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Published: November 29th 2019
This leg of the journey is from Darwin to Airlie Beach, also known as the Whitsundays.
The next section of our journey is to sail from Darwin to Airlie Beach in Queensland. We will sail across the Gulf of Carpentaria and south of Papua New Guinea. At the closest point between PNG and Australia is a cluster of small islands, Thursday Island being probably one of the best know, but not the largest. Prince of Wales Island is the largest, but our cruise will pass a number of the Torres Straight islands including St Joseph's and Kiriri (Hammond) Islands.
It takes a couple of days to come around the top of the Northern Territory and cross the Gulf of Carpentaria. Unlike our flight to Singapore, this was calm sailing all the way as Pacific Dawn is actually a wonderfully stable ship even with winds and currents pushing her around. The top of the Northern Territory was night sailing, so no pics there.
The sea days once again were filled with lots of interesting lectures and activities. Did I forget to mention food? One of the lectures was by one of the founders of The Three Waiters. His personal journey included the transition from pop singer to operatic star in just a couple of months. His
Navigation Map on CC TV
During this journey we cross the Gulf of Carpinteria to Cape York.
secret tutor?? Kermit the Frog. He studied closely how Jim Henson controlled his vocal tones, and transitioned this into the Tenor style voice that is associated with the classical singers we love so much. These lectures included examples of his singing as well as the history of The Three Waiters that has gone on to be a world wide corporate entertainment success.
Talking of food, we discovered that at afternoon tea time there was a spot where, if you asked, you could get scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream to go with your coffee. These became rather popular with some. Can you identify the guilty hands in the photos below? One member of our group, either out of disgust or just not wanting his face in the photo, looked out the window with a very sombre look on his face. I cropped out his face, but if you know who wore a blue shirt, you will know who.
The sea days also give you a chance to get to know your crew members, and a little about their families. Our Cabin Stewards, Rocsil and Erwin were great and efficient workers, always smiling, always helpful. Rocsil, so young
Navigation Map on CC TV
Showing our path around the northern Islands including Thursday Island.
looking, is father to two children aged 6 and 16, while he looked only early 20s.
Melissa who served us several times in The Pantry, was a mum of 2. Her eldest, 5 years old, comes down to the wharf to greet her Mum whenever Dawn calls into her home town port. Melissa has also been chosen to move to one of the new ships shortly, so she will be missed on the Dawn. If your read this Melissa, I hope the transition goes smoothly for you. Safe sailing.
Sailing around the Torres Straight Islands, you cannot be anything but impressed with the brilliant aqua blue seas. The water is of course more shallow here, a fact that can slow down the production of fresh water for use on the ship. On this sailing, we did not get water restrictions, but if the water had become turbid, we would have to reduce shower times etc.
These islands have all sorts of infrastructure including ancient light houses contrasted with large wind turbines of the 21st century, as well as radio and communications towers high on the hills.
Once we passed Cape York and sailed down the North
Queensland coast, we witnessed several bush fires loading the sky with dense silvery smoke. Little did we know just how this summer would later unfold up and down Australia's east coast with devastating fires.
Airlie Beach is quite a picturesque town built on bush clad hills, beautiful harbour, magic palm lined beach, and the point of access to the Whitsunday Islands with the whitest beaches in the world. We have previously visited some of the islands of the reef, but not Airlie Beach itself, so we did a walk-about, shop-about, drink coffee about day, poking our noses into all sorts of places. The beach is truly beautiful golden sand, lined with palm trees and lots of shady places to sit and think.
There is one building, a private dwelling, which seemed out of place. The kind of mansion you would see somewhere in the Riviera, right on the waterfront of the harbour. Double gates so you can drive you million dollar cruiser in under the house for docking, and not to mention boat lifts for smaller craft. The house was built by a former TV chief executive, who later, went broke. After some years, new owners moved into
The Northern Islands
Bright aqua coloured waters around the islands
the grand home, but the locals know little of the details of the home.
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