Sunday, 26 of May of 2024

2008 Farewell World Cruise – Part 5

Hong Kong to Hawaii

Friday, 14 March: Hong Kong: 22˚ 3’ N x 114˚ 7.6 E

I awoke near six thirty to a misty early morning.  Around 7:30 I saw the first island appearing through the fog.  I went to the Lido to stake my claim by a starboard window till Jannie appeared.  We could see a fire tug forward as the ship slowed to a crawl.  I think the props must have been put in reverse to slow us quickly – thus shaking the stern at a great rate.  Each pointed mountain island appeared to starboard with its high-rise buildings more and more bunched together.  The occasional crane barge, towed by a tug was passed by us and eventually the orange pilot boat came along side to embark the Pilot, who then guided us into the huge cargo docks – past a new bridge in the early stages of construction, then to the port into a narrow, dock-lined channel and finally tied up by 9:40.  What a contrast to the fabulous view of the Hong Kong passenger terminal and the brazen insult of packing QE2 into the midst of rust, grime and clutter of the cargo area.  The sky is overcast, but the sun occasionally breaks through, burning off the mist.

I gave Andre the Sheseido white bag, which he wordlessly and graciously accepted.  He has a girl friend on board to whom he will give it.

Jannie and I took a Shuttle Bus to the Ocean Terminal where resided “Star Aquarius” and “Crystal Serenity.”  (I have since learned that the Crystal Cruise Line is a Japanese owned company and they try to keep that fact very low key.)  We two did all of our shopping at the Chinese Arts and Crafts store.  We had been given promotional literature in a nice bright red tote bag with the words: “Hong Kong: Live it, Love it:” I checked out Dianne Frieze,  but found nothing to take my fancy and wandered a bit upstairs in the Star Computer Centre – and found a small Mac store on its own!  We both agreed we had enough so we simply returned “home” on the bus, ate lunch at 1:30 in the Mauretania and parted.  The atmosphere is still misty but pleasantly warm outside.

A whole new crew shift has come aboard and will have induction in the Theatre.  I slept a couple of hours, then started a new knitting project, rather than sit on deck watching cargo being shifted everywhere,  I skipped dinner in the Maury so I could eat with the usual friends in the Lido.

Jannie and I sat together at the flute concert by Claire Langdon, a vivacious and very accomplished musician.  I heard I missed a local show, alas!  Jannie and I then shared a pot of Cammomile tea while watching our departure.  Tugs pulled us backward and away from the dock and assisted our stern pivot to starboard for a forward exit toward the channel.  The stern tug stayed tethered longer than I thought necessary, but finally dropped back while we proceeded under the partial span of the new suspension bridge.  When Jannie and I parted, I came across the Socketts and Joan and John, so chatted briefly: then on to the Lees by the Library.  Eric says we will crawl to Shanghai to make it last two days.  I then went on to the cabin by eleven as we slowly accelerated.

Saturday, 15 March:

I had breakfast with Carole Lunde, then changed to the Boultons’ table.  Sat with the Lees knitting during the quiz then went to Peter Crimes’ lecture on Shanghai.

It is cold and damp outside with occasional whitecaps.  The whole ship inside is noticeably cooler.  We have been notified that Puerto Moin, Cost Rica is cancelled and Cartagena, Colombia will be substituted.  I am happy for the change.

At noon we have a head wind, which is hampering our progress.  Only 3 engines are on line going 16.6 knots.  23˚05.9’ N x 117˚34.3 E.  Course: 056˚True @16.5 knots.  Temp: 18˚ C or 65˚ F.  North northeast wind F5 = 18 knots, thus 35 knots over the decks.  Moderate seas, moderate northeast swell.

Jannie and I had lunch with Janet and Roger, and they found lots of familiar spots in common back home.  Then the Socketts collected their computer and I stayed all afternoon in my cabin knitting till time to attend the Ensemble cocktail party.  I met two ladies from Bar Harbor who love Cape Cod too.

