Thursday, 25 of April of 2024

QE2 WC 2005- LA – Sydney, Part 2

QE2 World Cruise 2005,  LA – Sydney,  Part 2

 Monday, 17 January – San Pedro, California. N33˚44.7′ x W118˚15.5′

I am so glad I was awake at five thirty,  because although I wasn’t on deck to witness it, Captain McNaught made QE2 do the 180˚ turn around between the two major docks, with little space to spare on each end!  He pointed the bow into the right angle dock space, then main channel, which appears to be about a thousand feet wide.  Do the math, 963 feet turning around.  Wow! Again!  This is what Warwick did in fog two years ago!  “Monarch of the Seas” came in after we did.

Full immigration check is required here and at six o’clock people on Four and Five Deck are already queuing.  I went to breakfast near the Lees and we arranged to meet on deck for mutual telephone calls on my cell phone.  I made my calls after Claire was able to reach her friend.

When I went through immigration I joined the queue at Chart Room and snaked around to Queen’s Room past the Library, where we divided into numerous smaller lines.  I think it took only ten or fifteen minutes, because the line kept moving.  The rest of the morning I sat on deck watching the reprovisioning process.  At least twenty long “articulated lorries” unloaded tons of provisions in an orderly manner.  Eventually the busses for different destinations loaded their disembarking passengers.  By noon things had died down and the ship was very quiet!

I met Chris and Cherie curbside around one thirty and we went to Ports o’ Call restaurant for a late lunch – swordfish for Chris and Fettuccini Alfredo and chicken for me.  Cherie had a special chicken dish too.  We strolled a while by the shops then headed for a Sprint Store, and I bought a new cell phone, then we found a weird mall.  Supper for us all was simply ice cream from Marble Slab. 

The family returned me to the QE2 around seven and I tested the cell phone from the cabin.  It worked there!  Annemie helped me with it a bit.  I tried the movie “Bruce Almighty” but left to see us leave at ten o’clock.  We were delayed over an hour, because the victuals weren’t yet all aboard.  I watched many skids being loaded by many forklifts.  Quite a demanding and long process. Horlicks and off to bed.

Tuesday, 18 January – At Sea.

I was already in my cabin by the time the ship was pulled away from the dock, but I watched us slowly head forward and pass all the glaring lights to ocean darkness.  All night things were going “bump” below me, and I can only surmise all the stuff loaded yesterday is being stowed with many thumps.  I awoke at five thirty to stay!

At a more appropriate time I took my shower then decided to watch the eight o’clock showing of “Shrek” on the television.  I then emerged and headed for a chat with the Lees, followed by a reunion in the Lido with Jean Burns.  Another lady was with us and gave the story of her life all over the world.  Sylvia by name.  She is the tall red-haired lady I’ve seen everywhere.  Jean and I lingered a while then parted, she to see the Lees and I to try the decks.  I was greeted by quite chilly wind, but sat up forward on Port till noon for the report.  That was all I could take so I went inside to wait for lunch with Jean at a table for two in the Mauretania Dining room.  Jean’s cabin is 3050.

Noon fix:  N 32˚ 14′ x W 124˚ 16′ : Speed:  29.2 knots; Wind: North by East direction:  258˚  Great Circle.  Temp: 57˚ F.

Jean and I did indeed have a table for two next to the horses.  She told me a lot about her QM2 voyage and tablemates.  I then went to the two- thirty movie “Before Sunset” which was boring.  We had a brief discussion about it in the Board Room just before tea. 

There is a bit of pitching going on as the weather closes in.  I certainly notice it up forward, but it’s not bad.  Dinner at 233 was solitary for me, because no one else came.  I called this the “residual table.”  I was invited to join two ladies from North Carolina by the window, so I moved over with them.  Hmmm!  I’ll try again for another table later.

The show tonight was a pianist-singer, and I sat with the Lees.  We followed that with Horlicks and bed.  Clocks back an hour.  A red notice under my door asked  “Why weren’t you at the lifeboat drill?  USA required all to drill yesterday.

 Wednesday, 19 January.

Again, I woke up very early, so did the usual puttering till time for breakfast.  I ate with Vernon and three others, Bill, Hilda and Margaret.  The latter one I remember as well as Bill Greenwood. 

The weather, being rainy and very windy, I opted for an indoor day, which included time stitching with Eric and Margaret, then at eleven we went to Hilary Kay’s talk on Back Stage at the Antiques Road Show.  I then joined Nellie, Jean and John Damm, my former tablemate, for lunch by the window in Mauretania.  Salad and spotted dick.

I spent time on One Deck Lido looking at the wake, which is very churned since we are flowing along at a great rate.  Noon fix:  N 29˚ 3.5′ z W13.7′ 251˚ Great Circle course.  Wind: South at Force 5, 19 knots, rendering 40 knots over decks.  Temp: 69˚ =.F:Moderate seas and heavy swell.  We continue to pitch moderately in cloudy conditions.

