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Published: March 11th 2020
Let’s try again, sorry about the Gobbledegook! No idea what happened. Hers the blog, will try for photos tomorrow!
Wednesday 4th March, 2020
And into port again! This time we were docked about 40 mins from the actual town of Adelaide, out near the naval shipyards in an industrial area. Port Adelaide, the first settled area, was about 5-10 mins away, at the mouth of the Torrens River. Here there is still the feeling of a frontier town, with a lot of the old buildings, warehouses and hotels renovated.
Adelaide is on the South coast of Australia in South Australia, a state that is 4 times the size of UK, but a population of only half a million.
Darwin is 2096 miles north, Perth is 1690 miles west (38hrs by train), Sydney is 900 miles east and Melbourne 454 miles southeast.
It has a Mediterranean climate with warm to hot dry summers and cool to mild winters.
The first inhabitants of the area around present day Adelaide were the semi nomadic Kaurna Aborigines several thousand up years ago.
In 1697 Peter Nuyts m the Dutch explorer, mapped part of the local coastline but little happened until the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1802 an Englishman, Matthew Flinders and a Frenchman, Nicholas Baudin, met in Encounter bay whilst surveying the coast.
Captain Cook had sailed into Botany Bay in 1770 and promptly claimed the country for Britain. Eighteen years later the first convicts set foot on the east coast of Australia but the first settlers in S Australia were American sealers on Kangaroo Island.
Following favourable reports plans were made for free settlers to move into the area. HMS Buffalo and the first governor, Captain John Hindmarsh arrived at Glenelg on 28th December 1836. The new settlement was proclaimed under an unusually bent gum tree, which still stands.
Wife of the British monarch William IV. Many of the buildings date from the first 30 years of its existence
Agriculture and mining( silver, lead and copper) flourished and many migrants from Britain and Europe decided to take their chance in S Australia. In the 1860s Lutheran refugees arrived from Europe and and the German influence is very marked in the vine growing area of the Barossa valley and in the town ship of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills (more later).
We had booked a trip for Hahndorf on the 2nd day in Adelaide but planned to explore under our own steam the first day. We took the shuttle bus into the centre which dropped us off at Rundle Square and decided to take the tram out of the city to the seaside suburb of Adelaide called Glenelg. Public transport around the centre of the city is free but as we were going out of the centre roger did manage, with a bit of help from locals, to get the relevant tickets from the ticket machine on the tram. It took about 30 mins and the tram stop at the end of the line was practically on the beach. We thought there would be a promenade with cafes, bars, eateries, etc, but they were confined to the main streets and side streets. The sea front was mainly hotels. The beach was very wide with lovely sand and a pier/ jetty. There seemed to be a lot of big school kids around and as we went along the sea front it became obvious that there was an inter schools volleyball championship going on on the beach. We had some lunch at a Chinese cafe/ restaurant before a quick walk around and then caught the tram back to the centre, where we picked up the coach transfer to the ship.
We went to a movie later in the afternoon and then has a relaxing eve in the piano bar after supper listening to the live music.
Thursday 5th March
We set out for our trip to Hahndorf with another knowledgeable guide who was a fount of information, about the surrounding area as well as the town we were heading for.
Lots of wheat is exported from Adelaide including some to Ireland to make the ‘black stuff’!
There are large numbers of solar panels in S Australia, 1st in the world and the state can get 100% of its energy from renewable sources.
Upstate are some of the largest copper mines in the world.
Port Adelaide, the first settlement was at the mouth of a tidal river. It was swampy, wet, cold and infested with mosquitoes and the settlement was also known as Port Misery.
Australia is the oldest continent in the world and had a culture from 60,000 years ago or even double that time. The people came across from the N in boats, and it was likely there were 250 large groups with up to 750 tribes. In this area the group was called the Kaurha.
Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Australia in 1802 plotting maps of the coastline which have been used until recently. The Frenchman Boudin was doing the same.
Kangaroo Island was settled in 1806 by sealers and whalers.
In 1834 an act was passed that there should be Parklands all around the city. These should be just wider than a cannon ball could fly. These are still in existence today and mark the edge of the city. These wide open spaces are used for recreation, sports activities, even a car park for park and ride.
The roads run in a rectangular block, more EW than NS, protecting city from prevailing winds from the NS winds. S Australia is the driest sate but there is an artesian well under the state. Water in the city is recycled, purple water is used to water the parklands.