During dinner with my tablemates, Audrey received a Birthday cake with waiters’ chant of good wishes.  Chocolate fudge! Yum!  For a while afterward, Audrey and I sat in the Grand Lounge chatting with others till the show, when I headed down to the cabin.  On the way I saw Valerie Hujlich and we plan lunch in the Golden Lion Pub at one o’clock tomorrow.  I see by the channel 4 charts that we are passing Taiwan in the Strait of Taiwan, (Better known to me as Formosa Strait), and we are still leisurely going at 18.7 knots, slow as Eric predicted.

Sunday, 16 March:

Palm Sunday.  This morning finds us steaming along at a mere 16 knots in very calm seas and very little motion.  It is overcast and cool to say the least.  I awoke after six o’clock and knitted to the end of my soft green yarn so have to put away that scarf project for now.

This has really been a sort of nothing day for me, because there were no lectures per se, but I had breakfast with Carole after nine o’clock and generally wandered till I found the Lees, who pointed me to Yacht Club in search of Jannie.  I joined her little quiz group and when that was over we attended Yoyo’s and Anna’s lecture on Cunard cruises and World Club privileges.  That took us to the noon report, which I heard in the Grand Lounge, because it was too wet and cold outside.  28˚14.3’ N x 122˚ 15.1’ E, which put us 18 miles off China.  Rhumb line 030˚ True, 16.2 knots average 17.1 knots with only 230 nautical miles to go:  haze 13˚C – 55˚ F.  Northeast wind at Force 2 = 5K.  20 K on deck.  Slight seas, northeast low swell.

Valerie Hujlich and I were going to eat at the Golden Lion Pub, but when we got there it was full and jazz was about to start.  Fortunately, Jannie and Valerie agreed we would go to Mauretania, which we did on Port side.  We parted afterward.  I chatted briefly again with the Lees, who told me we will have to submit to fingerprinting and a photo when we enter Japan.  I saw the movie“ Stardust,” a fantasy.

After formal dinner, with new waiter Ravi from Mauritius, and without Victoria, who has been sent to the far Port aft section.  I sat with Jannie for the recital by Annette Wardell.  She was very good but was fighting some vocal problems.  We had chamomile tea by a Lido window, which topped off our evening, and I was back in the cabin by 10:15 to prepare for the long tour tomorrow to Suzchou.

Monday, 17 March:  Shanghai: 31˚20.5’N x 121˚ 38.8 E.

I awoke at six o’clock to a black TV screen and cloudy daylight outside.  We were slowly (10k – 7.9K) proceeding up the river delta.  All I could see were ships anchored or moving along.  A very large tug came along side at 6:40,  and accompanied  us a long way, turned us around and with two other tugs, pushed us sideways to the dock.  Submerged containers were absent this time.

I had a muffin, milk and cranberry juice on my own, then reported to the Theatre for my tour to Suzchou.  We drove a long way – over 2 hours through city, small farms, apartment and home buildings, rubble and so on.  We visited the Embroidery shop and museum, and took a canal trip, followed by lunch and “Humble Administrator’s Garden.”   We were back at the ship by six o’clock, and whereas we left the ship on Four Deck Starboard between B and C, we returned to 2 Deck amidships.  I’m tired!

I ate alone at the Lido by the dock waiting for our departure.  However, it wasn’t until 8:30 that two tugs pulled us away, while a third waited off our bow till we were clear of the cargo ship ahead of us, then he moved to our starboard and pushed more on us to clear that ship.  By 8:45 we were slowly on our way back out Changjiang Kou (river.)  We have a long slow passage, because of the shallowness and many ships of all sizes coming and going.  This is all the Yangtze River Delta. The Hoang Fu River – constant shipping up and down.

I decided to remain in my cabin after a tiring day, but an enjoyable one.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Tuesday, 18 March:

As of nine o’clock new time we are still heading due East and sailing along at 29 knots to clear the continent and approach Japanese islands of Kyusku and transit the Osumi  Kaiky Channel – that is, between Tanega Shima 8 nautical miles to starboard and Kyoshu to Port 9 nautical miles.  We will continue northeast.

I joined Marguerite for a late breakfast, then moved over briefly to chat with Jean Lewis.  I had earlier decided to do the Japanese immigration procedure, which requires fingerprinting, and face photograph.  I also had to fill out a customs declaration, as well as a health report, which must be handed in when I disembark tomorrow.  I also cashed a $50 traveler’s check and exchanged it for 4,ooo Yen and US money back.