I watched “The Alamo” up to the final battle, and then made my way to see Roma about the Platinum pin.  She prompted me to say mine broke and she gave me the new Cunard Logo pin.  Rumors about QE2 going to P and O are false, probably prompted by the office move to California and the new offices of Princess.

Since the ship is rather pitching I went to my cabin around teatime and lay down mostly till six o’clock when I dressed for dinner.  My new table is 255, next to the Lees, and my tablemates are Nettie,  an Indonesian from Melbourne and a couple.

The show consisted of Beryl Davis a singer of the war WWII who sang with Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Hope etc.  For a gal in her 80s she is okay!  I followed that with Horlicks with Eric and Margaret,; a brief time outside in mild temperature, then to the cabin by ten o’clock.

Thursday, 20 January – At Sea.

Early awakening is a habit these days!  The seas have calmed a bit, but rain is prevalent.  When I went up to breakfast Margaret and Eric were at my new table so I joined.  I found them again for stitching till eleven.  Meanwhile, Elaine had a scarf folding session in Queens Room.  Feeling I needed to move about, I left for Boat Deck and found the temperature mild, no rain, but a lot of wind.  I took my fix at eleven.  N 25˚ 11.6′ x W148˚ 36.5′ ;  Speed: 27.6 knots.  Moderate seas and moderate swell.

Hilary Kay presented her special BBC show on Chippendale furniture and alas before it was over I had to leave for the Ensemble cocktail party.  I sat with Evelyn, and Lennie came up to me wanting a duet to sing together.  Hmmm!  Our Kona tour will start at 8:45 in the yacht Club.  Bali has been cancelled.

I had lunch with Vernon, Ginny and a new gal from Bend, Oregon named Kathy.  I then spent the afternoon in my cabin watching television and working on my doll project.  After a lot of debate with myself, I decided to dress informally (we had the option) and join my tablemates for dinner.  Afterward I went to the Lido to participate in Valerie Noonan’s party for her husband Bill.  There was champagne, balloons and general good cheer.  Soon I wished Bill a happy birthday and returned to sit with Eric and Margaret for the show.  A new and very good group is on board, and their first show “Oo La La” went over very favorably.  Good singers and dancers with tight segues.  I left my friends and headed homeward to work on the dolls again, watch TV and turn in for the night.

On my bed was the first World Cruise gift, a very nice black tote-bag with the QE2 World Cruise 2005- logo.  Clocks back an hour.

 Friday, 21 January – Honolulu, Hawaii

When I awoke at 5:45, I could see distant lights.  As light dawned I headed up to Boat Deck to make calls on the new cell phone.  I actually got a signal in my cabin but it was borderline onto roam!  Anyway, dawn was giving way off Waikiki, and Diamond Head was aglow as the sun rose above its rim – while I was talking with Alec.  I could see three whales blowing, the coast guard boat buzzing along with a man at his machine gun, the Pilot boat and of course, eventually we glided into the harbor at a pretty good clip, soon to slow to maneuvering speed.  The ship has to do a jog to Port before heading straight to the berth next to the Aloha Tower.  Dancers and singers were singing the Aloha greetings.  I saw the Captain and officers on the bridge wing while the Pilot officiated.

I had breakfast alone then back in the cabin Annemie did the tidying up.

My first move was to take the Hilo Hattie trolley to the shop.  Then I went to the Ala Moana Mall for lunch and the bus back to the Aloha Tower.  I went up the tower, and talked to family on the phone.  Then I embarked and spent some time on deck eating my ice cream cone then I rested in the cabin.   “Maid in Manhattan” was on the television so I watched it till time to see “Casa Blanca” in the Theatre.  I wore my new Hawaiian culottes and top outfit.

I had dinner on my own in the Lido then sat for over an hour with the Lees to see the very beautiful and professional Aloha Show.  At eleven o’clock I was on deck to see us back away from the Aloha pier and turn stern to port for the 180˚ turn.  The port tug worked very hard to push our bow on port, while a stern tug pulled us equally for the pivot amidships.  All the while the Coast Guard boat was keeping vigil with its blue light flashing and darting back and forth till we cleared the second red light channel marker.

Now at midnight the moon is lighting up our bow so I can see it on channel three.  Three whistle blasts blew as we backed out of the pier. Chris called while I was in the Theatre and left a message!

 Saturday, 22 January – Kona, Hawaii

The anchor was dropped at 7:05 and the shuddering awoke me!  As I was trying to dial Chris on Boat Deck I found the signal too weak on Starboard, but Port was quite strong.  Meantime the Captain came on the Tannoy to say the swells at shore are two meters high and it would be impossible for transferring people safely.  I was able to convey this to Chris in a blow-by-blow description on the phone.  I then went to breakfast and found the Lees at my table.  Omar found black current jam in a tiny jar for me, and we had a repartee about saving what’s left for me.  He was amused!

