THE FINAL WEEK
It’s not surprising that after the magic of the reef there would be a let down. The following port was Townsville. I planned to go out to Magnetic Island for an experience similar to Rottnest; bus around the island, a snorkel, a little birding and a quick bite. Problem number 1, walking distance to the ferry was a little long and a little hot and I missed the 9:00 am departure. The next one was at 10:45. Enjoyed the time searching the Internet and people watching. Problem 2, this was the slow ferry and took 40 minutes rather then 20 but it was a beautiful day and any time on the water is quality time. Arrived at the island around 11:30 and needed to catch the 1:45 ferry back.
Options were limited so I bought a gelato and explored the town. Not too much to see but I always like to bird watch and check out the flowers and butterflies. After about an hour stroll I checkout out the local IGA and had a local brew at the café. Not too disappointed because tomorrow I would be back on the reef.
Hamilton Island is in the Whitsunday’s.
This is one of the premier vacation destinations for Aussies and the resorts are grand. I signed up for a reef snorkel. Two and one-half hours out and back. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The sea was glass, the sun bright, and a wonderful cooling breeze prevailed. The only problem was that we were not permitted to snorkel the reef. We were limited to a trench of about 11 meters deep and any time we tried to see the reef and the reef fish we were escorted back to the trench. At 11 meters all the coral looked gray and brown and the colorful reef fish were absent.
This was a great disappointment after the Cairns snorkel. We were told it was because it was too shallow but the chase boat and outboard displaced more water and was closer to the reef than I ever was. Five hours to and fro and there was no reef to snorkel. I was so glad that I bit the bullet and paid for Cairns. It was more pricey but well worth the $$$$$.
We had a rainy sea day. I came in second at the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament but the
winner split with me so I netted $90 and that would come in handy.
This is a wonderful city that I would love to explore. The Brisbane River bisects it and it’s easy to get around by a great ferry system, rail and busses. I decided to go off on an adventure and walked to the ferry wharf, took the “City Cat” ferry into downtown Brisbane, caught a bus and headed to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for a picture of me cuddling a Koala.
It was another brilliant day. The ferry and the bus rides were great and I enjoyed the Sanctuary. Koala’s are heavier than you would think, their fur is soft and I really didn’t want to give my boy back. I had the opportunity to cuddle a croc and a snake. After much deliberation I decided “NO”!!!
The downside of the day is that both my ATM card and my credit card appear to have fallen out of my camera case where I kept them. This put a bit of a damper on the day, making me wonder if I should be traveling alone, if I am loosing it. Took the bus back to town
and the CAT back to Brett’s Dock and strolled back to the ship. I really want to get back to Brisbane and really see the city. It has wonderful museums, botanical gardens, restaurants and cafes and the wonderful river running through it.
The last sea day, so much to do.
At 10:00 the disembarkation talk with the crew on stage to sing, “Love in Any Language”. It always makes me misty. At 11:00 the photo contest winners were announced with a champagne toast. Suzie and Mike had pictures entered and Mike took second place in the people category. Then it was the last single and solo luncheon followed by the final Trivia Pursuit where our team came in third. Next it was the Hold ‘em tournament and I came in third, out of the money but played in the live game and ended the day $1 behind. Next was Happy Hour where I learned that Peter won the culinary arts contest and his chili will be on the menu tomorrow night. Time to dress for the last formal night, meet Dave and Val for a final before dinner cocktail and say hi to the dance hosts. After dinner it was
I'M ROUGH, I'M TOUGH, I GUARD THE TRUCK
bed for me and my last night of being gently rocked to sleep.
Friday in Sydney
I slept through the sail in to Sydney Harbor. The weather was gray and cool and I just couldn’t get out of my snug bed. We are docked at Circular Quay and I have a great view of the Opera House from my window. I can also watch the ferries coming in and going out. This is the best view in town. Today I will say goodby to all the wonderful folks I’ve met on board. It will be sad leaving my new friends but perhaps we’ll meet again on another adventure. I also have to pack up and check my bill, and submit my evaluation. Since I have one more day in Sydney I may just stay on board and enjoy the ship.
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