At eleven and twelve fifteen I attended Peter Crimes’ lecture and slides on Japan, then Marc Stanton’s on “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – about Mao and modern China.  Jannie and I were together and went from the Theatre to Mauretania for lunch at Portside windows.  We could faintly hear the foghorn.

Noon Report:  31˚01.8’N  127˚ 39.6’ E.  Rhumb Line 091˚, 29K – 27.5 Knots average.  Temp: 18˚ C and 64˚ F.  Wind from the East at Force 4 – 16 K – 45K on deck.  Moderate seas and short, low easterly swell.

I spent the afternoon in my cabin knitting.  Rain has predominated all day long.  Before dinner I checked my email for anything from Ben, and fortunately the satellite had kicked in after not operating this afternoon and Ben says he will be here by 3:00 P.M.

I was late to dinner because of the email stop, but I managed to catch up and was served my turkey with everyone else.  Afterward I sat with the Noonans, Shirley and Marguerite for another dessert and catch up session.  I had wanted to find Jannie but couldn’t, so I sat on the side for the show.  Fiesta dancing and singing.

I was back in the cabin by 9:30.  We are racing along at 32.7 knots.  WOW!!  I’m not kidding! I saw it with my own eyes on the channel 4 chart.  And within Japanese waters,  heading northeast 53˚.  In fact we have been pushing it all day.  I would like to hear McNaught’s comments! Gee we miss him! They must have been playing because 15 minutes later we were only going 30.1 knots, not bad either.

Wednesday, 19 March: Osaka, Japan. 34˚39.4′ N x 135˚ 25.8 E

At 6:30 I was awakened by the distant sound of our whistle blasting three times plus a short toot or two.  The familiar bridge and Ferris Wheel appeared ahead and I could see a few people watching in the early dawn from a quayside.  We were pulled and pushed sideways toward our berth to starboard and exactly where my porthole is I can see the entrance gate and traffic by the shopping center.

After a walk around Boat Deck, looking down at everyone taking photos with tripods, little and big cameras, and videoing the environs, I ate breakfast at table 103.  When I went to the Lido, I found Valerie Hujlich and chatted, speculating if there might be a welcome ceremony – we decided there was to be none.  I passed through to Queens Room and sat with the  Lees, while watching the authorities taking people’s temperatures.  May joined us a while.  There are various crew exercises going on, one of which is new to me.  Eric explained the Tank manning one,  that of cleaning fumes and sludge from the fuel tanks.  Also a must of Port Manning people was called for Grand Lounge, so I went to investigate and found it to be a roll call and dismissal.

I wandered a lot trying to find someone to chat with, eventually settling with Olive from Ireland, 2 Anns and a Carl, with whom I shared my “Norway” experiences in September 2001.  Lunch beckoned, so I went to the Lido.  Near two o’clock I left the ship to look in the shopping center and wait for Yoshimi and Ben, who appeared near to 3:30.  We first went around in the big wheel, while I took video of QE2 as we ascended.  We talked all the time catching up on all our activities, then when we were back down, we went to the shopping center for a snack.  They ordered crepe cone sweets – all very rich and yummy, and mine had whipped cream, cake cubes, strawberries and sweet beans, which seemed to me like currents.  Ben then bought us individual bottles of hot tea!

We chatted at the table, took photos to send home and eventually had to head back to the ship.  Hugs all around and fond goodbyes till May 10, their wedding date in LA.  I was back aboard by 5:30.

By the way, I slipped through the temperature taking routine, because I was supposed to have gone to Queen’s Room as one not leaving till the afternoon.

At 6:30 I heard the beating of those huge drums coming from a balcony of the Shopping Center, and then I realized we were already backing along the quay to do our pivotal turn around in the wider part.  I took the lift to Boat Deck and then only did I see the hundreds of people with umbrellas standing in the rain, taking photos and still shouting to friends.  The Big wheel was lighting up in neon reds, pinks, greens and blues alternately in expanding shapes.  The whistle blew one last time its 3 series plus a couple of toots.  Once turned around to Port, we were off for our six-day trans-Pacific run to Honolulu!  Rain and dark clouds had ruled the day alas!  Tug on bow pulling: and on stern pushing for the pivot by the stern.  Once under way, I remained in my cabin without dinner and knitted on the baby cap.