So – now that I am on Boat Deck again all set for a leisurely morning of reading and sewing, we are moving on because the Harbor Master reported the swells will last another twenty-four hours.  I called Chris for the last time – boats are being re-mounted on their davits and an at sea schedule is being prepared.  Within minutes of the last tender in place we were off accompanied by three whistle blasts – at quarter to ten.

With the daily schedule revised I went to the Theatre to hear Ronald Simpson, former Chief Executive Officer of the Falklands War, talk on William Bligh and the Bounty, shooting down myths about him and the mutiny.  I also stayed for the Tahiti port lecture.  In between I stopped at the Board Room; Terry Waite says the other famous Terry will be on board later.

Noon Report:  N 18˚ 47′ x W156˚ 03.’  When I emerged to hear the noon whistle the very strong wind from the East was whipping up pretty good white caps.  We are headed due south.  Moderate seas and heavy swell.  However, I think the stabilizers must be out!

I shared lunch with the Lees in the Lido, and did more work on the doll in the cabin; I then watched the BBC production film on Josiah Wedgwood, presented by Hilary Kay in the Theatre!  I spent the rest of the day in my cabin working on the Uncle Angus doll until dinnertime.  I dressed informally and had dinner with only Nettie.  Tin had my fruit punch all ready!  Tin is a very sweet Maylasian woman who is the Sommelier in our section.  Once I order a drink, she puts one at my table each evening until I tell her otherwise.  We started with ice tea, then I changed to fruit punch and she comes up with different mixtures of punch each evening!

When I returned to the cabin Annemie came in and we chatted a while.  She left me three chocolate squares.  She has her catering degree and a job waiting for her back home.  The evening movie was “Ella Enchanted” which I saw in the Theatre, and followed that with Horlicks in the Lido with Valerie Noonan and Lillian (the one I get mixed with Donna Hartstone).  Back at the cabin by eleven o’clock.

 Sunday, 23 January.

The weather looks fine.  I awoke at nearly seven o’clock.  QE2 is going quite smoothly.  I had breakfast with Vernon and Myra plus a couple from Spain.  I went on deck immediately thereafter to settle for the morning.  As the sun crept over the ship I moved more aft, eventually settling for boat 13.  The ocean is that brilliant “nautic’ blue and clouds lightly dot the sky as we skim along at 23 knots on our southward course.  I worked on the knitting detail project.

Noon fix:  N09˚28.4′ x W154˚ 25′   Rhumb line course 170˚(south by east ).  Wind: ENE 13 knots and over the decks 35 knots.  Slight seas and low swell. 

Gisele came by to chat, and she said she too is in the Ensemble group.  I sat with the Lees for lunch and Joan Garland joined us too.  The rumor going around now is that the Cunard name will be dropped.  I can’t imagine that could be possible!  Margaret said they think Americans don’t like Cunard.  Again, I can’t imagine that would matter unless they want to do away with a refined standard!

I wandered on deck and around till two thirty when I attended a talk on Fabergé jewelry and eggs.  I didn’t realize it was a sales pitch till I saw the speaker who works in the shops! Hmmm! 

Most of the afternoon I slept in the cabin.  I skipped the cocktail party, and had prawn salad and lamb plus soufflé with fudge sauce.  Connie and Fred joined me too.  The show with Karen Saunders was very good.  Piano recital and thence back to the cabin by ten thirty.  Latitude is presently North 05˚ 16′ at ten fifty and I fear we will cross the Equator while I sleep.

 Monday, 24 January – Crossing the Equator.

After breakfast with the Lees, I spent the entire morning watching my GPS and reading till the magic moment when North numbers would turn to South numbers.  I thought that moment came at ten o’clock but I had to learn that when 00 shows on the latitude scale, the minutes have to count down from 60 to 0 and as of now, 12:18 PM I am still watching the numbers decrease.  The weather is very comfortable and the forward wind tolerable.  Also the sun is shining clearly on the beautiful azure blue of the slight seas with occasional white caps.  I planned to go to the lecture on “Bligh’s Spirit” but I opted to stay out for the very moment when North changes to South.  When the whistle sounded the one long blast I waited for the noon report.  None came because all the activity was concentrated aft on One Deck Lido for the Crossing the Equator ceremony and shenanigans.  I continued my GPS vigil till at 12:45 PM the count down finally reached all zeros and N turned to S in a split second!  West 152˚ 43′

I took the long way to the Mauretania Restaurant and sat with Vernon, and Myra.  Her sister and husband came eventually and we all had great conversation about Bligh – naval discipline and memories of childhood in wartime.  I had a banana split – almost bare!

An invitation to David Hamilton’s Yacht Club party, received yesterday, may not be heeded!  Annemie left a thank you note for the petit fours. 

I attended the Navigation lecture by Commander Otto Perczar.  He was very clear in his explanations.  The movie was awful, but I stayed anyway “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”  Jim Carrey and Kate Winslette.  Ugh!

