Former TravelPod Member: yvrbhoy

Joined: January 2nd, 2015
From: lives in Canada

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis January 26th 2015

Geo: -17.7404, 168.321Our next stop was Port Vila on the island of Efate, Vanuatu's Capitol. As mentioned previously, Vanuatu was colonized by the French and English. Port Vila's was/is divided north (English) and south (French). It was colonized from 1906-1980. They drive on the right of the road, have no traffic lights and no speed limits. They are the friendliest and happiest people I have ever seen! I would say that of the 80 plus people we walked by in our travels during the day or the groups we passed in the bus, over 70% waved or said hello and smiled. It was brilliant and something missing from our lives at home in the city. Vanuatu is comprised of 84 islands and has approximately 270,000 inhabitants and 40,000 of those reside in Port Vila. Families select ... read more
Blaze of Red
1st Crossing
Unique Flora

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis January 25th 2015

Geo: -15.1333, 167.1After two easy days crossing the Coral Sea (compared to the Tasman), we were rewarded with a day at the beach! We anchored off the northeast shore of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu's largest island. The Republic of Vanuatu, formerly known as the New Hebrides, is made up by about a dozen significant islands and many smaller islands extending between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. Vanuatu obtained its independence in 1980 after some 74 years of joint rule by Britain and France.The ship's tenders shuttled us into a beautiful beach called Champagne Beach - named after the cold water springs that bubble out of the sands at low tide. You could see these springs released along the shoreline and feel the cool water in contrast to the warm sea water.The villagers from nearby Hog ... read more
Tenders Deploy
SS Mariner Tender
Tender en Route

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Brisbane January 22nd 2015

Geo: -27.4676, 153.028Our last stop in Australia before heading to the islands was Brisbane, the 3rd largest city at 2.5M. The City was named after the Brisbane River, which in turn was named after the Governor of New South Wales before splitting off as part of Queensland.The evening prior to arriving in Brisbane, we had dinner in the Compass Rose Restaurant on board. I selected the Canyon Ranch meal in an attempt to stem the probability of me becoming the average cruise passenger and gaining between .5 and 1.5 pounds per day! The main course was Kangaroo, so I asked the waiter if he had ever had it and what it was like. His response was classic - "Well, it is a lot like ostrich!" My reaction was thanks that helps me a lot - LOL!I ... read more
Mt Coot-Tha View
Selfie from Mt Coot-Tha
Brisbane from The Cliffs Lookout

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney January 20th 2015

Geo: -33.8671, 151.207The cruise has had a series of educational lectures in the theatre covering topics related to the locations and their history prior to our arrival in each port, so I have taken the opportunity to include some of the notes as this is a bit of a travel diary for Bonnie and I. I feel I am channeling my father (a little bit), as he was a massive history buff, particularly as it related to the British Empire and Scotland, so hopefully he is grinning above.Australia was circumnavigated by many early explorers including the Dutch (Janzsoon 1605-06), the Spanish, Vas de Torres (1770) and the Dutchman Tasman (1642) who discovered Tasmania or as named then - Anthoonij van Diemenslandt (Van Diemen's Land), who was the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies and sent Tasman ... read more
Sail In - Sydney Harbour Bridge
Rainy Vancouver Welcome to Sydney
National Maritime Museum

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne January 18th 2015

Geo: -37.8143, 144.963We arrived at Station Pier, the site of pretty well every immigrant's arrival to Melbourne. We did a relatively quick bus tour of Melbourne in the morning.We travelled through Port Melbourne, where most of the early industrial buildings have been gentrified, then along Port Phillip Bay to St Kilda, one of Melbourne's favourite areas. The houses are adorned with wrought iron railings and eaves - the iron served as ballast for the early ships. St. Kilda is a bit "rackist" (a bit of a red light district). It is the music heart of Melbourne and there are lots of restaurants. It was the hub of Jewish migration post war and very European in design, look and feel.Melbourne was settled in 1835, a good two generations after Sydney in 1788. The settlers were free by ... read more
Shrine Steps
Simpson & Donkey Gallipoli

