Arcadia 2013

Monday April 15th 2013

Latitude: Changeable!
Longitude: Changeable!
Course: North, then East
Speed: Variable
Status: After an easy disembarkation yesterday it was a good idea for me to stay overnight in Southampton. The next stage of this adventure was by train, back to Leicester where a good friend gave me a lift home. She also suggested a visit to a nearby supermarket for essential supplies, which was an excellent idea. I got a hand with unpacking, too… I’ve started the washing already!!! It did feel strange being back on dry land after all this time, especially sleeping in a bed that stayed perfectly still all night!!!

Sunday April 14th
Latitude/Longitude: 50,54,18N/1,25,42W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 100 – Docked, Southampton
Notes: Arcadia was securely docked by 7.00am and those passengers capable of carrying their own luggage were allowed to disembark. The rest of us had to wait until our pre-determined time – mine was not until around 10.30am. However, all passengers were asked to vacate their cabins by 8.00am in order to facilitate cleaning and preparation for the new passengers joining for the next cruise. For the staff there was no time to rest, these new people would come on board from about mid-day! I was able to disembark more quickly and easily than I had expected, I was off the ship at 10.10am. I walked straight through Customs, found my cases fairly easily and then joined the queue for taxis. Again I was not waiting long, although some other passengers were complaining – though it can be stressful if you’re not sure exactly where you are going… Soon I was at a nearby hotel where I left my cases etc and walked across the road to the nearby shopping centre for coffee. A while later I walked to the train station and purchased my ticket for tomorrow. After lunch I window-shopped then returned to the hotel. I cannot buy any more items, my cases have no spare space! I return to Leicester tomorrow.

Saturday April 13th
Latitude/Longitude: 48,17,24N/7,34,12W
Course: 55 degrees
Speed: 16 knots
Status: Day 99 – at sea
Notes: By mid-day today, Arcadia was about forty miles south of the Lizard. Unfortunately, weather conditions meant that there wasn’t much to see as it is raining, with a heavy mist. The third officer has advised that the harbour pilot should be on board tomorrow at around 3.00am – I doubt if I shall be on deck to watch, as it will be a bit dark then! All being well Arcadia will be on its berth in Southampton for around 6.00am. I had hoped that, as we got closer to shore, I would pick up a land-based mobile signal, rather than using the ship network. However, by around 8.00pm Arcadia was definitely in the English Channel, and whilst my mobile could recognise local networks, I could not connect to the one I needed. Perhaps later… I have also now experienced a further aspect of sea travel – fog! The ship’s siren is sounding regularly, I wonder if any passengers will complain at the noise?!?!?!?!?! Just joking…

Friday April 12th
Latitude/Longitude: 44,24,42N/15,15,30W
Course: 52 degrees
Speed: 16.4 knots
Status: Day 98 – at sea
Notes: It was overcast first thing, with temperatures continuing to slowly fall – at 8.00am it was 13C, 55F. Dropping gradually like this does make it easier to cope with. Somehow it doesn’t feel that cold – although I know there are those who would disagree with me!

Thursday April 11th
Latitude/Longitude: 39,51,24N/22,16,12W
Course: 42 degrees
Speed: 15.4 knots
Status: Day 97 – at sea
Notes: I have been successfully immigrated! To save time when Arcadia reaches Southampton, a UK Immigration officer came aboard at Ponta Delgada and will complete an organised, face-to-face inspection of all 2,000 or so passengers against their passports. It is a very good idea, as it will still take time to get off the ship and go through Customs – or is that UK Border Control these days? I think the name has been changed, or will be… whatever. The sun is shining and the wave height is around four metres, according to the bridge, so in their words, the ship is ‘moving around a little…’. I would say that is an economic way of phrasing it!!! All passengers have therefore been asked to take care when moving around the ship. It was like that last night, but after a while I got to sleep. I’m just about used to it by now, I wonder how I’ll manage when I am back home, where the ground stays still – or should do! It will feel strange for a while, I guess.

Wednesday April 10th
Latitude/Longitude: 37,44,12N/25,39,42W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 96 – Docked, Ponta Delgada
Notes: Arcadia was docked by around 7.30am. It is raining at the moment and seeing the green grass, wet roads and lower temperatures here is getting me prepared for when I return to the UK in a few days!!!

Tuesday April 9th
Latitude/Longitude: 34,25,30N/32,11,24W
Course: 59 degrees
Speed: 18.2 knots
Status: Day 95 – at sea
Notes: At 8.00am the sky was overcast, the wind was south-westerly force 6, the temperature was 18C, 64F and there was a moderate sea state with an average to low swell. At noon, local time, Arcadia’s clocks were put forward one hour to GMT, putting us in line with Ponta Delgada and one hour behind London time of BST.

Monday April 8th
Latitude/Longitude: 30,9,42N/39,15,36W
Course: 53 degrees
Speed: 18.4 knots
Status: Day 94 – at sea
Notes: It is clear that we are moving in a north-easterly direction, as early morning temperatures are definitely dropping. Today at around 8.00am it was 19C, 66F – the lowest I think it has been for quite a while! Im getting used to it though, ready for my return home.

Sunday April 7th
Latitude/Longitude: 25,32,0N/45,45,12W
Course: 47 degrees
Speed: 18.4 knots
Status: Day 93 – at sea
Notes: A bright, sunny day with the outside temperature at 8.00am already at 22C, 72F. I am happy that Arcadia is moving gradually towards cooler areas though, as it will make things easier for me to get used to UK weather again!