For the formal dinner I put on my pink latticework long dress and jacket.  Connie and Fred came, but Nettie didn’t.  Margaret and Eric attended David Hamilton’s cocktail party while I saved our usual seats in the Grand Lounge.  John Courtney gave a marvelous show as fill-in for an entertainer who never showed up in Hawaii.  He mixed song, magic and piano!  I was back in the cabin by nine -thirty.

 Tuesday, 25 January – Burns Day.

The cloudiness predicted on the television picture has held most of the day with occasional rain showers.  I planned to stay inside and participate in the social possibilities at Lee headquarters!  I started with breakfast in the Lido with Joe and Laurice from the Ensemble group, and we discussed the QM2 South America cruises next year.  They may want to do that for a change from World Cruises, but they have already done a South American cruise on “Caronia.”  I then sat with the Lees until time for the Rasputin talk followed by Hilary Kay’s talk on today’s collectibles.

After the noon report, which I heard in the shops, I had lunch with Jean Burns and Nellie and Violet Crafton in the Mauretania by a starboard window.  Noon fix: S08˚58.3′ x 151˚ 08.4′.  Speed: 23.5 knots.  Direction 170˚ south by east.  On my GPS little islands are beginning to show.  Yippee!  The Captain announced we will be arriving early tomorrow afternoon in Papeete and will spend the night.

The latest report from home is that there are more than 36″ of snow with big drifts.

I took my Citizen watch to Brian Williamson for his opinion, and he simply put in a new battery and it is now working.  At three- thirty I tried how to do digital photography in the Theatre, but I didn’t learn all that much.  The sun has come out; it is balmy warm and with the following wind on deck is downright gentle.  “Calendar Girls” is on television.  Also my neighbors from Boston showed me earlier that the rotating globe shows where both QE2 and QM2 are at any time – on channel 5.

Movie, “Manchurian Candidate” Then Lido.  Cabin time.  I worked on details of Uncle Angus’ bagpipe till after eleven.

 Wednesday, 26 January – Papeete, Tahiti – Australia Day

Oh my!  I ate with Vernon and Ginny then went briefly on deck to get my GPS readings.  Having recently felt several raindrops I retreated inside to join the Lees chatting and stitching till time for the talk on Captain Cook.  At eleven we yachties gathered to swap yarns and boat types at Yacht Club.  Again my boat is the smallest!

By noon when I got the GPS reading, we could see both Tahiti and Moorea ahead.  I had lunch by a window in Mauretania with Jean, Nellie and Violet.  Violet kept shushing me as I described the Pilot boat arrival and the white water on the barrier reefs; entrance through the narrow channel,; long piers with narrow bridge-like extensions, and the slight forward – backward and finally forward to get the docking just right.  After lunch I checked all from forward deck and along starboard Boat Deck.  A small boat had to be used to convey the aft dock lines to the extended bridge – bollards.

I then got a frozen yogurt inside and sat with Marguerite McLean in Lido discussing our bookings and frustrations with such.  Back in the cabin I am presently watching a video of the Australian Bi-Centennial ceremonies and ship parade in 1988 Sydney.  Woops!  I fell asleep till teatime with that video going in the background.  I did manage to dress and have tea with Fran in Queen’s Room.  We talked about proper English and how we tried to teach our sons and grandchildren.  When the Lees came by I more or less committed to saving seats for the local Folklorico presentation.

Rain in late afternoon dampened some people’s time on shore.  I exchanged $20 for 1700 Francs.  GPS S 17˚39′  W 149˚ 39′   Speed: 16.5 knots.  Compass 170˚  Land maps are gone.   Low seas, low swell that fabulous “Nautic” blue.  We were docked by two o’clock.

All of us tablemates enjoyed good conversation at dinnertime.  After a brief interval of checking the evening air I joined the Lees for the hour and a half wait for the Tahiti dance and song show, which was very good, loud and animated.  I walked on Boat Deck from aft to observation deck all lit up.  The crew was enjoying a barbeque on the bow, and they were everywhere.  Saw Marguerite briefly at A stairway then went to the cabin at about ten forty-five. 

 Thursday, 27 January – Papeete, Tahiti.

My day in port was very low key, because I simply wandered from the ship to the Market place where I bought post cards and a small salad spoon and fork.  Along the way I met Fred and Connie so we walked together into a black pearl shop.  After my market visit I walked along the newly built quay by a lovely Brigantine – the R. E. Seamans and to a distant spot where I could get a full view of QE2 at the new pier.  Then with Moorea in the distance I took another harbor shot.  I witnessed a rare occasion, namely the complete crew abandon ship drill,   All the crew members poured out of the ship and formed their official muster groups. – to the sounds of three Tahitian women musicians playing and singing. 

I had lunch in the Caronia Restaurant by a window with four other Americans.  Oh yes, before that I took photos of Queen’s Grill and the crew from Boat Deck.  I found the Lees on Boat Deck and gave Margaret the postcards, mailed mine by the Library, then watched the matinée “An American in Paris.”   I finished the Uncle Angus doll.

