A Travellerspoint blog

Port Vila - Vanuatu

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


View 2014-01 Pacific Islands on greynomadm's travel map.

The sea is calm, the wind mere zephyrs and clouds stretch from horizon to horizon. There is no visible sunrise and even difficult to locate where the Eastern horizon is located. After breakfast we read our Kindles for a while and waited for the ship to dock at Port Vila. Shortly after the scheduled arrival time of 10:00 we were alongside and lines set.

We walked off with no intention to go all the way into the town. We spent about an hour walking past all the stalls that line the road. There wasn't much variation in the produce on offer. Jenny managed to spend $20 on a cute doll, a small purse and a cap for me.

By the time we returned to the ship my shirt was soaked through. The ships windows looked as if rain was falling on them but it was just the condensation from the humidity. It was a similar sight on deck 14 where we had a quick lunch. Spent some time back in the cabin and examined today's Princess Patter for things that may interest us. Looks like the movie 'Wolverine' is the best chose.

Two hours of unimaginable action and violence with a barely plausible story line. There were lots of amazing stunts and spectacular images of Japan, it was interesting to recognise the scenes from the Tokyo Railway Station however brief.

Dinner was excellent as always and we were all done by 19:00. Jenny has decided to attend the Trevor Knight Concert in the Theatre while I elected to stay and read the Kindle. The cabin creaks and groans as we are underway again with a gentle rocking motion. Should be no trouble going to sleep tonight.

Clocks go forward an hour tonight, bringing us into the Fiji Time Zone.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-01-29
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:54 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (1)

Isle of Pines - New Caledonia

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


View 2014-01 Pacific Islands on greynomadm's travel map.

The seas have abated and we were sailing between two groups of islands when the sun was scheduled to put in an appearance. Sadly there was a strong wind and overcast sky which suppressed any brilliant light or colour. To top off the grey atmosphere we sailed into a heavy rain squall which caused me to scurry for cover. By 0600 I was back in the cabin with not much to show for 45 minutes on deck.

On arrival at our anchor position off the Isle of Pines there was some uncertainty about the ability of the tenders to safely travel to the pier. There was some delay as a test boat was sent out. It was declared safe and with the improving weather we decided to go ashore for a short visit. After obtaining our tender tickets we were held for about 30 minutes and were called forward.

The tender trip was interesting as the little boat rolled and bucked its way to the pier. Almost as good as a carnival ride. By the time we arrived the sun was out and the water was a beautiful turquoise blue. We walked along the tree-lined road and looked at some of the stalls and about an hour later we returned to the jetty. There was only a 5 minute wait in a queue and we were off back to the ship. There was less movement on this trip.
Parked the back-pack in the cabin and headed for lunch on deck 14. The buffet was busy but not overcrowded. I was surprised to see whole roast duck at the carvery and felt compelled to try some. Beautifully cooked and moist.

After lunch we decided to watch a movie in the theatre. All we had was the name "Pacific Rim" and the fact that it was rated PG-13. Not much to go on but there wasn't all that much offering. Jenny lasted about 15 minutes, I stayed for the full 2hr 11min. It was the most unlikely futuristic science fiction show I've seen.

The ship is underway again as we sail for Vila in Vanuatu. We weighed anchor at about 15:30 and are due in Vila at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The wind is blowing at about 30 knots and the ship is sailing without the shudders and bumps that has marked the previous days.
Almost time to get ready for dinner and the connection to the Internet is still not working from my lap-top. I'll do the USB thumb drive method which works although not optimal.

A lovely dinner again and with no show to interest us, we're retiring to an early night.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-01-28
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:14 Archived in New Caledonia Comments (1)

Stormy Second Sea Day

Monday, 27 January 2014

The ship was lively during the night and by 0545 when I went on deck there was a strong wind, spay and light rain. No sunrise pictures today. Returned to the cabin, cleaned up and returned to Deck 14 for breakfast.

Nothing of consequence this morning but we did fit in a visit to the Future Cruises office where we purchased another two certificates each. I also clarified the policy on unused On Board Credits, if they are a benefit from the company the balance is forfeited and 'gifts' from the Travel Agent and the like are refunded.

Attended two Destination Presentations either side of lunch, these two talks covered the four ports in Fiji. Three of the ports are 'tender' ports and two of them are largely beach visits. It will depend on the weather as to whether we go ashore or not and if we do for how long.
Still no Internet access so I'll have to visit the Internet Lounge again. It is sad to miss out on the chance to communicate but at least we don't have $$$s at stake.

