Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wednesday 12th August
Another island in the sun – Bermuda. Not a lot here but it just breaths wealth. We didn’t visit any of the beaches which I believe have pink sand. The day is just too short. We bought a day pass for the bus and ferry, then took the Ferry up to the St George tip of the island, about 45 minutes ferry ride. All buildings both old and new have an old world appearance. You can have any colour roofing you like, so long as it’s white. All the buildings, both private residential and commercial, are painted in pastel colours – all very clean and well maintained. Most of the houses are surrounded by large, well maintained gardens. We had a walk around St George and then took the bus back inland to the city of Hamilton with lots of up market shops. We then took another ferry back to the ship and had lunch. The GD needed his afternoon nap, so I headed for the local market in an old stone storage shed. It was also a most fashionable market catering for the tourist trade, all air conditioned, but still rather expensive by comparison to home. There is another big ship in port along from us and there was another one up at St George. The waters are pristine and the people quite friendly. It has just turned 5pm and our ship is due to depart about now. They have been working on the faulty engine on the ship all day and the barge that has been pulled up at the aft end all day working on the ship has left so we hope we’ll have no more delays. We will now have a day at sea before arriving in New York about 7am on Friday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

sunraise at sea 12 August
we will be be birthing at Bermuda in about 1/2 hour, 8am local time Wednesday 12 August.
Sunday 9th – 11th August
All sea days with a variety of ship board activities. GD has been to a cooking class, I have been to my bridge playing and we have joined our friends at trivial pursuits. We’ve seen a show or two and a movie. I’ve actually played with some bridge players who know less than me, so I must be learning some of the finer points. The GD bought himself a big cookbook at his lesson and since he is the cook (sorry, chef) at our place, I can now expect some even more spectacular dinners than usual when we get home. Our ship is on go slow as the engine problem has only be partly rectified. This means we will not be docking at Bermuda at 6pm this evening as planed. The laws do not allow big vessels to navigate their channels into port during hours of darkness and we are about 4 hours behind schedule. We will now dock about 8am tomorrow morning. This has no effect on us personally but some people had tours to a huge market out of town this evening, so they will now miss out. Apparently whatever they need to repair the engine problem is waiting at Bermuda, thus a tender will go ashore this evening and pick up the necessary parts and work on the engine overnight. GD has gone off for a hair cut and then another cooking lesson and I’m off to my morning bridge lesson. Have a great day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday 8th August
Enjoyed an afternoon in Aruba (a Dutch holding until recently) in the Dutch Antillies. It’s a small very dry island with virtual cactus desert inland and beaches around the outskirts. Thus, we chose not to take a tour but just wandered around the city. It was a mecca for anyone wanting up market brands in cloths, accessories, jewelry, perfume etc.. Since we don’t want to have to pay excess on our return flight from Sydney to Brisbane, as we had to on the way down, we have kept our shopping to the bare minimum and basically only buying essentials, or consumables. We are allowed to bring two bottles of wine on board from each port to drink in our cabin. Back to Aruba – most of the older buildings are typically Dutch in appearance. It was very hot once you left the foreshore so we cooled down with a couple of ice cold Heinekens at the Renaissance pier after tramping around town, before returning to the ship. We were meant to sail at 7pm but one of the sideways thrust engines had an electrical problem so we were delayed. We finally left port around 10.30

Friday 7th August
Cartagena was quite a surprise. We hired a taxi for two hours, with another couple to see the highlights. The old city has a wall around it and a substantial number of the population still live there. A lot of the buildings are around 500 years old with lots of history and beautifully maintained. It has the distinctive Spanish look about it. Many old churches and other building such as the town hall and the local council building and would you believe it the original Hard Rock CafĂ©. The modern city (outside the walls) has lots of tall apartment blocks along the beaches. It’s rather a clean city with lots of little parks and gardens. There are armed guards everywhere but one doesn’t feel intimidated at all. The port area where we were docked was the usual greasy, busy trade port and probably deterred a lot of people on the ship from venturing further. There were also warnings of pick pockets etc. Those who didn’t go ashore and explore a little missed out on one of the most interesting places we have been so far.