Saturday, 22 of June of 2024

2007 World Cruise – Part 5

Queen Elizabeth 2 World Cruise 2007

Yokohama, Japan – Durban, South Africa

 Tuesday, 6 March – Yokohama, Japan – 35˚ 27.1′ N x 139˚ 32.9′ E

The ship rolled a lot last night and a little past one o’clock, during a most pronounced sideways lurch, the water tray slid off the bureau and a glass shattered.  I cleaned it up then, and couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time.  At least I awoke in time to grab a muffin and report to the Theatre by seven-fifteen and was on my way well before eight.  Our bus took us across numerous bridges, along freeways to three major stops.  Maji Temple Shinto Shrine, Edo Castle and most wonderful Japanese lunch prepared at our table, then the Akasuka Temple and shopping stalls.  We were back by three-thirty, and fairly promptly the ship was pulled away from the dock, turned around and headed out of the harbor under the beautiful new suspension bridge.  I fell asleep.

I ate in the Lido on my own, then joined the Lees and company for a nice chat about the lurch, damage etc., then stayed for the fine performance of the pianist from Shanghai, Tiar Jiang.

The ship is passing through the Inner Sea, along lit up shoreline.  However, around ten o’clock, when I turned on the channel 3, there appears to be a strong wind on starboard beam and we get bashed by the occasional wave.  She is also listing noticeably to port and my closet door wants to stay open.  Water and spray occasionally washes up over and along the bow to the Bridge windows. 

Without the A/C going, I actually woke up cool enough to want the duvet over me.  Now, that’s a welcome change!

A leak of some sort developed under the Lees’ shower and poured into the alleyway.  Eric said it is because of the starboard list we’ve been having.  I suspect it was at the roll we had last night.  Tokyo Bay.

Wednesday, 7 March – Osaka – Osaka Bay.

We were docked near nine o’clock but it was ten before the ship was cleared.  Meanwhile the tour people piled up so much they had to tell people to go to the Grand Lounge when the Theatre filled up!  I decided to take the Osaka tour at the last minute and was on bus 18, able to sit alone in the back row.  We saw the Shitennoji Buddhist Temple (quite extensive), and the Osaka Castle; the latter was way up a long road and granite way to the top of a hill.  The views were spectacular over the city and harbors.  We returned to the ship just before three o’clock and the restaurants had been kept open for us.

The Osaka amusement center is right next to our dock, complete with its huge Ferris wheel.  Our bow faces the suspension bridge.  There was a welcome ceremony in Queen’s Room at eleven, but I had chosen the tour instead.

After a quick lunch, I went to the complex next door and wandered around trying to find something to spend my last 100 yen, but there was nothing of interest to me.

Dinner was with Carolee and Bob as the evening lights came on, including the slowly turning Ferris wheel, which I photographed before heading down to the cabin to watch “Pride and Prejudice.”  We are due to leave at eleven.

Imagine my surprise, when just as I was drying myself off from my shower, the alarm bell went off just forward of my forward wall.  I thought it prudent to dress and check it out, and just then an officer passing by explained they were closing the water-tight doors on Six Deck and the Five Deck bells went off.

I think we backed a lot, then proceeded out of the complex harbor toward a bank of flashing lights and through a gap in lights to more distant lights. 

 Thursday, 8 March – Yellow Sea

After breakfast on my own in the Lido, I sat with Sheila from Toronto for a long chat till nearly time for Richard Hayman’s talk on Shanghai, followed by Judy Cornwell’s talk on “Surviving ‘Keeping Up Appearances.'”  Lunch ensued with Celia from Oxford and Wales and eventually Paula joined us.  I spent the afternoon with the Lees in Queen’s Room, then with Paula we talked till teatime.  I am now knitting tea cozies.

Noon Report:  34˚8’N x 133˚1’E – into the China Sea.  Speed: 16 knots.  Course: 233˚ True. Temp.: 54˚F.  Wind: Northwest at Force 5 – 25 knots over the decks.