I was dressed in the category of elegant casual for dinner, and then when through eating, I walked on deck to check on the big BBQ on Sun and Funnel Decks.  Myra and I chatted about her tour then with one brief walk through the noisy crowd of eaters and dancers, I left the din for quieter Boat Deck.  A group of musicians was singing and playing in the Band Stand on shore.  Also the city looks so very colorful with its neon signs and bright lights.

Near ten thirty when the aboard was due, they struck the gangway, but it was well after eleven when we very slowly backed away from the pier and pivoted to starboard on the stern.  Two tugs were on hand to assist.  All this time I was with the Lees and Marguerite.  When we started forward I walked back to upper deck aft to watch the two sets of green beacons align.  Then we straightened out directly out the narrow channel toward Moorea, a mere ten miles away.  However, we will take our sweet time.  To bed before midnight.

 Friday, 28 January – Moorea.

We anchored around seven- thirty.  I could feel the chain being dropped and also observe the movement of the chain along the anchor-line trough.  Up went the black ball as various little tender-type boats hovered.  Our own tenders are also active.

I headed to the Lido, and when I spotted Perle eating alone, I sat with her till she was due to join Terry for their tour.  I then caught her gathering sandwich ingredients for lunch on shore.  I sat aft facing the mountains and shore, which were very close.  The rest of the morning saw me wandering all over.  While chatting with Maria, she indicated she would like a companion for Angus so I have begun another doll.  I sat with May King as I got started.

Since Caronia was open again to all, I sat with the same couple as two days ago – guess it was yesterday.  Anyway, I had a nice Caesar salad and very rich Mississippi mud cake.  When I arose from the table I went straight to Five Deck F stairway and was the last one on a tender.  Got great photos of QE2 with Moorea in the background.  We got soaked on the way, and then it cleared enough for me to stroll to the Octagonal church, have a look inside and take a picture.  It rained again as I waited for the next tender, but a lot of us hovered under the water tent.  Back to the ship by two -fifteen.

I watched “Love Actually” at the Theatre.  While tea was going on I walked Boat Deck looking for that definitive photo of Moorea before it is too late.  The misty clouds having advanced and receded all day, finally cleared enough for several shots of the profiles plus the lovely Opunoho Bay, with canoes, the yellow Pilot boat and QE2 tenders returning home.  The lush greens everywhere toward land and the dashing waves on the coral reefs surrounding the island, complete the exquisite scene.  Moorea navigation information:   S 17˚ 29.8 ‘  W 149˚51′

Dinner at Mauretania with Connie and Fred.  Show – Steve Womack.  Deck stroll back to A and cabin.  The stars are out, the air is moist and warm, and we aren’t going very fast.  Movie “What a Girl Wants” with Colin Firth.  That’s twice today with Colin.  Knitting.

 Saturday, 29 January.

At three am there was a Priority One alert – which means water gushing somewhere!

After knitting past eight o’clock I left the cabin.  Annemie and I chatted about her swimming and sunburn yesterday and I chided her about leaving my cabin partially finished!  I told her I would dock one bon bon from her daily allotment!  Ha HA

I then had breakfast with a German gent and eventually Jean and Gisele.  Jean has an invitation to the Platinum World Cruise party and upon inquiry,  we learned that neither I nor the Lees or Fran received any invitation.  Violet came by stating she was bound for the party.  We figure it must only be for the LA and Honolulu embarkees.

Anyway I headed up to Boat Deck for the noon fix, but meantime it is very humid, cloudy and relatively low wind over the deck, making it not quite comfortable.  We are going about 27.5 knots with low seas and a bit of a swell, creating a slight pitch.  S 22˚26.7/ x W 156˚ 49.7′.   Speed:  27.48 knots. Great circle course 233˚ or west southwest.  15 knot breeze over the deck.  Slight seas and moderate swell.

I shared a pleasant lunchtime with Vernon and eventually Rosemary and her friends Iris and another.  I returned to my cabin afterward and fell asleep knitting and watching television.  During that time the repairman came to fix my dodgy lock by spraying WD40 on it – with success.  I then joined the stitching ladies at Crystal Bar.  They were all interested in the dolls.  Maria has committed herself to $100 each for Uncle Angus and the new doll in the making!

The movie was “The Prince and Me.”  Tea at the Lido.  A deck walk in gentle wind and calm waters that tumble with white foam as the ship cuts along with its very subtle pitching.  The cause for sheer bliss!

 Sunday, 30 January.

Here I sit under boat five, having come out right after my breakfast with Vernon.  I have been here about two hours, enjoying the relatively cool air and gentle breeze from our forward motion.  At ten- thirty I popped inside for a loo call, and when I returned we had entered a fog bank.  The foghorn is now activated; the forward most horn on the mast.  It is on the one minute interval setting and to me the visibility is about a half mile.

I have informed Margaret that I have to abandon the last doll and she has given me her book “The Willow Girls” to read.  For my present enjoyment, however, I am re-reading Bill Bryson’s book on Australia as I eagerly anticipate the train journey.   Talent show sign up and rehearsal ensued.

