Rollin' On

Cruising out of Newcastle Harbour

Our day began early with the departure from home to Newcastle for boarding at 1.30 pm. Sydney was still in the grip of some very hot weather. We arrived in Newcastle at a delightful friend's place - there to find that a jertin was in the curtain, her name being Nora - and her father Matthew dropped us at the Wharf and will mind the car for the next 10 days.

Checking in! WOW - seriously hot and stacks of people but we made it eventually. The mix of 1900 (approx) people is most interesting.

On board at last!! A little cooler too. The Lido deck - where all the action was happening.
Heading out with the tug.

Very soggy and very windy but very happy - we are on another adventure - Yippee.

Chillin' on the decks
After a night's rest being lulled by the movement of the ship - apparently it was a little choppy outside and occasionally we had found ourselves walking in a wobbly line - we woke to a dark grey sea which was somewhat calmer and a grey blue sky. A fresh and cooler morning was very welcome but as the day cleared and I headed for the deck.

This was what today was all about! It was sooooo good.

Some of the colours of the day - including my lovely toenails.

As well as doing it tough on deck there was many a meal to consider - including High Tea. The hardest thing I did today was make a decision on the choice of food from the menu!!!

Just finding the right room.

Found it - just perfect.

Hello sunrise

Another day of action. I even made sunrise and I wasn't disappointed. Two birds just swooped and swooned catching the morning winds in front of the ship. You can just make them out in the picture. 

The day was spent just as it should have been - in various reading reposes.

To finish the day we were to partake in what is called Cocktail night. This proved to be the night of glamour in all it's guises - but the shoes, girls, the shoes!!! How high and just how much weight can be directed on one little point - the world of silly walks lives and all because of the glamour!!
Back in the cabin - an elephant on the bed.

Land Ahoy
Morning dawned and Noumea was on the horizon. A picturesque looking place which we were about to explore - unheeded by any tour plans we were just taking the plunge.
Arriving in Noumea.

A musical greeting on shore.

Sights of the city from the  ship.

At the bus stop. These women know colour and love the loose fit - so good in the heat!! And yes that is Ian in there too.

Taking the plunge - very refreshing.

Wet and salty but oh so much fresher - the humidity is tiring.

Images of the city.

Had a great day - the natural beauty of the place is in contrast to a tired looking city. 

Ship to Shore
 When a picture paints a thousand words......... Isle des Pins is a most picturesque and idyllic looking island. The colours of blue even Derwent may have trouble capturing!! A local group sang and danced on the pier as we arrived. 

Shimmering water - palms, pines and a foal.

Went snorkelling from here - lots of life in the sea grass.
Who needs a diving platform when this tree will do very nicely!

So much action - just need a little rest!

Colour, colour, colour and a few pine trees.

Another amazing day. Cruising with a small town around the Pacific continues to surprise me. Our movement onto this very small island was, at times, like being part of a swarm of bees moving in. So many people, so much buzzing - I hope the island and its people survive these swarming moments.

Once again we were greeted by some wildlife when we returned to the cabin - very cute.

Voyage of discovery

Departure on the mobile unit to land. 
Mission: discover many lifeforms and report back to the mother ship.

Destination Mystery Island - location somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. 

Known facts: This is an islet (a very small island). An airstrip was constructed there by the US military during WW2. As far as we can tell this islet has never been inhabited. 
Supervisor of the Mission - checking the pod as it leaves the mother ship.

Stage one of the mission - successful departure of the pod!

Contact with local visitors - means of transport interesting and effective.

Report: Supervisor taking to the water to investigate - Marine life abundant and colourful. Waters turbulent but manageable.

Report: Images of the surrounds for further investigation.

Report: Further investigation made and acquisition of local artefacts to be returned to the Mother ship.

Urgent report: Return to mother ship change of environment reported for Mystery Island.

Final report: Mission accomplished.  Pod docking with mother ship. Artefacts collected, reports made. Well done crew!

Port Vila - hot, hectic and humming.

Arrived on deck to greet the day and felt a wave of hot, very humid air. This was to be a day of investigating the local city and it was definitely going to be a hot investigation.

The line of vehicles and cheeky drivers awaiting our arrival. These were the only means to get into town and the calls from the fence of 'grasshopper' with offers of deals for their hire were our introduction to life at Port Vila.

Some views from the other side of the ship.

We managed to negotiate to join a family of four to make six of us needing a lift into town. This was an interesting run, more chug really, with the smells, sights and sounds of a city permeating the senses. 

The city, busy and hot but welcoming and engaging.

The local market. Colourful, noisy and aromatic.

That really is a green shopping bag!

At another market the women are stitching at their stalls - love the colour and creativity. Managed to spend some Vatu here.

We decided to walk back to the ship. Which was well worth the effort - hearing, seeing and smelling more of the surrounds. Finally walking past the market stalls set up at the wharf and spending the last our our Vatu. We lost count of the number of taxis that stopped to collect us - obviously in this city taxis do not ignore you!!

As the ship gets ready to leave the stall holders load their little boats with wares, chairs, and people and wave a cheerful tata to those of use standing on the deck.

Sailing out from Port Vila. Another rich and wonderful day.

A very happy pair!

Lifou Bozu (it's Kanak for Bonjour)
Another day of sun, sand and stunning underwater life. Lifou is another one of those beautiful Pacific Islands - part of New Caledonia and a coral atoll with an interesting vibe - well at least the little that we experienced today as part of the swarm that landed walked, swam and generally inhabited the space.

Looking across to the point there were two churches - I have no idea when the Missionary culture hit these Islands but the legacy is very evident.

Like most things on the various Islands this sign - which does explain the point we were visiting - was in a state of disrepair. 

In contrast to the broken sign the natural beauty of the place continued to be delightful.

Colour abundant in the market.
Some of the local wildlife.

The office - it even has computers and a printer. Great location.

Headed to the beach for a swim and snorkel - even being overcast the colours of the coral and fish were amazing - yellows, purples, greens...... WOW.

Colours of the ocean - many and varied.

A little musical offering from some of the local people - so tuneful.

Heading back to homebase - a slightly splashy ride back in the Tender.

Homebase didn't disappoint - food abounded and as usual it was delicious.

Sailing home

The last two days are sea days. This means lots of time to do nothing!!! Awesome!!! So the books are out and the only decision that need to be made is what to eat and when - tough - not

Just some of the food on offer.

We took the stairs to lunch - a little effort at least.

Doing it tough in the library.

Various views around the ship - this is where we thought we might take over the bridge and keep on sailing.

I really did make it outside today!

Some people made the effort and went swimming.
Our last sunset at sea - at least for now.

Yippee - what a fab 10 days - just breezing it up before we head for dinner.