Saturday April 6th
Latitude/Longitude: 20,54,36N/51,26,36W
Course: 47 degrees
Speed: 17.5 knots
Status: Day 92 – at sea
Notes: The last time I was in this area of latitude was January 10th, and I have travelled quite a few miles since then. I will try and establish how many!!! Our clocks went forward again at mid-day, putting us just two hours behind GMT and three hours behind current UK time. We are catching up! This time-travel is tiring though…

Friday April 5th
Latitude/Longitude: 16,6,48N/56,36,30W
Course: 45 degrees
Speed: 18 knots
Status: Day 91 – at sea
Notes: A quiet day was planned, especially after the lovely, busy days in Curaçao and Barbados. Already the temperatures are dropping as we head north-east, but I am hoping that the gradual change will allow an easier acclimatisation to the cooler conditions currently being experienced back home! Even so, it was still 25C, 77F at 7.30am. At mid-day today the ships clocks were put forward one hour, putting us to GMT-3.

Thursday April 4th
Latitude/Longitude: 13,6,6N/59,37,42W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 90 – Docked, Bridgetown, Barbados
Notes: A warm day! At 8.00am the temperature was 27C, 81F and forecast for higher levels. The sky is almost clear of cloud and is a lovely blue, there is a slight wind but nothing like it has been. I have been busy charging up the batteries on my phone and camera as I may need them both today.

Wednesday April 3rd
Latitude/Longitude: 12,30,6N/65,21,42W
Course: 82 degrees
Speed: 16.8 knots
Status: Day 89 – at sea
Notes: Crossing the Caribbean, the seas have calmed a little since yesterday although we still have a ‘moderate’ sea state, force seven winds and an average to moderate swell. Occasional showers are forecast but that hasn’t stopped many passengers sunbathing on the open decks!

Tuesday April 2nd
Latitude/Longitude: 12,6,36N/68,56,0W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 88 – Docked, Willemstad, Curaçao
Notes: Arcadia arrived here at abound 8.00am and the pre-arranged tours were soon on their way. I had a relaxed breakfast, then walked ashore and into the town. It was hot, but a breeze kept things fairly cool. I found the McDonalds that was widely advertised but it was extremely crowded and sadly the free Wifi advertised there was not working. I will wait until our next port of call, Barbados, and try to find a free Wifi there instead. By lunchtime, temperatures were up to 30C, 86F so I had coffee and biscuits in a Subway shop and then headed back to the ship. Temperatures were still the same by mid-afternoon, and the strong wind was deceptive and I think some may be caught out by the heat… The swing bridge they have here is entertaining – if a ship wishes to pass through then they simply close the bridge to new pedestrians and the whole bridge pivots from one end, still with people on the bridge! The ship passes through, the bridge pivots back to its normal position and pedestrian access is restored! If you’re on the bridge when it pivots, then you move with it. When Arcadia left the port, the swing bridge had to be opened fully – but the tug being used to move us off the berth had a problem with its towing rope. This was soon sorted out, but in the meantime the pedestrian bridge was left open. Even after we had left the port the bridge had not been put back for pedestrian use as the pilot boat had to return.

Monday April 1st
Latitude/Longitude: 11,16,6N/75,19,30W
Course: 71 degrees
Speed: 17.5 knots
Status: Day 87 – at sea
Notes: It amazes me how the weather and the sea can change so quickly at times – today we have rough seas, force eight winds but still with sunny skies!!! Most people, including me, have been taking it easy today. We arrive at the island of Curaçao tomorrow.

Sunday March 31st
Latitude/Longitude: 8,59,36N/79,35,18W
Course: 225 degrees
Speed: 0.3 knots
Status: Day 86 – Traversing the Panama Canal
Notes: Arcadia started through at around 8.00am, guided through each lock by ‘mules’, the name given to the trains that help pull ships through each lock. Another cruise ship, the Island Princess, preceded Arcadia through. The transit was completed by around 2.00pm. It was very hot though, at least 28C, 82F, with a high humidity. I have discovered it is high humidity which tires me out!

Saturday March 30th
Latitude/Longitude: 8,48,36N/84,54,36W
Course: 122 degrees
Speed: 21.1 knots
Status: Day 85 – at sea
Notes: It never ceases to amaze me how the sea conditions can change, sometimes in a short time. The captain had warned that Thursday night into Friday morning might be a little rough, also windy, but it wasn’t too bad at all – certainly nothing like the night before San Francisco! Now there is sunshine, light cloud and almost no swell at all, not completely flat calm but almost! Tomorrow morning Arcadia starts its journey through the Panama Canal, I think at around 8.00am local time, around 2.00pm UK time, taking into account that their clocks will have gone forward to British Summer Time. There’s a website worth looking at, http://www.pancanal.com with free webcams to watch Arcadia as we go through!