Noon report:  S 28˚28.4′ x W166˚35.1′:  Great Circle 242˚, slight seas, low swell.  We have gone 1,432 nautical miles and have 1,068 to go  Speed:  26.6 Knots average.  DATELINE tomorrow.  (GMT plus 13 in Auckland.)

Lunch was again with Vernon.  I borrowed a menu for my music folder and the manager sanitized it before giving it to me.  I watched “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in the cabin.

The talent show was very long.  The family of 13 sang a QE2 song.  I did a sacred solo and of course, Mary did her arias,  this time with Campbell Simpson accompanying her; How long-suffering he is!  I went to the early movie “Contact” in the Theatre then ate by the starboard windows in the Lido.  We are having to sanitize our hands again and of course, are served everything now.

Since we will be crossing the International Dateline tomorrow, we will lose Monday, January 31 altogether.

 Tuesday, 1 February – International Date Line.

The bow picture showed dark clouds and rain so I didn’t plan on outside reading, but I did manage a few short times in a deck chair by D Stairway under a port boat. 

Eric and Margaret were still eating by the time I went up.  Omar as usual offered me juices, half grapefruit (used my spoon), eggs etc.  Jenny, a woman from Canada via England joined me and we had pleasant conversation regarding teapots and porcelain.  When finished, I excused myself, returned the borrowed menu cover, and then returned my Library book unread.  By this time it was near ten o’clock so I attended the photography lecture focusing on composition.

This was when I sat on deck to read.  Having forgotten my GPS I fetched it and took my readings just before noon.  We are supposed to have crossed the Dateline, but not quite:  S33˚ 35.2′  W 177˚ 17.06′ : Speed 26.5 knots.  Great Circle 243˚  Slight seas and low swell.

As I was wandering just before lunch I spotted Jean by the Lido Menu.  We both decided to eat in the Mauretania and when we arrived we chose the table for two in the first section.  However, since it was expandable to four, we invited Violet to join us.  I had a lovely pasta dish with tomato sauce and for dessert a berry flan.

I returned to Boat Deck a while till time for the navigation lecture.  I returned again to my deck chair and checked the GPS (3:30) and still it was only 178.˚  A man near me showed me other things I can do with way marks.  When more misty fog threatened rain I retreated again inside, checked out the boring shops and ended up chatting with Marguerite by the Library.

The Cruise Director’s party has been cancelled and we have further instructions to stay away from one another.  The ship is being almost frantically wiped down everywhere. 

I had dinner with my tablemates Fred and Connie minus Nettie.  The foghorn started up again because virtual pea soup set in.  Fred reminded me I hadn’t cashed any New Zealand money so I did so and mailed the card to Beverley Hull.  I got $65 for a $50 travelers’ check plus 30 cents and went on to join the Lees for the show.  We were too late for our usual seats so we sat where Maria and Frank usually sit.  They weren’t there.

The fog continues rather thick and while I walked the deck to A stairwell, the foghorn sounded twice.  We are supposed to star gaze at eleven thirty, but I suspect it won’t be clear.  Clocks back one hour.

 Wednesday, 2 February – Auckland, New Zealand

I was up very early and could see the lights of Auckland way ahead.  I leisurely prepared for my day on land and went to the bow to see the final stage of docking from the Starboard side.  I could see the Captain and his officers plus two pilots on the Bridge wing as we slowly sidled up to the Princess Wharf, which has a Hilton Hotel on it.  We were observed by several hotel guests on their balconies.

Once docked I joined Marguerite at the Lees’ table for breakfast.  When ready to report to the Theatre for my tour, I linked up with Pat and John Sagar.  We did the same tour together.  Mt. Eden, which is sacred to the Maoris, 48 volcanoes.  This was a fortified Maori village.  The Auckland Domain has the museum.  Paritan Drive – a rich and famous area.  We drove along the seafront a long way, and then saw the Maritime Museum.  I saw the Maori animated film.  Back at the wharf I called Chris and eventually got him out of a meeting.  I had lunch back on board.  Everything is being sanitized.

After a few hours in my cabin I set out again to walk along the waterfront.  The first ship of interest was the tall ship “Søren Larsen, the Brigantine used in the “Onedin Line” and “French Lieutenant’s Woman.”  I continued on to the Viaduct Wharf area and back toward the Ferry Docks.  I had a short talk with Violet, and then wandered into a small convenience market.  At the little sales stand I bought a Paua shell ring and two key rings for gifts.

Back to the sailing:  The boat was a 50- foot Marconi sloop, which I got to sail for a while.  We tacked around the wide harbor and toward a fascinating ship that can sink in the water for dozens of sailboats and motorboats to sail into and when full, the ship expels the water and rises so it can take the “cargo” to the Med. Or Newport, or wherever they need to be delivered.

None of my tablemates came to dinner so I ate alone, sharing conversations with those around me.  I sat for a long time waiting with the Lees for the 9:45 special Maori show in which they danced with poi balls, did menacing demonstrations with weapons and songs in harmonic rhythm.  I didn’t hang around for our departure but will observe from the cabin via channel 3.  I saw about 40 sailboats with spinnakers, running home around dusk.