Since Paula and I get along so well, and since she most always eats in the Lido, I decided to join her for the whole meal.  She has had jobs in America in the early sixties, including Jordan Marsh in Boston so she knew about Cape Cod.  By nine o’clock we parted and I headed to my cabin.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 9 March – Yellow Sea

Breakfast again with Marilyn, Nancy, Leeann and the Brit friends.  I attended Gail Seymour’s tour lecture, then found the Lees some seats on starboard side of the Grand Lounge away from the smokers and knitted all while the cooking demonstration was going on. 

The Yellow Sea is shallow and actually has a yellow-green look, and also there are lots of little fishing boats and lobster pot buoys, through which QE2 plows at the rate of 16 knots.  Jenny and Paula joined me for lunch, and afterwards we attended the RADA performance of Shakespeare excerpts.  The next thing for me to do was simply return to the cabin for a television session and knitting.  Dinner in the Mauretania was with my tablemates and then I enjoyed the piano concert by Tian Jiang – who is most virtuoso; “whizbang” with real class! 

We are slated to dock at 2:30 AM because of high tide, which the ship needs.  The noon report was: 31˚6’N x 124˚E:  Speed: 16 knots (18 miles an hour)  Slight seas and negligible swell.

 Saturday, 10 March – Shanghai. 31˚ 25’N x 121˚ 38.8 E

I awoke to a foggy, misty day, so there wasn’t much point in videoing the harbor.  However, I was intrigued to see numerous containers dumped into a backwater by the ship, pretty much in a long line by a tugboat dock!

I reported for my Shanghai tour and we were off to see the TV Tower, the Bund, The Children’s Palace (a school for the arts, set in a former European style mansion).   A little girl in blue danced with me!  A walk through Chinatown and Yuen Gardens, lunch at an old Cathay Building – Buddhist Temple, walk by the river and back to the ship way down at the cargo port.  We were back by five o’clock.

After dinner in the Maury, I joined Janet, Marguerite and Jeri for dessert and a long chatting.  I talked with Eric a long while by the Library, then sat with two Brit ladies for the Acrobat show.  Wow!  “AIFU”

 Sunday, 11 March

We left at 12:30 last night.  I am writing this with the fake Mont Blanc pen acquired yesterday on our bus tour!  As usual I was sitting way in the rear of the coach, and a couple sitting with me acquired a handful of pens, watches and other trinkets from vendors who tossed the stuff through the window for a at twenty dollar bill (I think), and with so many pens in his lap, the man gave me two!

I had breakfast late with Jenny and then attended Richard Hayman’s talk on Hong Kong – followed by my delivery of the first tea cozy.  I changed money for Hong Kong dollars and allotted tips for my stewards and Sylvia.  David leaves for vacation in Hong Kong when Omar is due to return.

Course: 209˚  Position: 28˚12.6N x 122˚11′ E.

I had lunch with the Berlin gent, Albert, and we discussed the special high -speed train in Shanghai to the airport.  He knows all the engineering.  We also got deep into digital cameras.  I then sought out Eric and Margaret, having decided not to participate in the Talent Show.  Paula came along and I videoed the beautiful Viennese Tea display and shared the festivities with her in Queen’s Room with an Aussie couple.  Paula and I then went to dinner together.

 Monday, 12 March – Hong Kong – 22˚ 17.7 N x 114˚ 10′ E

The foggy weather greatly hampered the view of Hong Kong as we slowly wound our way past Stanley Peninsula and through the anchored ships, barges, dredges and cranes and past the high-rise buildings along the way.  We were docked by 11:30 AM, so I had lunch with Celia, Jenny and Claude (French woman) before heading out along Salisbury Road and Nathan Road.  I searched for a hairdresser, and had a hair cut.  I also visited the Diane Fries shop, bought more DV cassettes and returned to the ship for tea.