Clocks ahead one hour.

HIKAURA MARU is the ship anchored in Yokohama harbor.  The only remaining ship of the Japanese cruising ships in the 1940s.

Thursday, 20 March:

During the night I awoke to pretty active movement of the ship.  In fact, there was enough light to show us pitching so much huge waves were being forced up and over our bow, and the spray flew up and past my porthole.  I remained awake feeling the pitching and listening to the rushing waters and creaks inside my cabin.

At nine o’clock (I awoke late) we are going into the sun’s path still pitching, but to a lesser degree.  It has been several days since we could see sun!  I booked my Cartagena tour then chatted with the Lees till time for the Crimes lecture on Hawaii.  Jannie was there so we sat together in row 3 of the Balcony ( of course).

The noon report was more interesting than most because Capt. Perkins gave us a good description of last night’s storm, which he said was on no reports.  He called the seas “bumpy” and reported the winds were Force 11 or 12 – 80 miles per hour, and with our forward motion it was 100 mph.

32˚38.5N x 140˚ 13.8’ E:  Rhumb line 102˚ at 25.4 knots; average 23.5K:  Temp: 66˚ F.  Winds South southwest at Force 4 = 13 knots. 25 knots over the deck.  Moderate seas and short moderate southeast swell.

Jannie and I joined Janet and Roger for lunch by bright sunshine, then we parted.  I spent most of the afternoon in my cabin knitting and watching television, nothing special except “Billy Elliot.”

Tea with Jannie in the Lido followed by some pleasant time on the Lido aft deck watching our wake and the sloshing water as the pool was being filled with salt water. Dinner was supposed to be at six, but I was later.  No matter!  Rosina and I shared tales of our early ship travels, I in steerage in the 50s and she on the “Canberra” in similar circumstances.

Jannie and I sat in our seats an hour before the Doug Cameron violin show, and we reminisced about past cruises, and friends mostly Norma!  Back at the cabin after 9:30 for more knitting and television watching.  There is still a bit of welcome motion and water swishing plus occasional creaks within the cabin walls.  This afternoon, occasional waves blacked out my porthole!

Clocks ahead another hour!  Guess what!  As I settled in to sleep at 12:30 (new time). I saw moonlight in my porthole high in the sky.  I placed my small mirror in the porthole sill, and adjusted it so I could see the moon by reflection, and saw that it was indeed full!

Friday, 21 March:

First day of Spring.  Last night was full moon, and I managed to see it by reflection on my little mirror, because the angle on the porthole prevented my head from getting the right angle for viewing.  This was around one in the morning.

I awoke well after eight o’clock and managed to emerge around nine o’clock to check my email on my way up to Boat Deck, where I settled in sunshine.  The sun was out brightly but the air was a bit cool.  However, I managed to be almost comfortable till ten thirty when I admitted defeat and retreated to the Board Room for coffee, a tiny muffin and a short read before the lecture on the origin of the Pacific Ocean, and general geography of the tectonic plates.  Jannie did the last with me.  The speaker, Brian Ford has a marvelous humor streak.  We parted till lunch at one.  Meanwhile I returned on deck, sought a sunny spot on Port and again was almost cold.

Non Report:  30˚ 38.9’   x 151˚ 18.7’ E:  Rhumb line 102˚ – 25.3k; 24.7 k average.  Temp: 18˚C – 66˚ F.  Wind: Force 4 South at 4-8 knots. 26 Knots on deck.  Slight seas and southeast swell.

I had lunch with a Florida and New York couple.  Ravi gave me two crèmes caramel.  Yum!  I then saw the movie “Breach” again, about Hansen the US traitor.  Back in the cabin I finished sewing up the baby hat, but it is too small, alas.  Dinner in the Lido with Marguerite and Welsh Shirley.