Thursday, 3 February – At Sea.

With first indications of clouds and rain, I took my time preparing for breakfast, arriving just before the closing hour.  By the time I was finished, Jenny (who had moved over to chat with me about Lord Wedgwood) and I were the last ones left in Omar’s section.  He even had to shake the saltshaker for me!  No flowers or anything superfluous on the table. 

I sat with Fran and the Lees where we stitched the labels till time to attend the lecture on the first New Zealand pilgrims in 1850. “The Canterbury Pilgrims” by Dr. Paula Smith.

Noon Readings:  S38˚ 39.4′ x E 178˚ 32.3′   Rhumbline 195˚:  Wind: 9 mph and 25 knots over the deck.  Slight seas and low swell.  The foghorn has been frequently in play as the fog banks come and go.  I saw an interesting squall under dark clouds in the distance.  We are 14 miles off shore, but we can’t see land for the mist.

Violet and Jean joined me for lunch by the window in Mauretania.  They wanted to hear about the Tandem crossing in 2004 with QE2 and QM2.

Peter Garland and Maria Bienquez showed their videos of the parachute jump.  I went to the Theatre to see this very short showing.

I spent most of the afternoon in my cabin knitting and watching television.  “Lord of the Rings.”  Saw the six fifteen movie “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.”  It was super science fiction and beneath the talent of Gwenyth Paltrow and Jude Law!

Dinner in the Lido was a rather stark affair with no tablecloths, no salt and peppershakers and so on.  I ate alone overlooking the fantail and wake in the still light evening glow, if glow can describe thickening fog.  As a matter of fact the fog horn has operated most of the

day.  On my way out I sat with Gemma as she brewed her tea.  Her friend Leann came to join us as we chatted about Cape Cod and concerts she attends.  They both recommended I would like an Antarctic trip some day.  I’ll look into it.

Now back in the cabin it is obvious Annemie is not on duty because various aspects are different.  QE2 continues on smoothly in fog.  We are due at eight o’clock tomorrow.

 Friday, 4 February – Lyttleton, NZ – S43˚ 36.4′ x E172˚ 43.5′

When I got up at six o’clock, we were headed for two lights.  One lighthouse was flashing from a wooded area and the one dead ahead flashed like a pulsating light.  I presume the one to the right was closer and afforded calculation of an angle for entering the heads.  Weather looks rainy. – It never did rain, thanks be!  The Lyttleton Town Crier was on hand as we turned around and were sidled to the dock.  A freighter followed us in and docked right behind us.  I conversed briefly with Mr. Town Crier after asking him to look up for a photo.  He told me about the Ball Castle.  At noon every day the ball dropped so mariners could check their chronometers.

Once on the bus we climbed over the Evans Pass to the Canterbury Plain where sits Christ Church.  During the visit we stopped and drove through Sumner, a City garden and museum, by the Avon River, more like a stream, Woolston, Cathedral Square, Hegley Park, and had a thorough tour of Dean’s Old House and Riccarton House.

Lunch was served under an avenue of trees in the private gardens of Millstream Gardens.  They have cultivated four acres into many sections of English style gardens.  Their modern, white house I quite spectacular, though not on a large scale.

On the way back to the ship some of us got off at Cathedral Square so we could take photos and shop.  I then took the shuttle bus back through a tunnel under Evans Pass.  It is sunny and warm now.

I went on deck to do a bit of reading and sunlight photography and as departure time approached, various sailboats, a ketch and a yawl, came by to see us.  Then a wonderful sight came steaming up, a steam tug, converted to an excursion boat – full of spectators.  When finally near six o’clock, we were pulled away from the quay by bow and stern, and we went forward, the boats accompanying us as QE2 sounded her whistle and boats especially, the tug, replied.  By this time, I was at dinner and still the tug, Lyttleton, came with us till the heads.

I tried a portion of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” but didn’t stay long.  When I returned to the cabin at 8:30 I did my laundry.  Happy to be back at sea again!

 Saturday, 5 February – Charlotte Sound

James Cook was here in Feb. 1770.  “The best laid plans…”  When I had breakfast with Jenny by the windows it was foggy.   The sun burnt through and then Captain McNaught came on the Tannoy to announce the Charlotte Sound was still too foggy, so we will not be doing that.  However, we had to enter the wide expanse in order to drop off the Pilot so we got very clear views of both sides in clear sun.  I stood forward just behind the re-installed Lion logo for quite a while until we dropped off the Pilot and did a 180˚ turn back out.  By that time it was lecture time by Paula Smith on Abel Tasman and I took copious notes.  Two small islands “Brothers.”

Morning readings:  A40˚ 58’x # 174˚ 17′  Noon readings:  S40˚ 37.9′  x  E174˚ 17.7′  Rum 336˚.  Slight sea, low swell.

