Friday, February 1, 2008

M/v Silver Whisper

Friday: Sydney Embarking Ship

I embarked M/v Silver Whisper early at 10:30 am. (This a perk of the number of days previously traveled on the line. The other is free laundry.) Most of the passengers are multiple repeaters. I've met quite a few folks who seem to know my name. Quite a few crew members remembered me and seemed to have forgotten details; so they were friendly. It is in many ways like coming home for me. The early boarding process allows for a nice lunch in the dining room with the other “old timers”. Thef mahi mahi was very nice white Burgundy with a duck breast appetizer salad. Just like my usual lunch at home. The Maitre d' is a former head waiter who I liked a lot, and he has already arranged for my custom Danish pastries each morning and milk free chocolate desserts each evening. At 5 pm I am hid in my cabin (actually it's called a "suite" as it is really two rooms) because I was informally exempted from the life boat drill. Go figure. But whoops, my door buzzer just rang. I thought I was busted. But it was a waiter who brought me caviar and blinis. A very taste snack. We sail out of Sydney Harbo(u)r in a half hour. I better finish my canapés and position myself at the bow to supervise. It's the same captain who I sailed with for the last two cruises; so I am expected to watch.

We sailed (electric motored?) at 6 pm. I failed to mention that as the caviar arrived, fearing the life boat drill transgression being discovered and getting a SOLAS violation being entered into my permanent record, I stood up quickly to answer the door buzzer and whacked my head on the edge of the TV. (They’ve replaced the old CRTs with LCD 16:9 sets; so everything is very short and fat. No one cares about geometric errors. Oh, what has happened to the world… But I digress.) The flat panel TV has sharp corners and one caught me above my left eye. The kid with the caviar pulled a band aid out of his pocket. Apparently caviar caused LCD injuries are common. The picture taken by a fellow guest as we sailed out should show clearly the band aid on my damaged head. I am recovering nicely and should not be an object of pity at dinner Saturday.

Saturday: Newcastle

Took the shuttle bus into town and asked to be dropped at the huge Anglican cathedral that dominates this town of 200,000. Newcastle is a two hour train ride from Sydney. I had considered taking the train here during my 3 night stay in Sydney and leaving myself a note, but the joke would have been hard to justify. Oh well. I did enjoy a 3 mile walk around the town, checking out some lovely surfing and bathing beaches, a group of sea scouts marching, and a funky shopping street where one can buy Aussie meat pies and strange looking lavender colored stuff, a specialty of here. Also lots of coal. Dozens of huge freighters anchored off shore waiting to be loaded to sail to Japan with coal. We sail at 6 pm for Guadalcanal, a 3 ½ day trip. I don’t look so scary as I’ve removed the band aid and discovered only a little scratch. Will wear my Mr. Potato Head tie as tonight is jacket with tie optional.

1 comment:

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