The full moon rose in all its splendor right over the bow, making a bright path for us to cross.  I popped out to see it forward before retreating to warmth and the Lido.  I sat with Jannie for the show.  Frank Freeman (born and brought up in Kansa)s, sang in a superb and flawless tenor voice, almost silky timbre – from Bacharach to Broadway.  He is by far the best singer of the World Cruise so far!  One could learn a lot from his execution and control!  Again, I popped out to see and appreciate the full moon.  Knitting till late.

Clocks forward another hour.

Saturday, 22 March:  International Dateline:

Talk of a line voyage, we continue on course 102˚ on our diagonal Rhumb Line from Osaka to Honolulu in the virtually empty Pacific region.  The seas have flattened but it appears we are easing over very low swell.  I awoke after eight o’clock new time, showered, washed a T-Shirt, read the news and now the Lesson.

I attended two lectures “Forgotten Amateurs who created the modern world” and “Art Deco” influences.

Noon Report:  Sunny, 28˚37’N x 162˚ 15.8’ E ; 102˚ Rhumb Line. 25.2 knots.  Temp: 21˚ C = 69˚ F.  Southeast wind at Force 3 -= 27 Knots on deck.  Slight seas; Average low southeast swell.

I spent a little more time on deck then lunched with Jannie and the Socketts.  Once back on deck, I read my Bryson book in sunshine till time for the movie: “Hairspray” then decided to have tea as a tide-me –over till the cocktail party at 7:30.  Lo and behold, Jannie was just settling at a table for two aft, so I joined her.  More time on deck in pleasant late afternoon sunshine on starboard, gave me much pleasure reading and water watching.  I went to the Cruise Director’s cocktail party in the Queens Room, which was all decorated in Japanese style for the Cherry Blossom Ball.  Sat with Jannie.

Dinner in the Lido and back to the cabin.  Moonlight is dimly showing through clouds. I stayed up late watching the French dubbed “Pride and Prejudice” with Kira Knightly.  Just about finished the second green and yellow stocking cap.

On my way back to the cabin after dinner, I stopped in Queens Room for a brief chat with Valerie Hujlich and Elaine.  They were sitting by the dance floor during a lull.  By the way, Lilian Kent is engaged they say, and someone said she has a big rock on her finger.  Good for her.  She has looked a long time for this.

At midnight we are only at 167˚ Longitude, so we have a long way to go for the 180˚ needed to change from East Longitude to West.

Saturday, 22 March – second time ’round!!!!

Somewhere along the way we have crossed the International Dateline.  NOT!  Not until early tomorrow morning!

I spent most of the morning (after awakening late) on Boat Deck under boat 12 in shade while the sun climbed almost right over the bow stern line!  At eleven I attended the lecture on why we now believe Marco Polo never went to China!  I took the noon report on deck.

26˚30’N x 173˚ 15’ E.  Rhumb Line 102˚ True.  25.1 knot speed, 25.1 average:  24˚C = 75˚ F.  We have 1617 nautical miles to go to Honolulu.  East wind at force 3 – 7 knots, 32 knots on deck.  Slight seas an short, low easterly swell.

I met Jannie for lunch by a window in the aft part of the restaurant, then we parted.  I returned to the deck briefly till two thirty when I saw the movie:  “Because I said So.”

Tea was under way so I set up in the Lido where Aussie Elaine joined me.  When Jannie came I moved to her table and we went outside to sit in the sun.  When I spotted Frank Freeman sitting by the kiddie pool, I went to chat with him a long time.  He is 51 and plans to move to Cape Town area from Holland.  He has had mostly a European Broadway type career.  He was educated all over the US.  We compared notes on singing and shared CS soloing experiences and healings.

I had dinner with my mates, then sat ages with Jannie waiting for the Elton John dance and song tribute- all well done.  Walking forward along Boat Deck there was visible only a bright moon streak ahead to starboard, the result of a mostly cloudy sky.  Now that I am back in the cabin, I can see that lit up area is still to starboard but not enough to light up our bow.  It is my hope to be awake around three o’clock to see Longitude change from East to West.  Moonlight is peeking through my porthole (one o’clock)  Clocks ahead one hour.

By the way, Jannie and I spotted a gull of some sort way out here in the no-where of the Pacific.  Perhaps he knows of land of which we are unaware!

