Sunday, February 15, 2009

Melbourne to Adelaide

The cruise down to Melbourne was OK, despite some squally cool weather and a little swell (not enough to trouble my stomach). The best bit was passing between the north of Flinders Island and Wilsons Promontary, with all the associated small islands at the entry to Bass Strait. We were in the Crows Nest Bar (where the barmen Henry and Nestor now know our names and which beer we drink), which has a 180 degree view as we headed into the sunset. Would have been perfect without the ominous smoke to the north.

Entering Bass Strait: Hogan Island?

Woke in Melbourne to see the Spirit of Tasmania ferry on the other side of the wharf, and made a tram trip into the city for a little shopping and gallery browsing. Then out across Port Phillip Bay in the evening, pasing through the heads with its tide race just before dark. That produced the last bit of detectable movement, since the water has been very smooth on our way to Adelaide.

The Melbourne Sailaway
That's what they call it: "Join us in the xxxx Bar for the sailaway"

Smokey sky over Port Phillip Bay

Yesterday, as we cruised past the south coast of Victoria and South Australia, there were whales about (Fin whales, according to our Dutch captain). I saw several spouting in the distance, and then two obligingly came up less than half a kilometre away as I was having my morning calorie-burning thrash around the deck. Some dolphins too, and lots of albatrosses.

The Deck 3 walkaround
Decks freshly swabbed, but few walkers on a morning in port

Yesterday was Valentine's Day on board, which meant a huge quantity of decorations, cheesy music in the bars and menus on which every item was named "romantically". I guess if you are serving the full four month sentence, that sort of thing breaks the monotony. I was talking to a couple yesterday who said they no longer had any idea what day of the week it was.

Niall has given the first of our lectures, so we have had a look at our clients. They seemed to enjoy it, but I don't get to give my first one until the day after tomorrow.

Niall's first lecture
The cabaret room isn't quite our usual style

And this morning we woke to find ourselves in Adelaide, or rather at Outer Harbour, which is a full 45 minutes on the train to the city centre. After the moderate indifference of Sydney and Melbourne to our arrival and departure it was nice to see lots of volunteer guides here. And welcoming music, though Australian bush ballads might have been more appreciated later in the day by those (like us) who hadn't left the bar until well after midnight.

The Rotterdam at Outer Harbour, Adelaide

Adelaide serenade
These guys were singing Click go the Shears etc at 8.00 am!

Adelaide was warm and sunny, and the art gallery and museum made a pleasant excursion. Now we are back on board, but the "sailaway" isn't until 10.00 tonight so we shall not see Adelaide either coming in or going out.

Three days at sea to get to Perth across the Great Australian Bight. I'll blog there if I can.

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