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania » Hobart January 16th 2015

Geo: -42.8827, 147.33After we left Milford Sound we had two pretty rough days in the Tasman Sea. Despite the rough seas got a 5th workout in (1:41 and 1,067 cals). Dinner at Sette Mari, our first shared table, with a couple from New Jersey - Vern and Nancy (Financial/Life & Teacher). I posted on Facebook but will include Vern's comment here as well - "Aren't you folks a little young to be on this cruise? We thought you were the talent - either singers or dancers". LOL! Our 3rd day at sea, we did email, laundry and got massages at Canyon Ranch Spa. I caused the Canyon Spa reception desk some stress when I pressed a button in the steam room, which I thought was more heat, but was actually the emergency button!! I guess I ... read more
Port Of Hobart
Bonorong Tourists

Oceania » New Zealand January 13th 2015

Geo: -44.6684, 167.92Technically today was a sea day, one of three on the way from Dunedin, NZ to Hobart, Tasmania, AU - our next port. However, after travelling around the southern tip of NZ and back up the western coast of the south island, we entered Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord, but a spectacular one!!The drive from Dunedin is over 400 km and takes over 5 hours, past Invercargill on the Southern tip of New Zealand. The trip by sea was overnight.Milford Sound runs 15km inland from the Tasman Sea, otherwise known as the ditch amongst Aussies and Kiwis. Milford Sound draws between 500,000 and 1M visitors per year and is one of NZ's most visited tourist destinations, despite its remote location within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi Marine Reserve and Te Wahipounamu World Heritage ... read more
Head of Sound
Clouds on Rim
Stirling Falls

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Otago » Dunedin January 12th 2015

Geo: -45.8746, 170.503Was very excited to get to Dunedin which is in Otago Region of the Southern Island, which I first became aware of when travelling to Wellington years ago for work and was exposed to the Otago Highlanders in the elite rugby league.Dunedin is the 2nd largest city in NZ in terms of land mass next to Auckland and is the 7th largest city in terms of population (approximately 120,000), but is recognized as one of 4 main cities for historic, cultural and geographic reasons (plus Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) - 2 islands their main north and south cities. The maori name is Otepoti - the place beyond which one cannot go, where waka (canoes) had to be put ashore.Dunedin is the modified gaelic word for Edinburgh. Dùn Èideann. The Scots and English settlers arrived in ... read more
Happy "Southern Man"
Happy Rails
Parera House

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Timaru January 11th 2015

Geo: -44.3968, 171.25Today was a slow, lazy, unambitious day in Timaru. We cancelled our excursion, as the Botanical Gardens just didn't sound that motivating after a long day of 4x4's and jet boats.Timaru is close to midway between Christchurch and Dunedin and is thought to have been a stop off point for the Maori traveling down the east coast of NZ in the 1400's. Timaru is an agricultural service centre of approximately 30,000 people and was constructed on rolling hills created by lava flows from the extinct Mt Horrible volcano and the result is streets undulate; a clear contrast with the flat landscape of the Canterbury Plains to the north. This volcanic rock is used for the construction of local "bluestone" (grey or olivine basalt) buildings such as the Dunedin Railway Station.We walked into town, had ... read more
Caroline Beach
I'm Coming for You!

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa January 10th 2015

Geo: -43.806, 172.967As we glided in to anchor in Akaroa, I saw a school of small, darkish dolphins (possibly Hector's dolphins - endemic only to NZ) lazily swimming about alongside the ship. Akaroa means "long narrow harbour" and you can clearly see from a Google map that it resides in the centre of an extinct volcanic cone. Akaroa was adopted as the cruise ship harbour due to the port of Littleton (also a result of an extinct volcano), Christchurch's harbour port, being damaged and remaining out of commission since the earthquakes. Christchurch is 84km to the north. Akaroa is a sleepy little seaside town of 500 people that swells to 5,000 in summer. There are many "bach's" in Akaroa, bachelor pads. It was established in 1830's by the French and retains some of that heritage in ... read more
Mind Your Step
Tenders Head Out
Darfield Earthquake Shift

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