Friday March 29th
Latitude/Longitude: 13,5,6N/91,47,12W
Course: 122 degrees
Speed: 21.4 knots
Status: Day 84 – at sea
Notes: Arcadia is currently off the coast of Guatemala, the weather is good although a little windy. At 8.00am temperatures were 28C, 82F. It really doesn’t feel like Good Friday here but it is! No sign of any hot cross buns…

Thursday March 28th
Latitude/Longitude: 15,45,12N/96,7,48W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 83 – Docked, Huatalco, Mexico
Notes: A lovely hot day, clear skies, bright sunshine! But at this latitude and location, that is perfectly normal! The next event on this adventure will be traversing the Panama Canal, which will be on Sunday. I hope to post more details of this, as with any luck the canal web cams will be working!

Wednesday March 27th
Latitude/Longitude: 17,35,30N/102,29,48W
Course: 113 degrees
Speed: 18.6 knots
Status: Day 82 – at sea
Notes: Arcadia is catching up with UK time as we head closer to Southampton. At mid-day today the ship’s clocks went forward one hour, making us six hours behind the current time in London. However, next Sunday morning the UK will change to summer time, putting their clocks forward one hour. We will not do that just yet as we have a few more local ports to visit, and time zones to traverse!

Tuesday March 26th
Latitude/Longitude: 21,49,12N/109,21,6W
Course: 124 degrees
Speed: 19.6 knots
Status: Day 81 – at sea
Notes: A quiet, relaxing day for me with a lovely calm sea, sunshine but not too hot. I managed to sleep quite well last night too!

Monday March 25th
Latitude/Longitude: 27,16,48N/115,10,30W
Course: 142 degrees
Speed: 19.8 knots
Status: Day 80 – at sea
Notes: Arcadia is heading towards our next port of call in Mexico. The weather is good, the seas calm and everybody, including me, is happy for that. It is getting warmer again too… Today is the eightieth day of my journey but I haven’t managed to get all around the world quite yet. I have another twenty days to go, but I have been stopping at a few places…

Sunday March 24th
Latitude/Longitude: 33,51,30N/120,58,12W
Course: 153 degrees
Speed: 21.1 knots
Status: Day 79 – at sea
Notes: After a much needed and restful sleep, I am feeling better. My cold has about gone and the cough I usually get is gradually clearing. The sun is shining, the skies are clear and it is a beautiful day, but very different weather conditions to those back home at the moment.

Saturday March 23rd
Latitude/Longitude: 37,48,30N/122,24,24W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 78 – Docked, San Francisco
Notes: A much better day for me. Overnight I caught up on some sleep and today I met up with some friends who, with their children, treated me to a lovely guided tour of the city, followed by some lunch. I then bought a couple of items at a nearby clothing store, and headed back to the ship, as I was tired. All passengers were required to be back on board by 5.00pm, ready for the mandatory safety drill. This was especially needed as we had new passengers on board.

Friday March 22nd
Latitude/Longitude: 37,48,30N/122,24,24W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 77 – Docked, San Francisco
Notes: Well, I can tell you that the ship’s third officer was correct – last night the sea was indeed a great deal rougher than I think I’ve experienced on this journey so far. The winds were up to force nine or ten at times. Given that I was trying to get rid of a cold, a good night’s sleep would have helped…ah well. From the conversations of other passengers, very few of us slept much last night! I was booked on a short tour today, but instead I rested as much as possible. I’m still not totally recovered, but I am better. I took some photos of the sun as it set behind the Golden Gate Bridge, as that really lived up to its name!

Thursday March 21st
Latitude/Longitude: 35,7,42N/130,47,36W
Course: 64 degrees
Speed: 20.9 knots
Status: Day 76 – at sea
Notes: A very quiet day for me, I am sincerely hoping that my cold will have cleared up by the time we reach San Francisco tomorrow. The ship’s clocks have been advanced yet again to GMT-7, ready for our arrival there. During the regular mid-day briefing, the third officer advised that the seas may be rougher this evening!

Wednesday March 20th
Latitude/Longitude: 31,33,42N/139,32,24W
Course: 61 degrees
Speed: 21.9 knots
Status: Day 75 – at sea
Notes: A quiet day, although there was a school of dolphins that passed by on our port side at around 9.30am. The sun is shining and the temperature is around 16C, 61F. Decidedly cooler now as we head towards San Francisco. Our clocks went forward one hour and this will occur again tomorrow. I am taking things easy for a couple of days because, sadly, some bright spark sneezed near me the other day without covering their nose or mouth, so I have a cold. Thank you very much – not what I needed right now!

Tuesday March 19th
Latitude/Longitude: 27,29,42N/147,31,48W
Course: 56 degrees
Speed: 22.1 knots
Status: Day 74 – at sea
Notes: A bright and sunny day at 8.00am, the temperature was 20C, 68F with a westerly force two wind. We still have a way to travel before reaching the west coast of North America though! As you will see, temperatures are dropping slightly now. Some passengers are not so happy about this, but for me these conditions are better. The ships clocks went forward one hour at mid-day, making us nine hours behind UK time.

Monday March 18th
Latitude/Longitude: 22,37,0N/155,31,18W
Course: 56 degrees
Speed: 20.4 knots
Status: Day 73 – at sea
Notes: After a very busy day yesterday I took things fairly easy today. The next port of call is San Francisco in a few days time. The weather has been good, but temperatures are nowhere near as high as they have been! The sea has been relatively calm, too.