Sunday, 23 March: Easter

In the not so wee small hours of the morning, 3:42 to be exact, we finally reached 180˚ or the actual dateline.  However, even though I remained awake to observe the moment, the rotating charts deprived me of the moment so all I could note was 179˚ 50’ something East, then the next GPS chart showed 179˚ 59’ West and then I could go to sleep!  Grrr!  It wasn’t till nearly five o’clock that I finally dropped off.  I awoke at ten thirty still feeling weary.  After showering I felt I could face the day as we gently plowed onward in calm waters some thirty nautical miles or so north of Midway Island – a significant WWII island and now a wildlife refuge.

I went directly on Deck and settled on Port side into a deck chair for the rest of the morning in shaded sunshine and miled comfortable air.  I continued to read my Bill Bryson tome through the noon whistle and report:  24˚24.8’ N x 175˚55.4’ West.  Course: 102˚T speed 27.2 Knots and average 26 knots.  Temp: 24˚C = 72.5 F.  Slight seas and short, low, easterly swell.

When we were warned of a potential rain shower, I retreated to the Board Room where I chatted with Carole Lunde till lunchtime.  As usual, Jannie and I met and took a table for 4 in Omar’s section, and were later joined by a couple from Greece and UK.  Omar was missing, but Paula aptly filled in.  I saw the movie, “Invasion” then returned to my cabin to find an Easter Bunny in chocolate plus a bowl of jellybeans and chocolate foil eggs.  The sun is peeking through my porthole as we smoothly proceed.  The television is showing “Midway.”  I ate in the Lido with Bill Noonan, and eventually Marguerite (she is a Mrs.) came over from the ladies’ foursome when the others left for the show.  Marguerite came to my cabin to collect the Coolie hat I promised her and I reciprocated to her cabin (a tiny single) to see her lovely silk crane purchase and two beautiful lacquer screens of mother of pearl and painted figures on the reverse side.  Clocks ahead another hour.

Monday, 24 March:

I awoke near seven o’clock new time, wishing to continue sleep, but it didn’t happen.  The sun rose directly ahead of us in a hazy brilliant sky.  We have crossed the Tropic of Cancer and are presently at 22˚ North.  I found Jannie in the Pavilion just as both of us prepared for breakfast.  I spoke briefly with Doug Cameron about his work with students in master class type musical sessions.  I eventually settled on very windy Boat Deck to read till it became uncomfortable, so I went to Grande Lounge amid all the ship-wide ships safety sessions.  I sat with the Lees and we were joined by Joan and John Waterfield (4009) till we had to move over to Grand Lounge for the Country Fayre planning session.  I volunteered to sit at the Egg guessing stall.

While waiting for the 12:30 talk on Children Migrants to Australia from UK, I sat on the top steps to the Balcony with Tony Boulton.  He too wondered why we didn’t hear the noon report, and wonders never cease – then the Officer of the Watch came on the Tannoy with apologies and the following:  22˚17.9’ N x 165˚ 8.9’W: 200 miles off Niihau – Rhumb Line 102˚ 25.2 K wind:  South Force 3 – 7 knots – 26 knots on deck.  Temp: 22.5˚  72.5 F:  Slight seas, short, low easterly swell.

The talk “Chip Off of What Block?” was moving and a revelation to me regarding how after WWII up to 6,000 children were shipped to Australia (orphans supposedly).  Jannie and I had lunch at a portside window rather late, I had chili con carne.

After waiting a long time in line for Brian to replace two watch batteries, he told me the batteries were okay.  However, the Citizen is worth repairing, the Bijoux Ternier – not worth it.  I took the sailor dolls back for now.  Delivered my blue dog to Marie’s table.

The rest of the afternoon I spent in my cabin knitting, watching television and napping till dinner time in Mauretania.

I saved Jannie a seat in the Grand Lounge anticipating Frank Freeeman’s half hour with the comedian John Evans.  The latter, a Brit, was quite humorous, but alas, Frank wasn’t well so didn’t sing.  We left during the orchestra fill in music to have ice cream and chamomile tea.  When we parted I talked briefly with the Boultons, Ken and Jill Halpin and was introduced to Sharon and another friend.