After dinner alone at my table, I headed for Boat Deck to watch the fantastic Laser Show on the buildings across the harbor at eight o’clock.  “Pisces” went out and “Wasa Queen” came in.  I also made a couple of phone calls back to the States, and was in bed by eleven o’clock.

Omar is back!  David is gone home to Sri Lanka!

 Tuesday, 13 March, Hong Kong

I shared breakfast with May, who unknowingly tempted me to have crisp bacon, eggs and tomato when she expressed alacrity for what she had before her! Yum!  After a fiasco trying to coordinate with Gisele, I set out on my own to retrieve my Gore-Tex jacket from the hairdresser, where I left it yesterday by mistake.  I am ever so glad I noticed it was missing, and for the fact that this past overnight was one of the added nights because of having to skip several ports.

I had called Geoff and left a message with Chris.  G. wants ethnic instruments still and Michelle wants teas from England.  Fortunately I am in a great place to purchase these things.

On my way to the hairdresser I overshot, and took a wrong road, thus quite happily I came across a shoe store and bought Clarke’s sandals.  I continued to browse till near noon when I returned to the ship for lunch in the Caronia Restaurant with the Garringers.  After lunch I spent the rest of the day on deck watching the harbor activities till five o’clock.  It became cloudy and mist most of the day.  Dinner alone- Lillian’s Birthday cake was shared with us diners in Omar’s section.  I returned to Boat Deck for the evening and sat with Linda and Paula till our departure at eleven o’clock.  A tug turned the ship around by causing it to pivot and we headed back out the way we came, dodging the numerous anchor lights of ships moored by the side of the channel.  Farewell you most spectacular port of all time!

 Wednesday, 14 March

I slept till nine o’clock after early rising as usual!  I chatted with Jean B. at the Lido, then spent the next two hours on deck while crew drills went on around us all.  Richard Hayman’s lecture on Vietnam was next and he told us about the places we will visit.

Noon Report:  19˚41’N x 112˚28’E.  Speed: 17.6 knots, Wind: Force 4 – Course: 230˚, slight seas, short easterly swell.

I wasted most of the afternoon back in the cabin, sleeping.  I did, however, see the movie “Prairie Home Companion,” followed by dinner with the Bishops in the Lido.  Clocks back one hour.

A nice commemorative pen gift was on my bed, along with notification of a $15 charge for the Vietnam Visa.

 Thursday, 15 March – Chan May, Vietnam. 16k 20′ N x 108˚ 1′ E

Since my tour to Hue was due to leave at 7:45, I gauged my muffin collection and deck check to coincide with reporting to the Theatre.  The fishing boats are long and narrow and one boat had about 6 coracles in tow.  My tour to Hue took us through rice paddies with water buffalo, aqua-culture pans, over a mountain pass with scary passing maneuvers, then gradual urban development with conical-hated people on motorbikes, bikes and so on, everywhere by their little stalls with the occasional three-storey dwellings looking posh in the midst of shabby tin and tarp-roofed stalls.  The main sights were the Imperial Citadel (2804-1835), Thien Mu Pagoda (1601), Tu Doc Royal Tombs and lunch in between at a nice hotel on the Perfume River.

We were back at the ship before five o’clock, most exhausted by the heat and humidity.  I bought a large yellow fan with a beautiful scene of the long bridge over the perfume river in Hue.

Janet and I dined together while we were leaving the harbor.  We shared one entrée plus potatoes.  It worked well!  We have ordered coconut shrimp for tomorrow!  When I went to chat with the Lees, Valerie Huljich was there, having come on at Hong Kong and she will leave in Singapore.  We got caught up quickly!  We saw the Benny Hill Comedian, Lenny Windsor.  The three doggies sold yesterday at the charity table.  Now I will try knitting pigs in pink!

 Friday, 16 March – South China Sea

I was a bit lazy and only emerged for breakfast near nine o’clock and sat with Jenny while enjoying my bacon and eggs.  I put my second tea cozy on the teapot, which attracted favorable comments from those around me.