Sunday March 17th
Latitude/Longitude: 21,18,13N/157,51,51W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 72 – Docked, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Notes: A very special day – I celebrated my sixtieth birthday today! I went on a special tour in the morning which took me to Waikiki beach, where I walked for a while until my tour boat was ready. The tour boat then took me out to a submarine, where I and around thirty or so others went on board and we dived to around one hundred feet below the surface. The views were amazing, the water was extremely clear, it was very special. We then surfaced, and the tour boat returned us to shore. Whilst on the tour boat, some of us saw a whale as it surfaced – I managed to get a photo of it, although it was quite a distance away! On the way back to the ship I stopped off at the Ala Moana shopping centre and did some retail therapy, including a visit to the Apple store! I returned to the ship and in the evening, had a lovely meal in one of the specialist restaurants on board. I was tired by the end of the day, but it had been a lovely birthday!

Saturday March 16th
Latitude/Longitude: 14,42,30N/160,34,12W
Course: 23 degrees
Speed: 20.5 knots
Status: Day 71 – at sea
Notes: A sunny day, with temperatures up to 25C,77F by 8:00am. Something I ate yesterday clearly didn’t agree with me, I was unwell during the early hours of this morning but am fine now. I will be having light meals for a day or so though, to allow my system to settle!

Friday March 15th
Latitude/Longitude: 6,10,0N/163,56,24W
Course: 24 degrees
Speed: 20.9 knots
Status: Day 70 – at sea
Notes: First thing this morning the skies were overcast, but by mid-day they had cleared a great deal to give sunshine and some blue patches! As a result, the sea is a brighter blue, although a little choppy. The ship is rocking around a little, but nothing like it has been in some places!

Thursday March 14th(2)
Latitude/Longitude: 1,31,6S/166,55,30W
Course: 21 degrees
Speed: 19.9 knots
Status: Day 69 – at sea
Notes: The clocks went back by twenty-four hours this morning, as we had crossed the International Dateline. We re-live March 14th again! At 1:00pm we crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere, on our way to Hawaii, our next port of call. Naturally it is hot at the moment, at 8.00am it was 26C, 79F.

Thursday March 14th(1)
Latitude/Longitude: 9,2,6S/169,51,12W
Course: 21 degrees
Speed: 20.8 knots
Status: Day 68 – at sea
Notes: It is a bright, sunny day with relatively calm seas. Even at 7.30am the temperature was 27C, 81F but that is not surprising, as we are almost on the equator itself! Tonight Arcadia crosses the International Dateline again, going back in time so we will live the 14th March all over again. This aligns us with Hawaii and means we will have no further date adjustments to make during the journey back to Southampton, just the appropriate time zone changes – one hour every fifteen degrees of longitude. Also, this morning as I watched the news, a new Pope was elected – Pope Francis.

Wednesday March 13th
Latitude/Longitude: 13,49,36S/171,45,42W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 67 – docked, Apia, Samoa
Notes: As you can clearly see from the latitude and longitude numbers, we are not too far from Pago Pago. However, we have leapt forward in time again! We are therefore fourteen hours ahead of UK time, instead of eleven hours behind. This will change again – very soon… It is extremely hot here, for me, anyway, but I am used to living in a temperate zone, not equatorial. At around 11.30am local time today the temperature was 29C,84F.

Tuesday March 12th
Notes: Because we crossed the International Dateline, this day did not exist for us!

Monday March 11th
Latitude/Longitude: 14,16,36S/170,41,18W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 66 – docked, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Notes: Today we have blue skies, some cloud, bright sunshine and at around 10.00am the temperatures were about 28C, 82F. There are a few tours of the island taking place, but many people are looking around Pago Pago on their own. The ship is docked opposite the entrance to the port and around a dozen stalls that have been set up there by the locals to sell their wares. This means that everyone has to walk past these stalls in order to exit the port! At around 10.00am an exercise drill was carried out by the crew, including the sounding of ship alarms. However, I know that there is only one alarm signal that passengers have to respond to – the rest we can ignore. This is a working port, so adjacent to the passenger exit there are a great many containers. It still fascinates me how the containers are lifted on and off lorries so easily and accurately. I also know this must be American Samoa – I found a McDonalds on the waterfront!

Sunday March 10th(2)
Latitude/Longitude: 20,32,0S/174,3,12W
Course: 30 degrees
Speed: 20.7 knots
Status: Day 65 – at sea
Notes: It feels strange to live the same date more than once, but it will all balance out over the next few days. It is a beautiful day with sunshine, the temperature is up to 28C, 82F and last night when I walked out onto the open deck it was so hot and humid compared to inside the ship that my glasses steamed up again! The hot weather tires me out though, I had a late start this morning and took things easy today.

Sunday March 10th(1)
Latitude/Longitude: 27,38,0S/178,30,54W
Course: 29 degrees
Speed: 18.3 knots
Status: Day 64 – at sea
Notes: It is amazing how the weather can change overnight, although we have travelled a distance north since yesterday. The sea calmed down with sunshine and blue skies! You may also notice that longitude is now West, not East, though officially we have not crossed the International Dateline just yet. However, we will do – which will mean that Sunday March 10th will happen all over again, and instead of being thirteen hours ahead of UK time, we will be eleven hours behind…for now, anyway!