Hahndorf was founded in 1839 by 39 Lutheran families from Silesia in N Germany. The captain of the ship was called Captain Hahn, a Dane, and dry means a town, hence Hahndorf. The town is built in the typical style from Germany, u-shaped with a church at each end of the U. The town is in the Onkerparinga valley which is very fertile and is well known for its fruits, wines, chocolate and cheese.
On the way, after we had left the town we went to the highest point in the area to the top of Mount Lofty for a view of the town......which was covered in low cloud, but we got the idea!
The town is basically one street long, with typical German tourist shops and bars, beer and cheese advertised everywhere and German sausage of course. Roger was interested in the cuckoo clock shop so we headed for there. It was indeed fascinating and the craftsmanship was superb. The clocks were all on different times and so the was a continuous sound of the cuckoos! We looked in an Aboriginal art shop, which also proved to be very interesting. Really loved the artwork. We then had a rest in a nearby cafe, which turned out to be run by an Irish couple where we had some seafood chowder and Roger a Guinness before we headed off back to the coach.
Sail away today was at 5.30 and we had bought tickets for a cocktail and canapés party with the officers in the crows nest bar and on a foredeck not open to most passengers. There’s was certainly plenty of cocktails available, they just kept coming, but unfortunately, although it was a super view it was very windy and quite cool we didn’t stay that long and weaved our way down to supper!
(We’ve booked another for departing Freemantle next week! Hope it’s not so windy.)
The show this evening was the Ship’s Headliner Theatre company presenting Blame it on the Boogie, a celebration of 70s boogies!
Days 24 and 25
Friday 6th March, Saturday 7th Match, 2020
Friday the morning speaker was Sharon Davies, the Olympic swimmer and presenter. She was extremely personable and very entertaining to listen to. She has had an interesting life in sport and was very enthusiastic!
Had a pamper session, and pedicure booked to fill in some time.
Nathan Sinclair was playing his Flamenco music again in the afternoon so we went to the recital.
Weather not particularly warm, ok to sit in the Aquarius pool area where the ceiling was closed but not warm enough for me to sit out on the deck. However our balcony was sheltered from the wind so was able to read very cosily out there!
The evening performance was by Luke Burrage, an International Juggler and Entertainer. He was excellent. Very funny too and very entertaining as well as a superb juggler.
Saturday was much the same, Sharon Davies sharing her suggestions for a fitness regime, if you were fit enough to do it of course. We were on a heading of 270 degrees for practically the whole 2 days, crossing the Great Australian Bight. I was really into my Jeffrey Archer books and spent a good amount of time reading, instead of writing up the blog. Again it was sunny although not that warm on the decks. However our cabin’s balcony was beautifully protected from the wind and faced the sun so while Roger had a siesta I read and dozed in the sunshine.
The evening entertainment was Elektra, the 2 superb violinists. We succumbed to buying a CD, especially as Ashokan Lament was in it , one of Roger’s favourite pieces of music.
Sunday 8th March, 2020
We arrived more or less on time, gangway ready to access just after 8.30 and were read to go. We had booked a Calgon River cruise and boarded the bus for the 20 min transfer to Emu point and Oyster Bay for our flat bottomed boat.
Albany - never heard of it!
It’s on the SW corner of Western Australia., 418 km SE of Perth. It is located on the northern shore of one of the world’s largest natural harbours, King George Sound, ( 2nd in Australia, 6th in world) and is regarded as one of the most attractive places in Australia.
Before European settlement the Great Southern was the traditional home of the Mina Noonar people. Evidence of aboriginal presence in the area dates back about 25,000 years.
The first European siting of what was to become the Albany region was attributed toPeter Nuyts from the Gulden Zeepard in 1627. In 1791 George Vancouver and his party claimed New Holland ( which later became Western Australia) as a British possession and named King George iII Sound.
After Vancouver’s visit there were several French expeditions to the area one of whom was Boudin. These were paralleled by a range of British expeditions and voyages, most notable of which are probably those of Charles Darwin in the Beagle and Matthew Flimders in The Investigatorr.
The British government ordered a settlement to be founded in King George III Sound in part to prevent the French establishing a hold on the. Australian continent, but mainly because of growing dissatisfaction with the convict settle,went Ian Port Macquarie in New South Wales.
