2009 World Cruise – We had a day at sea between Sydney and Melbourne (pronounced Melbun), sailing through Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania, a section of water notorious for high seas – we, fortunately, were blessed with calm water.
Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia and the capital of the state of Victoria. It is consistently listed as one of the most livable cities in the world. The city was still suffering the affects of all the bush fires (over 180 people had died so far) and the air was very smokey; not a good thing for my asthmatic breathing. As it turned out I didn’t leave the ship for our tour as I had to see the ship’s doctor for a bladder infection. The infirmary is only open from 8-9 am and 5-6 pm.
Our tour to the kangaroo and koala sanctuaries left at 8:15. Once again John had to go alone. It was a very good thing I had the opportunity to pet a koala in Sydney or I would have been very upset. This excursion was actually a second-choice as our originally booked excursion (koalas and a visit to an old gold mine site where you could ride a stage coach) was cancelled due to low participation. I was not very happy about that as I really wanted to go on that one. But, not much you can do about it if not enough other people want to go.
John went off on tour, I saw the doctor and got some antibiotics, read my book, typed some email and stayed out of the smokey air.
The bus took them out of the city and through the grasslands of the Western Plains to an exclusive Open-Range Sanctuary in the You Yangs Range where they saw several koalas huddled in the crooks of tree branches. Later the bus drove out to Serendip Sanctuary where they had tea before going out to see the kangaroos. This cute koala was even awake in his tree perch. They live exclusively off the leaves of a few species of eucalyptus tree and rarely go to the ground. There is very little actual nutrition in the leaves so they are very low energy animals; sleeping about 20 hours per day. During the heat wave and subsequent bush fires there were many koala spotted on the ground getting some water from puddles or pools. Usually there is enough water in the eucalyptus leaves for their needs and they stay aloft in the trees. The tour group visited a billabong (water hole) and saw an emu, black swans and a large flock of Magpie Geese.And some Cape Breton Geese.
When he got back to the ship we decided to go for a walk along the shore. I put on my red and black charcoal-filled ‘bandit’ mask that I got from the fire department after the 2008 forest fires at home, and off we went exploring. It was nice to get out and walk around for awhile.
The ship sailed at 5:30, with another day at sea before we reach Adelaide. Australia, after all, is a big country. If you could pick it up you could lay it right over the continental United States and it would fit nicely coast to coast.
Our day at sea was Valentine’s Day; another formal night. As usual all the main lounges and the dining room and Pinnacle Grill restaurant were beautifully decorated. (Komang, one of the Assistant Dining Room Managers is in charge of all the decorating. He orders everything he needs and he and a few of the wait staff put it all up and take it all down.)
The Pinnacle Grill.