Since I was on deck and the sunny, mild weather beckoned, and the hills of the South Island were still visible to Port as we crossed the Cook Strait, I remained through lunchtime.  I ordered a club sandwich from the Board Room and continued reading my Bryson book.

I had previously made an appointment for a haircut at two fifteen, so I went to the Lido for ice cream dessert and managed a short visit with Nellie and Marguerite till time.  My operator is from the Lake District and she did a good job on my hair.  The three fifteen movie was “The Stepford Wives” so I went there.  The rest of the afternoon I was with Perle on Starboard bow deck watching the beautiful blue and streaked clouded sky till I had to leave for dinner.  A message from the Purser’s office – I must sign Australia card.  Oops!

Dinner with Connie, Fred and Nettie.  I had salmon, banana caramel and ice cream.  Sat with the Lees for the show.  Annie Frances sang superbly pop plus folk and even a great yodel song.  She is versatile and forceful but very pleasant and beautiful.  Horlicks on aft deck – chat in Queens Room with the Lees.  Back at the cabin by ten o’clock.  Annemie has returned.

 Sunday, 6 February – Tasman Sea

The day is sunny and nearly calm.  I had breakfast with Vernon and eventually, Myra, Margaret her sister, and husband.  I showed them the dolls.  Shortly after this I met with the Lees and Violet was with them.  She offered $105 for the Cinderella doll so we went to her tiny single cabin, 3024 and then the Purser’s Office to cash her checks and leave the money for the 2005 charity.

Armed with the thrill of selling the doll, I headed for Boat Deck boat eight for the rest of the morning reading Bryson till the noon fix:  S37˚ 55.6′ x E 165˚ 12.2 ‘:  Temperature 68˚ F.  Compass 290˚ northwest by north.   Slight seas and low swell.

On my way indoors I stopped to chat with the Sagars baking in the sun.  They hadn’t heard I’d be away three days.  They want me to let them know when I return on Saturday.  This absence if highly anticipated since I will take the Indian Pacific train across the entire continent of Australia.  I continued on to lunch in the Lido with Violet and the Lees.

Most of the afternoon I spent in my cabin with my knitting and television.  However, I emerged for Dr. Paula Smith’s lecture on Captain Cook’s life up to the end of the “Endeavour” exploration.  Again I took copious notes.  I returned to the cabin where an invitation to the Captain’s World Cruise party awaited me.  It must have been an afterthought because it is very late to change my plans for the movie and Lido.  I did though and went to dinner then the party late.  I was about the last person to shake his hand and enter the Queen’s Room.  I chatted briefly with Holly, then I went over to the ice sculptures and various features of shrimp, hors d’oeuvres, and a cake decorated for WC 2005 with a wheel.  After wandering among the hordes I worked my way past the Lees and out the back to save three seats for us in the Grand Lounge.  I was late for our usual seats, but got three in the right back section.  The guitarist was young, very adept and varied in his interpretations.

I went to the cabin via my usual route along Boat Deck as dusk closed in.  QE2 proceeds majestically westward in the unusually placid Tasman Sea.  I looked up along Boat Deck with a welling up of emotional love for my favorite ship!  If only I could preserve this sight and feeling forever!  Clocks back an hour.

 Monday, 7 February – Tasman Sea

After a late breakfast at my table sharing with the Lees and Jenny, I headed to Boat Deck and stayed there under boat 8 all morning.  At first it was almost too cool for short sleeves but I was in the lee of stacked life rafts and with my scarf over my head, I was very comfortable as the sun gradually peeked into my nook.  The water is a deep “nautic” blue with light shafts piercing feet into the depths.

Noon Fix:  S35˚ 26.9′ x E 156˚43′:  Direction: 290˚ Rhumb line course:  Speed: 12 knots.  Wind South by west 13 knots making 20 knots over the deck.  Slight sea and low swell.  75˚ F.

We will pass the heads at four in the morning and I plan to be up there.  We have to be so early because the harbor is very busy with ferries at rush hour, and we need to be out of the way by then!  We will also leave early on Thursday for the same reason.

At lunchtime I located Nellie, Violet and Jean and joined them.  Jean says Mary M. still asks her if she has bought her book, and also refers to her talent show performances. Jean answered no to both questions!  I left them and cashed $200 worth of money into Australian money for tips and my shore time. 

At the digital camera lecture some of John Sagar’s photos were used, especially his shot of the funnel cleaners, which reminded me I didn’t make note at the time.  Many men were using repelling lines to scrub the top black part, which I suspect was very hot work.  They were in white uniforms.  I wish I had taken a picture too.  I think this was done in Auckland.

At dinner we took photos of each other at our table, and I distributed my tips to Omar, Sheshank and Tin.  I then sat with the Lee at the show, a combination of three stars, including Annie Frances.  I was back in the cabin by nine thirty but not before my evening walk along Boat Deck.  It was late dusk, clear and crisp.  I tried a photo along Boat Deck in evening lights.  Clocks back one hour.