Saturday March 9th
Latitude/Longitude: 34,0,18S/177,13,36E
Course: 34 degrees
Speed: 17.8 knots
Status: Day 63 – at sea
Notes: The ship is on course towards Pago Pago(pronounced Pango Pango), in American Samoa. It will be entertaining over the next few days as we cross the International Dateline a couple of times, skipping over one day completely as well as living another date twice! The seas were described as a rough sea state and average to heavy swell, which meant the ship was rocking around a bit more. It calmed down overnight though.

Friday March 8th
Latitude/Longitude: 36,50,30S/174,45,54E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 62 – docked, Auckland
Notes: A lovely day – sunshine, a bus tour around Auckland which included a guided tour around a local museum by a very knowledgeable guide, then lunch back on board ship followed by a short walk to the Sky Tower. This is, I am told, the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and the views from the top were spectacular! After that a meeting up with old friends and a lovely pizza. I had to be back on board Arcadia by 7.30pm and I managed that – with just five minutes to spare…

Thursday March 7th
Latitude/Longitude: 39,28,30S/176,55,18E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 61 – docked, Napier
Notes: It was a lovely sunny day with temperatures up to 18C,64F by 10.00am. The ship is docked in an area surrounded by containers and tree logs – there are hundreds of logs here, just as there were in Wellington. We are only here for the morning as we must depart for Auckland this afternoon. On the map it doesn’t look all that far, and by road it probably isn’t, but by sea we have to go out of Hawkes Bay, through an area called the Sea of Plenty and on into Auckland.

Wednesday March 6th
Latitude/Longitude: 41,16,19S/174,47,18E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 60 – docked, Wellington
Notes: The locals call this place ‘windy city’. I can understand why, as it really was very windy, but I thought a certain place in North America was also given that title… I visited a sheep farm and had a drive along a private coast road in order to get there. The views were amazing at times and the coach stopped a few times to allow photographs to be taken by those passengers who wished to. It was decidedly windier there than in town, but there are no land masses between there and the Antarctic…

Tuesday March 5th
Latitude/Longitude: 43,49,24S/172,55,18E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 59 – docked, Akaroa
Notes: A lovely day with blue skies, sunshine and friendly people. I was on a walking tour of the town which was extremely interesting and informative.

Monday March 4th
Latitude/Longitude: 45,48,30S/170,37,48E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 58 – docked, Port Chalmers
Notes: We are in a sheltered port near to Dunedin. The weather is changeable with showers, the temperature is lower than we have had for a while, only around 13C, 55F. This meant wearing a jumper and a coat whilst on the tour of Dunedin!

Sunday March 3rd
Latitude/Longitude: 44,36,24S/167,50,6E
Course: 106 degrees
Speed: 10.5 knots
Status: Day 57 – at sea
Notes: Early this morning we arrived in Milford Sound, New Zealand. We only had time to cruise around for a short time there before leaving and continuing our journey around the base of South Island towards Dunedin, where we arrive tomorrow. The weather isn’t particularly good at the moment, with stronger winds and rougher seas forecast, especially overnight!

Saturday March 2nd
Latitude/Longitude: 40,23,42S/161,5,30E
Course: 128 degrees
Speed: 17.5 knots
Status: Day 56 – at sea
Notes: The weather is somewhat entertaining at present, because we have force 9/10 winds, a sea state that is described as ‘rough’ along with an average to heavy swell. Temperatures are down too, it is only 18C, 64F – although that is considerably warmer than back in the UK right now! Some open deck areas of the ship have been closed off for safety reasons, but hopefully this will all calm down once we reach New Zealand. Our clocks go forward again at mid-day, making us thirteen hours ahead of UK time…

Friday March 1st
Latitude/Longitude: 36,7,24S/154,37,24E
Course: 131 degrees
Speed: 18.1 knots
Status: Day 55 – at sea
Notes: Happy St David’s Day!!! Since leaving Sydney the weather has not been wonderful, with a rough sea and force 9 winds. It has started to calm down a little now, though the ship still rocks at times! No problem. Temperatures were down a little too, only 21C, 70F this morning!!! We also changed time zones once again and are now 12 hours ahead of UK time.

Thursday February 28th
Latitude/Longitude: 33,51,30S/151,12,36E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 54 – docked, Sydney
Notes: I woke up much later than usual, I must have needed the sleep! After breakfast I took a leisurely stroll into town – I was not booked on any tours, I simply wanted to stroll around the place and do a bit of shopping. As I left the ship, there were a great many people queuing up to get on board, I was told later there were around 700 new passengers! I had coffee and a doughnut in a McDonalds, the coffee wasn’t as good as I was expecting. I returned to the ship for lunch and a chance to review the photos I had taken. My timing was good, as the rain started in the afternoon. Every passenger had to attend an emergency drill, including putting on a life jacket. I can do this easily now! We were towed off our mooring by a tug at around 6.30pm and set sail for New Zealand.

Wednesday February 27th
Latitude/Longitude: 33,51,30S/151,12,36E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 53 – docked, Sydney
Notes: Our arrival into Sydney was breathtaking, especially as we were moored up immediately across from the Opera House, with a completely clear view of it. I was on a tour of the city, as well as a visit to Bondi beach, which I walked on! It isn’t as large a beach as I had imagined though. After a return journey via other sights, I had a tour of the Sydney Opera house. It was much, much larger than I thought, with several different concert halls! After lunch I walked along George Street, where many major shops were to be found, including the Apple Store. I used their free WiFi to upgrade the software in both my iPad and iPhone! It was a great help having the ship berthed so close to the city centre. My evening meal was in the Orchid restaurant on board ship, it made a pleasant change.