Managed to place some images and text on a USB thumb drive and accessed that using the PCs in the Internet Lounge. Not as convenient as an upload from the laptop but I've managed to upload Saturday and Sunday's images and Blog texts. I'll have to continue doing it that way until the mystery is resolved.

Formal night tonight, will have to spend some extra effort to spruce up and look presentable. Jenny calls it 'Mission Impossible', a little harsh but no doubt true. Another excellent dinner and the waiters all looked spectacular in their formal attire. At the end of the meal we were suitably embarrassed when they brought out a small chocolate cake, lit the candle and sang to us. I had asked them to sing it softly, they did the exact opposite and had half the dining room join in. Lovely of them to go to the trouble.

After dinner we gathered in the Vista Lounge for this evening's show by Adam dean. A very clever magician and a cheeky line of humour even if some of his jokes were a bit stale his tricks were pretty amazing.

The ship continues to rock in the swell and the strong winds. The rain appears to have stopped although the decks are still wet either from the rain or the spray from the bow-wave as she continues on a North Easterly course.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-01-27

More tomorrow when we will anchor at The Isle of Pines - our first port.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:12 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Cruise Embarkation

Saturday, 25 January 2014


View 2014-01 Pacific Islands on greynomadm's travel map.

Today's the day, up at 0430, quick breakfast and head off to Queanbeyan. Almost exactly two hours later we arrive at No1 Daughter's house where we're welcomed with hugs kisses and a mug of coffee for me. Sat around and chatted for half an hour or so and then we were ferried to the Canberra Coach Terminal where we became part of an amazing crowd of people headed for Sydney. Four coach loads and by all accounts there had been an equal number at 0700 and 0800.

Arrived at Central Station right on schedule at 1230. Found a taxi and within 15 minutes we were at the ship's side where the queue snaked out almost 100 meters. When it started to move we were quite quickly checked in, through 'Border Protection' the security scan and aboard the ship before 1345.
Up to Deck 14 for lunch and back to the cabin to unpack the cases. Sat through another emergency drill in the Wheelhouse bar and then on deck to watch the 'sail away'. Sydney was rather dull and grey as we left and headed out to the Corral Sea. It wasn't long before the ship started to toss and roll a bit.

Our dinning room is on Deck 5 and we have a table for 2. That's not a bad sized table and certainly my preference. The Menu was varied and the service excellent. After dinner we made our way to the Theatre where the Cruise Director introduced himself and his staff. This was followed by a short and amazing taste of the talent of Comedian Magician Adam Dean. We will certainly make every effort to see his complete show in two days time.

Back to the cabin to write up this text and then off to bed. I'll have to establish my Internet account and if it doesn't work tonight I'll get it posted tomorrow.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-01-25

More tomorrow as we sail towards The Isle of Pines - a slight deviation from the published itinerary.

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 20:18 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

First Sea Day

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Up early for the sunrise due at 0601. There was a slight delay due to the many clouds but eventually there was a spectacular showing as the sun and clouds interacted. Back to the cabin for a shower then off to breakfast.

Ordered some whiskey for our house-minder then took the laptop to the Internet lounge to try and sort out the connections issue. I've spent many fruitless hours both last night and this morning attempting to establish an account. The IT manager has tried many things and this has him stumped. The strange thing is that we're on the same ship as the one to New Zealand only a few months ago and everything worked fine. We will try another browser later today.

Jenny's off to some craft event and we met in the Horizon Court for lunch. Listened to Linda's Destination Presentation in the Theatre. It was one of the best we've attended.

Back to the Internet Lounge to be informed that the issue is not confined to my lap-top and that an alternate browser had also failed to solve the issue. The very helpful manager has logged a ticket with his home base where the issue is being investigated. It appears that tablets, smart phones and MacBooks are having no problems. We've concluded it is some recent update to Windows that is not compatible with their interface.
We succumbed to the motion of the vessel and were rocked off to sleep for a while but made it to the dining room for dinner. Another enjoyable meal and both waiters Crispin and Alexander are starting to learn our strange manners. Hot water for Jenny is now described as crystal clear and decaffeinated, straight from the boilers in the bowels of the ship.

Lingered over a plate of cheeses and fruit then made our way to the Vista Lounge for a movie, simply titled 'Rush'. We lasted all of ten minutes, some story about the antics of Nikki Lauder and James Hunt and lots of noisy racing cars.

Back to the cabin to write up this tale. With luck I'll get it posted some time soon.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-01-26

More tomorrow as we sail towards The Isle of Pines - our second sea day.

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 20:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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