Richard Hayman’s talk on Thailand was followed by brief chats with the Lees, then I chose a new book called the Plimsoll Sensation, which is brand new and I am the first to check it out.  This deals with the multi-year struggle to get regulations limiting the amount a ship could be loaded with goods.

Paula, Claude and I enjoyed lunch together and I had three crèmes caramels.  Saw the movie,  “The Departed.”  A horrible blood bath!

Noon Report:  11˚34’Nx 109˚9’E at speed of 20.5 knots.  Wind southwest at Force 3, rendering 25 knots over the decks.

At dinner, Janet and I had our specially ordered coconut shrimp, and the section manager added a spicy dip of honey and chili powder!  Not wanting to see the acrobat show again, I returned to the cabin early, missing the gala midnight buffet. 

The weather continues sultry with calm seas.  Boring!

Saturday, 17 March – St. Patrick’s Day.

So near to the Equator, in the Horse Latitudes at 9˚ or less, with no wind (only our forward motion) convinced me to stay inside all day.  I attended R. Hayman’s last lecture on Singapore and the talk on Benny Hill by Lenny Windsor and the afternoon movie “Flags of Our Fathers.”   In between I had breakfast with Marilyn and friends, and then lunch with Jenny by the great mural and Paula, having found me there, we retreated to the Crystal Bar to chat or better still, to bare our life’s experiences. 

I need to exchange my Cochin ticket so will do it at dinnertime.  St. Pat’s Day requires all to wear green, and a Leprechaun was seen occasionally!.  Actually I had dinner on my own and eventually moved over to visit Marguerite and Jeri in the Lido.  I waited too long in Queen’s Room for the entertainment so left, but managed to see the three Irish dancers practicing their steps.  It was very pleasant on deck during the evening.

Sunday, 18 March – Leam Chabang, Thailand – 13˚ 42’N x 100˚ 53.7 E.

Today was very hot and humid, so I decided to stay on board with the exception of a brief visit to the stalls inside the Terminal, where I bought a nice cotton wrap-around skirt.  I read my book in the Yacht Club, which always seems to be the coolest spot on the ship with the exception of the Theatre Balcony.  I chatted with Celia and Jenny in the Board Room and ate lunch in the Caronia with them and attended the movie “Inside Man.”  Teatime in the Queen’s Room rendered me with two delightful new acquaintances.  However, I retreated to the cabin, which is quite warmer than usual.

Dinner in the Lido was with Elaine and David, then Janet who had a good visit to the orphanage told us about it.  The local show consisted of lovely Thai dancing and I sat in the balcony with Frank.  Hot, hot, hot!

Monday, 19 March – Bangkok, Thailand.

I reported at seven o’clock for the bus tour to see the “off the beaten path sites” consisting of the Wooden Palace, cuisine demonstration and lunch, plus the Jim Thompson 6 Teak houses put together.  These were his home and he made them a museum.  The temperature wasn’t as hot as yesterday.  We also had a two-hour ride to the city and we reached the ship by five o’clock.

I had dinner in the Lido with Valerie and Bill Noonan.  The ship was two hours late leaving and when she did move, she backed up about a kilometer along a deep channel with cargo docks.  Then the tug in the stern – pulling her starboard, backed off and we slowly went forward.  The pilot was let off soon after, and as QE2 gathered speed the “gunboat” to starboard sped up also as we gradually turned about 90˚ to Port.  The forward wind grew to a minor gale, and I eventually went inside.  Clocks put forward one hour.

 Tuesday, 20 March.

I awoke late and emerged after nine o’clock, joining Jeri.  We both then joined the travel lecture on Indian ports and tours.  I eventually caught up with the Lees, who were busy consoling Betty (from our neighboring table with Martha and Mary), who was flooded out last night on 4 Deck.  That was the Priority One I heard.)  Lillian escorted her to John Duffy, who was most apologetic and appalled.  We trust things will be made right.