Tuesday February 26th
Latitude/Longitude: 29,24,18S/153,46,6E
Course: 191 degrees
Speed: 17 knots
Status: Day 52 – at sea
Notes: After an extremely wet day in Brisbane, we are heading south towards Sydney, where we stay for two days. I am hopeful that it will be a little dryer there!

Monday February 25th
Latitude/Longitude: 27,22,54S/153,9,48E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 51 – docked, Brisbane
Notes: We are in a commercial docking area and it is pouring with rain! I passed through customs with no difficulty, having been sniffed at a couple of times by trained dogs who are on the lookout for banned substances. All passengers were warned not to bring any foodstuffs of any kind from the ship, nor anything made of wood, etc. bottled water was allowed though. They are very strict here! The visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was lovely, I saw koalas, kangaroos, various birds and a baby crocodile, but the duck-billed platypus was asleep and therefore did not show itself. It didn’t stop raining, and I was soaked through by the time I returned to the ship. It was all well worth the visit though!

Sunday February 24th
Latitude/Longitude: 24,15,30S/160,12,30E
Course: 252 degrees
Speed: 20.3 knots
Status: Day 50 – at sea
Notes: As we are approaching Australia, we are required to fill in forms for their Customs and Immigration checks. In other countries, these checks have been done for us by designated staff from the ship, but here we already had immigration staff from Australia on board today and we had to present ourselves, along with our passports, entry & exit cards all filled in, to the immigration staff. We were given designated times to attend these checks, starting from 9.00am, but we were also advised we could attend early, from 7.30am, if we wished to do so. I decided to go early, and discovered that a great many others had had the same idea! It didn’t take too long to be seen though. They checked the details to ensure I was who I said I was, including the passport photograph. My passport was then returned to the ship’s staff for safekeeping. Job done!

Saturday February 23rd
Latitude/Longitude: 22,15,54S/166,26,12E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 49 – docked, Noumea
Notes: The ship is only here for the morning – we are due to depart around 1.00pm. I guess this will be so we can get to Brisbane on time. I was booked on a tour which included a visit to a local aquarium, although it contained larger and more exotic fishes than I have ever seen before! I was able to take some photographs, but using flash was not allowed. The time went very quickly, but we were able to see a bit of the main town as we drove back to the ship.

Friday February 22nd
Latitude/Longitude: 19,59,12S/173,56,30E
Course: 249 degrees
Speed: 19.3 knots
Status: Day 48 – at sea
Notes: The ship is on course towards Noumea and it started out like being a cloudy day. However, the skies cleared and it started to warm up – more than it already was! Most ‘sea’ days, those off us who are on our own have the option to attend a ‘singles’ get-together, which I often do. However, there were other events on that we were clearly expected – or at least invited – to attend, so the singles event today was cancelled! A few of us still met up at the usual place, but there was no sign of any free tea or coffee… After lunch I met up with a few others who have been designated as ‘mentors’ to help those with iPad’s and iPhones to use them better. The other mentors all felt that I knew the most on the subject, so I was doing one-to-one training with those who needed specific help, rather than just general assistance! It was kind of them to think so highly of me.

Thursday February 21st
Latitude/Longitude: 18,8,5S/178,25,25E
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 47 – docked, Suva, Fiji
Notes: It was a very warm day but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was on a tour which included men walking on hot stones, a mock tribal conflict as well as some traditional music & dance. The journey to where we saw all this was done via a local bus which had nothing like the features we had enjoyed on other coaches in other places – there were sliding windows, standard, cushioned seating and no air-conditioning – but I enjoyed it! The roads were a bit bumpy too. Some people were complaining afterwards, but to me it was all part of being there!

Wednesday February 20th
Notes: Because we crossed the International Dateline, this day did not exist. However, other days will occur twice!

Tuesday February 19th
Latitude/Longitude: 17,35,42S/174,1,54W
Course: 268 degrees
Speed: 19.8 knots
Status: Day 46 – at sea
Notes: At 7.30am the regular bridge report detailed a sky with 2/8th cloud, wind northerly force two, temperature 27.5C, 81F, sea state calm with a short, low swell. I hope the humidity levels are lower than yesterday! I am booked on a ship tour today, seeing various parts of the ship normally off-limits to passengers.

Monday February 18th
Latitude/Longitude: 17,13,0S/165,36,24W
Course: 268 degrees
Speed: 20.1 knots
Status: Day 45 – at sea
Notes: The ship is moving steadily west, our clocks have gone back another hour, making us a full 12 hours behind UK time. There are no countries currently using this time zone, but there is still a very good reason for this time change, as will be seen over the next few days. Outside it is quite cloudy, but even at 9.00am the temperature is 27C, 80F. I have no idea of humidity levels here, but in any event I find the current weather quite tiring. I now understand why people have a siesta in the afternoon!!!

Sunday February 17th
Latitude/Longitude: 16,48,42S/156,47,12W
Course: 268 degrees
Speed: 20.3 knots
Status: Day 44 – at sea
Notes: It is a beautiful day. Early this morning our clocks went back another hour, putting us 11 hours behind the UK. The outside temperature at 9.00am local time was 27C, 81F and there are only a few clouds about. Our next port of call is Suva, Fiji in three days time but we will also be making the first of our crossings of the International Dateline before then – so perhaps it is only two days, not three!