The first settlers, a small detachment of soldiers and a working party of convicts under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer, arrived on Christmas Day 1826, when the 142 ton brig Amity entered the harbour from Sydney.
The new settlement was named Fredrickstown, after the second son of King George 111 but was known as Albany from 1832.
In the 19th century Albany was a major port, an important whaling base and a coaling station for steam ships. After dealing in the early 20h century, Albany is once again a thriving port, although whale hunting finally ended in 1978.
The city is also a significant regional centre and is surrounded by good agricultural land.
Albany Is a small city and many places of interest are within a small radius of the town centre.
There are a number of 19th century buildings of note including - St. John’s Anglican Church(1848): the old Post Office( 1870.), Albany Town Hall (1886) and the Old Railway Station (1889) .
The Main Street, York Street, runs N-S which means rather chilly winds in the winter which come directly from Antarctica, ( Antarctica is closer than Sydney!).Spring and autumn climates are very pleasant but summer can get up into the 40s.
There were several tours available, some excellent wineries in the area, one of which has organic wines of a high quality, visited fairly recently by Prince Charles and Camilla.
One of the most important memorials is the Anzac Peace Park which overlooks Princess Harbour, from where all the Australian and New Zealand fleet departed for Gallipoli, Jerusalem and France in 1914, over 41,000 troops. Albany was their last sight of their homeland for many. They took with them 20,000 horses, only one of which came back to Australia. He was called Ben and completed his days as a police horse.
We were deposited at the harbour and boarded our boat surrounded by pelicans! Jack, our captain was a fascinating person who didn’t stop talking about the wildlife, the ecology, the history, etc of the bay. There is a giant stingray that comes into the harbour every day - Jack feeds it breakfast! The boat had a glass bottomed section about 6 feet by 3 feet which was filled with a view of the fish.
We were not quite sure what to expect on the 4 hr trip but we certainly got our money’s worth. The pelicans escorted the boat out into the bay and we soon discovered why - Jack had a box full of fish!
Pelicans can live a long time, sometimes breeding up to 3 times a year but often only one of the normally 3 chicks will mature to adulthood. When they are born they look like a prehistoric pink blob of skin and bone. Within 3 weeks they become a white ball of fluff and then by 3 months they are fully grown although don’t get their mature black and white plumage for some time. Jack was so familiar with the pelicans having rescued a chick from some fishing wire 19 years ago and nursed it back to health , keeping it in their bath!
He called it Percy, as he really didn’t know about sexing a pelican, but later discovered she was female, who continues with the name Percy so as not to give her an identity crisis! In fact female pelicans are smaller than the male ones and they can live 40 years or more.
Percy did tricks. She would catch fish thrown into the air, she would do a twirl in the water and ‘dance’ for a fish! I suppose animals/ creatures will do almost anything for food.
A white Sea eagle appeared and then a pair of ospreys. How lucky were we to see these magnificent birds flying so close to us. The box of fish appeared again and Jack tried to get the escort of pelicans on one side so that he could throw some fish for the osprey on the other side!
We passed by Green Island, the first cottage garden of the state. The pelicans nest there and it is covered in guana, pelican poo, and very rich in nutrients. One of the convicts of the first settlers was given the job of growing fresh vegetables there and used to row out each day to tend to his garden.
Jack pointed out several Norfolk Pines growing on the sides of the bay. They are not indigenous to Australia. They grow wherever sailing ships used to travel to, seeds planted by the sailors. Jack suggested we look around at the local trees, any ideas why the sailors planted the pines? Of course, for a new mast! The local trees were not very tall, whereas the pine trees were tall and straight, perfect for a mast if a ship had lost theirs. Although it was quite soft wood, 2 or 3 of these trunks strapped together would get the ship to where she needed to go for proper repairs. Sailors would plant more seeds as they cut down a tree.
Jack took us over to the far side of the bay where he drifted over a wreck, with our flat bottomed glass plates we could see the spars of the hull in about 2 to 3 feet of water amongst the sea grass. After exploring the bay, still escorted by the pelicans, we headed towards the mouth of the River Calgon.
The Silver Star had been the first boat to cruise the river in 1918 although Boudin, the Frenchman, had travelled along the river in the early 1800s. In 1913 a bridge was constructed across the river with a span of over 550 feet, the 2nd longest in Australia at that time. The present bridge is newer as the centre part of the original bridge collapsed. They discovered that barnacles had been growing on the timbers of the bridge and fish had been nibbling them off including bits of the wood, hence weakening it!