My route home via Boat Deck was moist.  All the railings on port have been varnished.  I looked over to the passing waters and upon turning to go in, a security man popped out the door and said “good evening”.  I always think I’m being spied upon when this happens.

As I settle in for sleep at eleven o’clock, the moon has risen in the East and our bearing at 94˚ allows for me to see the moon path to right of the television screen!

Tuesday, 15 March, Honolulu, Hawaii:  21˚18.1’N x 157˚ 57.9’W

At six o’clock I arose to report for Passport inspection.  The queue was wrapped around from the Library entrance to Queens Room clear back to the port side of the Lido and beyond by the time the officials came aboard.  As we stood, moving slowly by the Library, the “Diamond Princess” eased past us and settled at the Aloha Tower berth.  Grrr!  Now I understand why we are shunted off to Pier 2 as last year.  My idea is that Princess, which administers Cunard, took care of itself first.  Again Grrr!   When the inspection was completed (my passport that is) I returned to my cabin and finding my telephone works in the cabin, I phoned both boys.  At present the Five Deck gangway at B-C is being erected.

When ready to head out I walked past the Maritime Museum and “The Falls of Clyde” to the Aloha Tower area, looked around, made phone calls and waited for the Hilo Hattie’s bus.  Once at Hilo Hattie’s I only bought some nuts for Chris and headed to Ala Moana center to browse.  Then when back at the ship I had lunch in the Lido and napped.

Cunard 2008 World Cruise Dinner

At 5:40 I met Marguerite and Rosemary as we went for our bus.  We had a brief historical tour before arriving at the Convention Center for cocktails on the roof and the banquet inside the very large hall decorated with at least 50 tables with tall water vases and white orchids.  Two screens were used to display the promo video of “Queen Victoria.”  Carol Marlow addressed us with the usual history and hype, assuring us that the QV will be fitted with drawers.  She obviously has heard the complaints.  Captain Perkins was merely the host.  Entertainment had hula and Tamera dancers, uli players – the Hawaiian Royal Court and Honor Guard, all of whom acted their parts as the Hawaiian history was narrated.

I sat at table 25 with Jeff Morgan as host.  He is chief provisions officer.  Perle Coles, Rosemary Buchart, Valerie Bennets and others whose names I did not get.  The menu consisted of a great pineapple, tomato (red and yellow) feta cheese, escarole salad, with pineapple dressing, sherbet, steak and lobster plus vegetables and rice, then chocolate cheesecake.  A champagne toast to the usual heads of governments and QE2 and all who have sailed in her, was presented by the Captain.  Dancing to a live band and various singers, was pretty much through the evening.  I left in the first bus at ten o’clock.  There was another gift waiting for us – a world clock!  Nice!

Wednesday, 26 March, Lahaina: 20˚51.7’N x 156˚41.3’W

The anchor dropping awoke me shortly after seven o’clock.  The day is sunny and warm.  I had breakfast in the Lido with Shirley Fitzgibbon, who asked me about Christian Science.  She seemed very interested.  On my way outside I paused briefly with Carole Lunde who was talking with Laurie Humphreys, the speaker about his transporting to Australia as a child.  I met him and joined the discussion.

As I walked along the deck and chatted with Rosina and Eddy, the Captain told us about two whales off the starboard bow, so we too spotted what appeared to be a female humpback and calf.

I went ashore around 10:30 and walked around till tired.  When returning I had to show picture ID, my bag was inspected and the electronic paddles were used on me!  Back at the ship I watched “Anatomy of a Murder” with Jimmy Stewart.   My lunch was Caesar salad by a port window in Mauretania on my own, then I spent most of the afternoon on deck reading and phoning different family etc.  At some point I moved further aft and found Rosemary and Doug Jackson, so I sat with them talking about all different subjects re: ships, especially their QV impressions and little space on QM2.

When I left them I found Jannie and stayed with her through up-anchor, turn around and our passage between Molokai and Maui on our way clear of islands for our course setting eastward at 28 knots.  Along the way, we could see random whales spouting and humping.  For dinner, Jannie and I sat with Anne and Tony, then, when Jannie left for the show, Audrey came to chat.  I then returned to my cabin.