Saturday February 16th
Latitude/Longitude: 16,30,30S/151,45,30W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 43 – anchored in a lagoon at Vaitape, Bora Bora
Notes: At 8.00am the sun was shining, but dark clouds were visible. I immediately grabbed my camera! The captain announced that there was the possibility of rain showers later in the day and she was right about that! The view from the ship was lovely, what with Mont Otemanu rising up above us into the clouds, but with clear blue skies out above the lagoon. There was another cruise ship visiting Bora Bora, the Statendam from Rotterdam. Those going ashore were reminded to make sure they boarded the correct tender and return to the correct ship! In fact this was highly unlikely, as each passenger must show their cruise card to staff before boarding the tender, before leaving the ship and before returning on board. There were quite heavy rain showers, but they passed by quickly. It was possible to see the rain bands approaching! The locals had fun in their canoes, trying to hold on to the tenders as they approached the ship, or use the wake to go faster.

Friday February 15th
Latitude/Longitude: 17,32,18S/149,34,18W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 42 – docked, Papeete
Notes: The sky is blue – well, most of it, anyway! The sun is shining and it is a lovely day here in Papeete. It is around 9.30am here, 7.30pm UK time, so I won’t be able to see the asteroid as it passes by Earth. I am booked on a tour around Papeete this afternoon. As I have mentioned before, I prefer to go on the ‘organised’ trips because this is my first visit here. If I knew my way around, it might be different. We have been asked to be back on board ship by 5.30pm so we can sail away to out next port of call, Bora Bora.

Thursday February 14th
Latitude/Longitude: 19,30,12S/143,48,48W
Course: 291 degrees
Speed: 17.5 knots
Status: Day 41 – at sea
Notes: At just after 8.00am local time the sea was calm, the wind was light, with blue skies, bright sunshine and temperatures of 26C, 79F – it is lovely. We are on course to arrive at Papeete, French Polynesia, tomorrow. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Wednesday February 13th
Latitude/Longitude: 22,13,48S/136,21,0W
Course: 291 degrees
Speed: 18.8 knots
Status: Day 40 – at sea
Notes: At 8.00am today local time, the sky had 1/8 cloud cover, the wind was described as light airs, the temperature was 25C, 77F, with a calm sea and a short low swell. It all adds up to a lovely sunny day with beautiful blue skies, a calm blue sea and hardly any cloud. At present our time zone is the same as Anchorage, Alaska, but temperatures are very different!

Tuesday February 12th
Latitude/Longitude: 25,3,18S/130,8,0W
Course: 315 degrees
Speed: 3.5 knots
Status: Day 39 – at sea
Notes: We are close to Pitcairn Island and are circling whilst locals have come aboard to sell some of their locally-made goods. After noon we head towards our next port of call, Papeete, which I am advised is pronounced Pah-pee-tay. We should arrive there in three days time. Our clocks continue to go back, we are in the same time zone as San Francisco right now, but that changes again tomorrow… To those of you in the UK who are reading this, you will find that for a while these updates will get later and later, but as the old saying goes, times change…

Monday February 11th
Latitude/Longitude: 25,2,6S/121,15,6W
Course: 272 degrees
Speed: 19.2 knots
Status: Day 38 – at sea
Notes: The sea is a bit calmer, it is warmer, 24C or 75F. Our clocks go back again at 2.00am tomorrow, putting us 8 hours behind UK time. We should pass by Pitcairn Island soon – another photo opportunity! I am still sad at not being able to share photos with you who are reading this, but I hope to post some when I can make use of a shore-based WiFi service.

Sunday February 10th
Latitude/Longitude: 25,0,24S/112,15,54W
Course: 271 degrees
Speed: 14.5 knots
Status: Day 37 – at sea
Notes: Earlier this morning it was a bit windy. It still is, really. With clear blue skies, force 9 winds and rough seas, so you could say this ship really rocks!!!!!! Seriously, it is quite steady, a bit up and down at times but most people are used to that on here. Our clocks go back yet another hour tomorrow morning, making us 7 hours behind UK time, with more to go.

Saturday February 9th
Latitude/Longitude: 28,23,6S/104,59,36W
Course: 288 degrees
Speed: 20.4 knots
Status: Day 36 – at sea
Notes: We are moving steadily westwards and slightly north. The sea is relatively calm, and even at 8.00am the outside temperature was 20C, 68F. At the moment we have sea from horizon to horizon – I’ve not seen any other ships recently, but I haven’t been looking! We are due to sail by Easter Island at around 7.30pm or so. There is a 25 knot wind at the moment, which means that with our relative speed we have winds of around 40 knots over the deck – so we have been warned to take care when opening doors to the deck areas. Our clocks go back another hour at 2.00am tomorrow, putting us 6 hours behind UK time.

Friday February 8th
Latitude/Longitude: 29,53,12S/96,1,0W
Course: 285 degrees
Speed: 20.6 knots
Status: Day 35 – at sea
Notes: Our clocks went back another hour at 2.00am this morning, which puts us five hours behind UK time and onto New York time. It gave me an extra hour of sleep which I definitely took advantage of this morning – in fact I woke up an hour later than usual! I must have needed the rest. We have been advised that we are crossing the International Dateline a total of four times, so as a result 20th February and 12th March will not occur for us, but 10th March and 14th March will occur twice!!! At present the sea is calm, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and I am enjoying my holiday. I hope to sort out some photos over the next few days that I will, as I have said, upload as soon as I can use a shore-based WiFi service.

