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Published: March 24th 2014
Never heard of Willis Island? Don’t be too surprised because many of the Australians we talked to hadn’t heard of it either. But first things first.
This morning David got up early and went up to the Fitness Center to try out their equipment. Today he stuck to the treadmill and did a mile while watching the view out the front of the ship as it sailed ever northward. Then he went to the Promenade Deck and did 3 more laps around the ship before going back to the cabin.
Janet was up and after we both got cleaned up and dressed we went to breakfast in the Regency Room. Today’s special was something called a Farmer’s Breakfast. We both had this big breakfast, along with fruit, juice, and pastries. So we got our energy recharged for another day. However, Janet had trouble getting the waiter to bring her enough hot tea, so we went to the International Café for another pot of tea in a restful setting. We then went to the little shops on deck-6 of the Atrium and we got a CD from the classical trio we had seen previously in the
At 10:00 David went to a presentation about our port destination at Airlie Beach in a few days. We will be going to the Great Barrier Reef that day, but he heard about all the other things which could be done at this small resort area. Meanwhile Janet went to see what was available in a “3-hour bargain sale” – not much except a rainbow of different colored evening bags and tables of $15 watches (guaranteed to last until the end of the cruise L or you can get a replacement). Then she went to the Morning Trivia session and her team won a consolation prize for their original answers.
Back in our cabin, we had a chance to play our new CD on the laptop and be sure it worked well, which it did nicely. We listened to it until about Noon and then went up to the buffet for lunch. The ship’s location is approximately 16 degrees south latitude (you can look to see what might be the equivalent of 16 north) as we approach Willis Island. It is also about 85 degrees with a 10 knot breeze outdoors. So all
together it is fairly warm and we decided to have a light, cool lunch of fruit, salad, sandwiches and chips. Back at home everyone probably prefers a warm lunch, but today we wanted something cooler. J
We returned to our cabin about 1:00. They were having a TV replay of the session which David saw yesterday by the reef pilot, so Janet decided to watch it from the cabin and work on one of her projects. She found it to be as interesting as David did yesterday. Meanwhile the ship arrived at Willis Island and we did about an hour’s worth of scenic cruising past the island. A picture or two will be inserted and you will have seen everything there is to be seen here.
The reef pilot provided some information over the public address system. Willis Island is located several hundred miles east of Port Douglas in Australia. Its function had originally been to provide an early warning for the Australia mainland in the event of a cyclone. Satellite technology has provided better means of providing that warning, but the weather station is still staffed for local weather observations.
The pilot was able to talk to the weather station via radio and we could hear the conversation over the PA. The island is staffed by a crew of four (that’s the whole population of the island) who are there for a 6-month assignment. This particular crew has 2 weeks left before the replacements arrive and they can return to Australia. Each person is a volunteer (there must be some extra incentives for coming here) and some people actually volunteer again for a later assignment. They occasionally have cruise ships sail by, but any small boats (such as happened to be there today from somewhere) are forbidden to land on the island. Supplies are brought every 6 months of are air lifted to the station (their version of a Domino’s pizza delivery).
The Sun Princess was at the island for about an hour. It slowly rotated around so all sides would have a view of the island and then we headed west toward Port Douglas – our destination tomorrow. So why did we come all the way out here for this brief viewing? It qualifies within some Australian regulation which allows the ship to sell Duty Free products because they have technically gone to a destination outside of the territorial waters. Anyway, we fulfilled that regulation and then everyone went back to what they were doing previously (probably eating, sleeping, or splashing in the pool)
After that exhilarating excursion with Willis Island, Janet needed a short nap. David worked on today’s photos and then went up to the pool for a swim. The pool was packed and the sun deck had all the chairs pulled into the shade. It was actually too hot to be out this afternoon in the mid-day sun, so he got a cup of ice cream and went back to the cabin.
Janet had finished her nap and went to afternoon High Tea at 3:30. She considers this as one of the most enjoyable parts of Sea Days. She met some nice people from Sydney and another nice couple from Melbourne. She had some of their scones with clotted cream, cookies, and finger sandwiches along with several cups of tea. She came back to the cabin about 4:30 and we got ready for dinner.
After getting cleaned up in “smart casual”, we went back to the Atrium to listen to the Trio playing classical music again before they opened the doors for the First Seating at 5:45. We sat with an Australian couple who were very much into cruising, and we talked about our different cruises. They have only gone to places from Sydney, so they had more knowledge with this area and the Asian locations. We had a nice conversation while listening to the music.
We had the table to ourselves again, but we played a little musical chairs and swapped places – just for variety. Tonight was Italian night and the waiters were dressed in red & white striped shirts and the assistant waiters wore green & white striped shirts. Fortunately Janet had changed out of her green striped shirt or they might have expected her to serve something. The head waiter did a special pasta dish so the dining room smelled delicious. We both had prosciutto ham with melon as an appetizer. Janet had the special pasta as a salad and David had bean & pasta soup. For her entrée Janet had the veal scaloppini and David had beef in red wine sauce and a side order of the pasta. Dessert was an apple crepe in vanilla custard for Janet (called Crespelle Cipriani) and David had Tiramisu. It was another delicious dinner.
After dinner we went to the Princess Theater to watch a Comedy Magician (Phil “Trust Me” Cass). We had seen a magician on the first cruise, but his name was Adam Dean, so this was bound to be somebody different. We thought it was alright (not great but not bad). Afterwards we quickly dashed down to the other end of the ship to the Vista Lounge to see a Production Show (Country Jam). We had skipped this on the first cruise for some reason. It was really quite enjoyable.
Tomorrow we have an early meeting time, so we didn’t try to add anything more to our activities today, so that about wraps up events for today.
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