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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Up early and a fruitless search for something spectacular to photograph before we depart. No such luck, even the Opera House looks drab in the grey dawn light.

Down to Deck 10 for a quick breakfast and we collect our luggage. We've selected the 'walk off' option where we take care of our own luggage and find our own way through Customs and Quarantine. No drama in that area but there are no taxis !! Finally one turns up and as we're the first we nab it. The driver tells us that we're earlier than expected and there's also a P&O liner at the Darling Harbour pier. It is still before 0800 and the trip to Central Station is quite quick.

There's a minor drama as my case is well over the 20 Kg limit, can't imagine why that would be ?? The bus isn't due to leave until 0915 so we have quite a wait and there is only limited seating. Right on time the bus departs and before we've travelled 5 minutes the driver receives a phone call, he's forgotten his paperwork, so we head back.

There's a leaking gas main near the airport and some road closure so the driver has to look for an alternate route. We see a different part of Sydney and finally had towards home. A straight-forward trip home and our old mate is waiting to take us the last 5 Km.

A mountain of mail and close to 400 emails, it will take some time to sort through it all and we'll be off again by mid December.

Posted by greynomadm 13:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney Today

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

View 2012 Hawaii Millennium on greynomadm's travel map.

Up early this morning to capture the last 'at sea' sunrise. I mistakenly used yesterday's sunrise time and spent an extra 30 minutes waiting. Some extensive clouds made for a reasonable experience. I also observed that the ship was 'rolling' by up to 10 degrees either side of horizontal. It leads me to wonder if the ship has stabilisers and if they've been deployed.

Breakfast and then off to the Theatre for the last lecture by Alan Dowty on the topic of Shackleton and his epic voyage to Antarctica. A tale of amazing determination and tenacity. Next off to collect our Whisky purchases prior to packing it away for tomorrow's disembarkation.

Up to deck 12 for our approach to Sydney and onto our temporary berth at Garden Island. Later this afternoon we will be relocated to the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay.

Spent most of the afternoon packing all our gear

The relocation to Overseas Passenger Terminal was delayed due to the late departure of the ship occupying the berth. We were in the dining room for our last main meal aboard when we were on the move. Quite an operation to move the vessel just a short distance.

Spent some time on Deck 12 taking photos of the Sydney skyline.

Posted by greynomadm 02:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sea Day - Sydney Bound

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

There's no sunrise to brighten the morning. The sky is totally overcast and the ocean is stirred up creating flecked white peaks. There has been some serious rain overnight and the upper decks are awash. There is also some gentle rocking motion as the ship is buffeted by the wind.
After our regular breakfast - still under 'full service' rules - we made our way to the Theatre for a morning of lectures and shows.

First up was Alan Dowty who provided a most interesting insight to the history of the Middle East conflict and the evolution from a war over land to one of religion and ideology.

Next up was advertised as the 'Star Chef's Cooking Competition'. A bit of fun based loosely on Iron Chef and Ready Steady Cook with a generous dash of slap-stick thrown in.

This was quickly followed by 'Millennium's Got Talent' where some of the ship's crew provided a number of acts and skits. Not as good as some we've seen but these crew shows are always funny and sometimes surprisingly skillful.

Next the stage was filled with crew members of every department to the thunderous applause of the capacity audience.

Lunch on Deck 10 and a very relaxed afternoon catching up on sleep. Another awesome dinner and then off to the Theatre to be entertained by the baby faced extremely talented Will Martin, a native of New Zealand recently working in London. An amazing range of songs, beautifully delivered and he looks like he's just out of his teens.

It has been confirmed that we will dock at Garden Island tomorrow morning - a far better alternative than lying at anchor and using tenders.

Posted by greynomadm 02:03 Comments (0)

At Sea Destination Sydney

Monday, 19 November 2012

With a change of time-zone the sunrise was due at 0519 and I was awake well before the alarm at 0445. My initial impression on reaching Deck 11 was not at all favourable. There was another photographer on the aft deck as the sky changed colour and we were treated to a glorious sunrise.

Back to the cabin for a shower and change of clothes and a quick breakfast at the buffet on Deck 10 - still working in the restrictive 'full service' mode. Next item on the schedule was the meeting with the Australian Immigration officials for a cursory check of our passports.
Jenny went off to one of the trivia sessions and I went off to photograph the various art objects at the landings between decks in each of the stairwells.

There were no significant lectures or other activities so I retired to the Cellar Master bar on deck 5 to read my Kindle. Some time later I fell into conversation with an interesting gentleman who lives in Auckland. Born in England, roamed the world as youth, married a Dutch lady and now resides in New Zealand with his second wife. He showed me a small article in an Auckland weekend newspaper reporting that there had been an alleged assault on one of the passengers by a member of the crew. Nice bit of gossip !!

A light lunch in anticipation of a significant evening meal, I even skipped the ice-cream stand !!

Spent most of the afternoon making up for the very early start. Later we dressed for the last formal night of the cruise. I ordered the lobster tail but found it somewhat tough and rubbery, I mentioned this to Cedric who immediately conjured up another one, it was only marginally better but I felt obliged to eat it :-)

The clock is set back another hour tonight which brings us back to Eastern Australian Daylight Savings Time. Must be very close to being home.

Posted by greynomadm 02:01 Comments (0)

Auckland - Day 2

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A strong cold wind greeted the sunrise this morning. The city lights were not as spectacular this morning and the clouds contained the threat of more rain to come.

After breakfast we headed off to find the InerLink bus stop and bought an All-Day ticket and travelled on the Green Bus to Newmarket - a significant shopping district where we switched to the OuterLink route where we travelled on the Yellow Bus to Mount Eden Village. From the village we walked up to the rim of Mount Eden - and were almost blown down the other side. The wind was fierce and the views were spectacular. From this vantage point we could see both sides of the peninsula.

Back down from the mountain and we catch the Yellow Bus back to the Museum in the Domain where we unwittingly paid for a Maori Cultural show. Just happens to be the same group and almost identical show to the one we watched aboard last night. The Museum deserved more than the two hours we spent there.

Also in the Domain was the Wintergardens, consisting of two glass-houses containing an amazing collection of flowering plants both temperate in one house and tropical in the other. On the way back to the bus stop we passed by the Cenotaph. I was most impressed by the words etched into the black marble border "This is holy ground, step not unto it except in reverence". A great sentiment but unfortunately totally ignored by many of the visitors.

Back on the Green Bus to the wharf precinct and back on board before 1300. By this time we were both starting to wilt. We're looking forward to some sea days so that we can recover. So far we've dodged the threatening rain. All Aboard at 1645 and due to depart at 1700.
With a final shower to see us off, we sailed away at 1705 being fare welled by a pair of tugboats pirouetting as only they can.

An excellent dinner once again and my favourite main course, braised lamb shank, except that it is the size of an emu's drumstick. Moist and succulent and barely holding together.

Tonight's show featured the 'Aussie Boys', three clean-cut young men with magnificent voices, if they stayed with the singing and ditched the clowning around they'd be a great act IMO.

Posted by greynomadm 02:58 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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