie and see what's available. We've decided on a 49 day cruise out of Ft Lauderdale sailing on the Ruby Princess on 31 January 2015. The cruise obviously is more expensive but we are adding 18 days and the airfare to Ft Lauderdale should be cheaper than to Buenos Aires.

Watched the Matinée Movie "Captain Phillips", an high drama show staring Tom Hanks and running for 2 hrs 14 min. No time for a nap or siesta :-)
Great dinner again, "Surf & Turf" for me and a delicious chicken dish for Jenny. Learnt a little more about our waiter "Martin", he has a 25 year old son and two grandchildren. He has to be over 40 and darts about like a boxer.

Massive show tonight featured Stephen Fisher King from Sydney, born and raised in Canberra. Fabulous voice and amazing range of songs.
Will attempt to upload this, and the past two days, again tonight. The weather has been unbelievably calm but we've definitely sailed into a satellite black hole.

Clocks back one hour tonight and Komodo Island tomorrow.

I should have something more interesting to report tomorrow, meanwhile you can always follow this link which should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-03-27

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 06:05 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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