Along the river we saw more birds, cormorants and pointer birds. Pointer birds were so named as when they were swimming in the water all you can see is their head, pointing out of the water.
Jack then told us the story about an island in the middle of the river, which made an elbow either side, called, yes, Elbow Island. There was a couple who visited the island, where there were 2 pines. They got married and had a daughter. Another pine began to grow. The husband died and one of the trees was hit by lightening and died although part did regenerate and begin to grow crookedly. When the wife dies the second tree died too. He said he was telling this story one day when he was interrupted by a lady on the trip about 10 years ago. She asked him if he knew what happened next. She said she did as she was that child and her name was Patricia and she lived locally. She went on several trips with him. About 7 years ago he heard that she had died and the third pine tree died too.
I saw what I thought to begin with was what looked like the head of one of the pointer birds swimming across the river. On closer inspection I thought it looked like a snake. Jack noticed it too just then and said it was a tiger snake! He slowed the boat down so we could all watch it and told about them. One of the most dangerous snakes in Australia, if you get bitten and try to run for help you have about 10 mins to live. However, the aborigines had learned that you have to slow down your body to slow down the heart. Even to burying the whole body in sand so that it can’t move. This way you were more likely to survive. Jack said he sees one only once or twice a year so we were really lucky.
We turned round soon after that and Jack pointed out an ospreys nest in one of the trees in a group we were passing. Ospreys nests are called stacks and each year the same birds return to their nest and build it up on top of the previous years.
We stopped at a campsite on the way back to use the facilities and take a ride in the back of a trailer to see some grey kangaroos in the park grounds.
We saw more cormorants on the riverside and Jack said that they were a native to Australia, the same cormorants that the Chinese fishermen use to help them catch fish. There is evidence that the Chinese were in Australia 600 years ago, long before the Europeans came. Remains of a ship has been found that was about 500 feet long and much more sophisticated than Captain Cooks vessel 300 years later. The Chinese took cormorants back with them. They did not stay here as they felt it was unlucky and took themselves back to China, eradicating most evidence of their being here( but not all).
On our final part of the return journey Jack provided everyone with a ‘billy’ of tea or coffee and a piece or two of damper bread, unleavened, that his mum had made. It was still warm and very tasty. See albanyaustralia.com for recipe!
He then regaled us with various idioms related to the convicts time. Eg, the top dog was the convict who worked at the top of a tree sawing logs, while the under dog was the one at the bottom covered in sawdust! Anyone who upset the overseers would let the cat out of the bag - the cat o’ nine tails. If a worker was given the sack, he would take his tools away in a sack. A man had the right to keep his family under the thumb - could whack them with a rod so long as it was no wider than the width of his thumb.
What a fascinating guy he was.
We arrived back in the harbour for our transfer back to the ship, where we had lunch and a siesta.
We sailed at 5.30, heading for Freemantle and Perth on Tuesday for 2 days.
The evenings entertainment was Danielle Matthews, an Australian young lady who sang songs of Shirley Bassey very well.
Monday 9th March, 2020
We were turning the corner today, heading north for Freemantle and Perth, our last ports before we headed off across the Indian Ocean we thought! We still had no confirmation about our next destination of hopefully Colombo in Sri Lanka. My friend, Rupika, who we were hoping to see, had emailed several days again to say that ships were not being allowed to dock. She was devastated as we had been looking forward to see her since we booked the trip. Our hopes were dashed later in the day when the captain finally confirmed that although we had to go to Colombo to refuel, it would be a technical stop and no one would be allowed to get off. It is hopeful that we are still heading for Dubai and Muscat after that but still not 100% certain.
During the morning Roger went to an architecture lecture and I went to write the blog on the sun deck.
The weather was getting warmer as we were getting further north with a predicted low 20s.
The film looked fun - Ode to Joy - with Matin Freeman I. So we went along in the afternoon. In the evening we went to the theatre to see Benjamin Makisi, a Polynesian New Zealander now living near Bristol I’m UK! He is a tenor, with a fabulously strong voice. Had done his operatic training in Italy. Sang songs from the theatre, films, Moauri songs, opera and had a nice personality, very good entertainment.
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