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Published: March 8th 2018
SUNSET SAILAWAY FROM AUSTRALIA
It really was this dramatically beautiful.
This leisurely meander up the east coast of Australia combines five ports and five sea days and provides a good study of OZ. About 90% of towns and people are located around the coastal edges. The rest is a huge expanse of the Never-Never---as the Aborigines call the outback. This barren wasteland is but a cover for the vast mineral treasure chest which lies beneath its surface. These resources provide the fuel which feeds the economic engine of Australia. Author Bill Bryson noted that Australia is the only island that is a continent and the only continent that is a country, and what a unique country it is.
Brisbane is a city filled with towering building cranes heralding a growth boom along the Gold Coast. Spending a day in the quiet Whitsundays near the Great Barrier Reef is a welcome respite from the urban scene of the big cities. We find that visiting the smaller outposts like Hamilton Island, Townsville, Cairns and Darwin is like stepping back in time. With the hot weather, the pace is slower, the folks are friendlier, and the towns are more manageable. Each of these towns have built shore side pools, recreation facilities, water parks
HAMILTON ISLAND IN THE WHITSUNDAYS
Beautiful beaches and unspoiled green spaces.
and gardens that are open to the public. Many provide free shuttle buses and welcome committee volunteers who can answer any questions and give any directions. Because of the stingers, aka jellyfish, in order to go into the ocean it is necessary to wear a stinger suit for protection. For that reason we took advantage of the free salt water pools and in the process met lots of residents who expressed great interest and curiosity about us and our travels.
With the five sea days we had plenty of time to settle into our beautiful cabin and meet up with many friends and past cruising mates. Rose Anne and Jerry are the bridge instructors whom we have had the good fortune of cruising with many times. Bernadette is the talented arts and crafts leader. Hotel manager Norman and Cruise Director Fernando lead the staff in running a smooth operation on board. Mark Conroy, now the head of Silversea in the USA, has been making many upgrades to the Silversea product and it shows.
The first lecture we attended was given by Thomas Keneally, whose book “Schindler’s Ark” was made into the Steven Spielberg movie "Schindler’s List." This prolific
The man who wrote Oskar Schindler's heroic story that
would become the movie "Schindler's List" was our
delightful speaker and dinner guest along with his wife
writer is also a master storyteller. We spoke to Tom and his wife Judy after his lecture and ended up having many interesting get togethers throughout the cruise. A native Sydneysider, Mr Keneally has a wide range of interests and just the smallest tidbit of news or historical trivia has led to many of his book subjects. “Crimes of the Father” deals with the present problems that face the Catholic Church. “Commonwealth of Thieves” examines the settlement of Australia and the conflicts that ensued between the Aboriginals and the immigrants. As a sidelight, Tom and his daughter are now writing mysteries. Judy and Tom were a delight and we hope to see them again on our trips to the land Down Under.
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