We are now clear of the islands and settled on our course bound for San Pedro.  27.4 knots at compass 69˚.    Clocks ahead one hour.

Thursday, 27 March:

It has been mostly cloudy through the morning but seas have remained slight so QE2 is going on steadily and majestically as she is wont!  I found Jannie just starting her breakfast in the Pavilion after nine o’clock, so I joined her while we leisurely observed a lady doing her laps in the pool.  The waters were swaying forward and aft, showing we were pitching slightly.  I attended the two morning lectures, 1. Broadcast news techniques and bias. And 2. Los Angeles lecture by Peter Crimes.

Noon Report:  23˚ 50’N x 148˚ 9’ W:  Course: 70˚. 28.1 knots, 23.5 C – 74.3 F.  Wind: East Force 4 – 15 knots. 42 knots on deck.  Slight seas, short, low easterly swell.

Jannie and I ate lunch by a port window in the Mauretania: no thrill for either of us.  I checked my email.

The movie was: “Brave One” starring Jodie Foster.  When I couldn’t find Jannie at tea, I found a somewhat sheltered spot on starboard Boat Deck forward, but soon packed it in for my warm cabin till dinner minus Rosina and Eddy.  The show afterward featured Caroline Dennis, a “dynamic piano entertainer.”  Hard to take but when it was over, Jannie and I had warm drinks in the Lido with Anne and Tony.  Tony told a funny joke about a Mercedes and its taxi driver.  The Round emblem was his sight and he aimed at for a cyclist and veered away at the last minute.  However, the cyclist fell off his bike, and when the driver wondered how he could have hit him, the passenger said he got him with the back door!!!  Ha HA!  Clocks ahead another hour.

Friday, 28 March, Country Fayre Day.

I arose reluctantly after nine o’clock, and just managed to report for duty to decorate my stall, which is the Tour of the Hotel Stores.  By eleven I felt I could duck out for the Brian Ford lecture on the Rain Forest, so I went and sat with Jannie who flagged me down.

Noon Report:  27˚ 11.3 ‘ N x 137˚ 59.7 W:  Rhumb line 070˚ at 29.2 knots, 27.9 knots average.  Temp: 19˚ C – 66.2˚ F.  32 knots over the decks.  Slight seas, short, low, easterly swell.

Lunch with Jannie and Valerie Hujlich.  I served on the booth to take bids for the tour to the ships stores.  It turned out that the 2 top bidders got to go with Warren Smith who also intimated he would show them more!

Baked Alaska night.  Show time – Steve Stevens, trumpet, uke and singing with jokes.  Good.  Horlicks with Jannie before returning to the cabin by ten thirty.  Clocks one hour ahead again.

It has been very smooth sailing and when I was on deck before noon, quite cool.  I had no time for a return.  We are informed there would be no whistle blowing in San Pedro!  Grrr!  Noise abatement move.

Saturday, 29 March:

I had a late start this morning, but that doesn’t matter since nothing took my fancy till eleven o’clock.  Seas are so calm we are moving almost imperceptibly.  At noon after the Brian J. Ford lecture about dumbing down education, the Captain announced we were going 30 knots during the night with all 9 engines going.  We currently are on only 8 engines.  Noon report:  30˚56.1’ N x 126˚03.1’ W:  28.2 knots:  15˚C – 59.2’F.  Wind: Northwest at Force 3 – 7 knots and 28 knots over the decks.  Slight seas, short, low, northeasterly swell.

Jannie and I joined the Socketts for lunch, then I prepared for the talent show at three o’clock.  Earlier I had warmed up by singing off the taffrail.  I did my usual “Mother Hubbard” routine, which was well received again.  A girl came up to me expressing her understanding of the local choral societies or church choirs!   I then had tea with Jannie, Shirley and eventually Rosemary, but I wanted to change my clothes so left them.

At dinner Tony told me Rosina’s sir name is Down.  We all had a good time talking about Mary and Bridge. (the game).    The performer was a Paraguayan harpist named Francisco Iglesias, and he played very energetically, especially the special Paraguayan pieces, and we all responded enthusiastically.  By nine thirty I was back in the cabin ready for a night without hours ahead!