Thursday February 7th
Latitude/Longitude: 32,5,0S/86,11,12W
Course: 277 degrees
Speed: 20.6 knots
Status: Day 34 – at sea
Notes: We are proceeding in a westerly direction as you can see from the latitude and longitude details. There was a good sunset last night – not spectacular, but still lovely to watch. There is plenty to do on board – as much or as little as the individual wishes. I have been neglecting my music though, so as I write this I am listening to some lovely music via my headphones – that way I can listen whilst walking around the ship, sitting outside or working inside in the ‘computer room’. I also have choices as to where to get refreshments, either free or bought. For example the free coffee is basic, made with hot water along with sugar sachets and the individual ‘long life’ milk cartons – basic Americano style. For latte or other speciality coffees there are several different places, but there is a charge made for these. I treat myself occasionally!

Wednesday February 6th
Latitude/Longitude: 32,51,6S/76,23,36W
Course: 272 degrees
Speed: 20.1 knots
Status: Day 33 – at sea
Notes: We are at sea now for a full nine days. At 2.00am this morning our clocks went back one hour. We will pass by Easter Island and Pitcairn Island, before reaching Papeete. This should give me time to review and sort all the photos I have taken recently. Sadly the Internet service we have on board means I can update this blog, but uploading photos will have to wait until I can find a good, shore-based WiFi service!

Tuesday February 5th
Latitude/Longitude: 33,1,54S/71,37,36W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 32 – docked, Valparaiso
Notes: This is the end of one cruise ‘sector’ and the beginning of the next, so 250 passengers have disembarked to go home or wherever, and 250 new passengers have joined the ship. Therefore we all have to take part in the standard ‘lifeboat exercise’ drill where we go to our designated muster stations. However, this has been set for 5.30pm and some of us will still be on shore excursions then, so we will have our exercise drill on our return to the ship.

Monday February 4th
Latitude/Longitude: 36,11,12S/73,28,30W
Course: 12 degrees
Speed: 10.7 knots
Status: Day 31 – at sea
Notes: At 8.00am it was a glorious, sunny start to the day with a southerly force 5 wind and a pleasant temperature of 14C, 57F. It is clear that we are moving into warmer waters! Apart from that there is nothing else to report!

Sunday February 3rd
Latitude/Longitude: 40,21,36S/74,18,30W
Course: 1 degrees
Speed: 10.8 knots
Status: Day 30 – at sea
Notes: This morning the sun is shining, the outside temperature is 15C, or 59F if you prefer that scale. I should have worn my hat yesterday – I caught the sun more than I realised! My sunglasses would have been an idea too… I will remember that today, for sure. After having my hair cut this morning, some oil was put on my scalp as it really was very red! It will settle down over the next day or two though. I had a busy day, what with the regular 10.00am ‘singles’ get-together, then I attended a coffee morning at the photo gallery, then lunch and various things in the afternoon, including the sorting out of photographs taken over the last few days. There was a good sunset this evening too…

Saturday February 2nd
Latitude/Longitude: 41,28,48S/72,56,12W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 29 – anchored close to Puerto Montt
Notes: I was awakened by the sound of a boat being lowered, ready for transporting people ashore. After breakfast I did go ashore myself and have a look around, taking a few photos of course! There was a small shopping area in what I discovered was the local bus station – this was all near the sea and there were some good views as the sun was out, the clouds were almost gone and it was beginning to warm up again. The trips to and from the ship were entertaining at times though, as these tenders can rock and roll a little! In the afternoon we were treated to a surprise air display from members of the Chilean Air Force – it was stunning! I took a great many photos. They used the cruse ship as a centre point for their display, making good use of the white smoke trails they can create, ending with a heart shape with an arrow through it, then creating a perfect 5-point star!

Friday February 1st
Latitude/Longitude: 45,28,18S/72,49,42W
Course: 0 degrees
Speed: 0 knots
Status: Day 28 – anchored close to Chacabuco
Notes: The views as we arrived at Chacabuco were amazing – hills all around, ice and snow on the mountains, the clouds and sunshine changing the light all the time. At times there were rain showers and it was possible to see them appearing from over the mountains! I didn’t go ashore this time though. After pulling up the anchor from fifty metres down, we sailed away and were treated, at around 7.00pm, to a partial rainbow – it was a lovely sight. It meant that I could see the end of the rainbow as it disappeared into the water, but sadly the pot of gold is still at the bottom of the fjord…

Thursday January 31st
Latitude/Longitude: 50,4,24S/74,47,6W
Course: 274 degrees
Speed: 16.9 knots
Status: Day 27 – at sea
Notes: Early this morning (around 7.00am) we sailed up to another glacier, called Pio X or Pio Decimo. It was an amazing sight to see. For me personally it wasn’t as spectacular as the Amalia glacier, but it was much wider! It also rained, heavily at times, and I was very wet by the time the ship started to turn away. A compete change into dry clothes and careful checking and drying of the cameras was needed! We are now on our way out to the Pacific Ocean, turning north for a while and then in between islands to Chacabuco.

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