Published: January 13th 2012January 13th 2012
Tender to islands
One of the 4 lifeboats used to ferry us ahore
No new year hangover for me but think Martin's bottle of Sake may have had an effect. Little slow to start this morning for both of us.
Mystery Island is our shore trip today which is in the southern end of the islands that form Vanuatu. It is uninhabited as the local people from the nearby island of Aneityum consider it taboo. There is a landing strip on the island used in WW2 for the allied forces. The P&O Princess Jewel is the largest ship to enter into the lagoon.
I went across for a swim and left Martin drinking a coffee and having flex time in the room. Again we used the tenders to go to and from, deck 4 to board and a temporary jetty set up to receive us.
The locals must love the cruise ships as they go all out to get the tourist dollar. Stamp your passport $2-, postcard to Australia $5-, sarongs, jewelry and hair braiding, as well as turtle watching tours, fishing trips, coral viewing, prices ranging from $20 to $40 pp for the trips
Or you can do what I did which was take over the snorkel gear
and have a swim. There was lots of beach huts and places to be in the shade, coral was mostly broken around the island perimeter but fish life plentiful and many sea cucumbers. Quite a strong current made swimming fun but it was quite distressing to see the coral being bashed around by people wearing fins. No need for them, reef shoes are brilliant and protect from coral and sun.
Back to the ship for lunch and Martin has gone over with my camera and a couple of dollars to get his passport stamped.
We are really enjoying our coffee from the little cafe on deck 5 and had plans to do a coffee appreciation class this morning but we turned up late and no one else was there, think New Years Eve celebrations may have been too much for some.
Had a chat to one of the crew today about what sort of work roster they have. They all work 11 hours a day, split shift, no days off, 8 month contract. Pretty tough life but you would be able to save lots, no time to spend really between work, sleep and day
to day necessary life.
We had a quiet afternoon of Scattegories, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble organised by crew. Martin and I won the prize for the highest points in the Scrabble game, 140 & 136 and won ourselves a key ring each! Each of these sessions tends to go for 45 minutes, hosted by one of the entertainment crew who may be a dancer or a singer as well.
Photographs are taken by P&O at every shore trip as well as times during the cruise, printed and put on display for you to purchase. Any chance to make money! Some are put onto a purchased USB for free and some for a fee. Tonight was pirate night, with encouragement to dress up and of course get your photo taken. Funnily we were able to do the whole pirate thing without buying any props; headscarf, rolled up jeans, waistcoat and white shirt in our wardrobe each made us look the part.
Tonight's major show was "Pirates of the Pacific" a great romp through some music, audience participation, high energy dancing, very professional involving the 8 singer/dancers and 2 of the circus performers.
ended our evening with a liqueur coffee from Charlies listening to the Pacific Show Band, laid back jazz 3 piece. We had breakfast with the Ukranian bass player/band leader this morning. On any one night there is music on the deck, attic, atrium, and connections bar. You would be hard pressed to not find something to your liking.
Early night tonight, tucked up in bed watching the movie Australia. On the tv in the room there are 12 channels in total; a camera view of the bow of the ship, an information channel about port visits, an information channel about our route, a preview of the DVD they are making of this journey, another channel advertising the ships shops, and the other 7 are a mixture of news, kids,sports, movies and other programs.
There are more photos below