Valerie Huljich and I talked in the Yacht Club and ate together in the Lido, then I spent a long time with Eric and Margaret and read them the account of the Bridlington Gale in 1871 from the Plimsol Sensation book.  The movie was “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Noon Report:  7˚N x 103˚E:  Rhumb line 156˚: calm and no swell.  We had a thunderstorm in the afternoon.  Our speed: 26.6 knots.

I had collected my Passport by G stairway with everyone else after lunch.  We must have them for Singapore.  Dinner was in the Lido with the usual women, then I listened to the Cantabile quartet from England.  They are a very versatile group!  They sang a marvelous Psalm chant with a detailed weather report!  I loved every note and word, especially because it reminded me of my numerous times singing with The Royal School of Church Music in Salisbury Cathedral during this period.

Wednesday, 21 March – Singapore – 01˚17’N x 103˚45.7′ E.

We are docked as usual way out on distant quays!  I took the shuttle bus into town twice, #1 to buy my Sheseido cream from Tang’s, and after lunch, to video some of the changes in growth.  I walked under Orchard Road via intricate subways to Borders and other stores.  Rain poured down on the way back!

We had to show our Passports going and returning.  Lunch was with Gwendolyn in the Caronia Restaurant.  Dinner was in Mauretania with Janet.  We now have new tablemates from Australia, Diane and Golda.  We feel a bit at a loss, because they seem incompatible with us.  I went to the Lido with hopes of relief – with Bill Noonan, Geri, Marguerite and Valerie.  I watched ships being loaded, plus the very slow turn around and docking.  I was back in the cabin by ten o’clock.  We will leave an hour late because the oil bunkering started late.

Through the night I could see ship lights ahead of us, and the occasional light beacon blinking as we passed through the Straits of Malacca, the busiest waterway in the World (so they say).  Lightning persisted for a long time as well, so my cabin lit up a lot.  I have an appointment to eat with Paula for lunch in the Maury tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 March – Bay of Bengal.

I awoke early, probably because lightning flashed frequently for a long time.  I had breakfast in the Lido looking out to starboard as we passed a continuing array of tankers and cargo ships.  This continues all day since we are in very busy shipping lanes across the Indian Ocean.  I attended the two lectures, Gems, and how busy and potential a hot spot is the Indian Ocean.

Eric and Margaret were in the Grand Lounge, so I chatted and observed more ships from there.  The pink knitted pigs have embroidered snouts and eyes plus eyelashes, and look most charming, thanks to Margaret!  I went from there to meet Paul Bell for lunch, during which we related our Bangkok adventures, especially her experience at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel.  I had urged her to take this tour, because that marvelous hotel was where I stayed with the Select Traveler tour a year or two ago.  Such luxury!

Noon Report:  3˚42Nx 100˚ 4′ E.  Speed: 24.6 knots.  Course: Rhumb line 306˚ with light west northwest winds 35-40 knots over the decks.  We are still in the Malacca Strait.

Saw the movie, “Dream Girls,” then knitted till time for dinner at the Lido with Faith and Wendell Bishop.  Showtime presented Jennifer Fair, soprano from Dayton, Ohio and Kentucky.  She was very good.

I spent time on deck in clearing weather, counting up to ten boats or ships lit up with one running masthead light.  The moon is visible straight ahead and lights our path!  Bill Noonan was up there so we chatted, including the gripe about smokers in the Pub.  Valerie likes sing-alongs there.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 23 March.

I was awake by six o’clock new time and lingered, knitting until about nine.  I had my banana and nuts in the cabin.  I talked with the Lees and read portions of Plimsoll to them till time for the lecture on Afghanistan.  Terry Waite, Molly, Betty and Jim were in the Mauretania celebrating Betty’s birthday, so I joined them.

Before and after lunch I enjoyed deck time in beautiful, clear and delightfully comfortable low humid weather, then saw the movie “All the King’s Men.”

Noon Report:  6˚17′ N x 90˚ 34′ E.  Speed: 24.9 knots.  Rhumb Line 269˚ true.  Negligible swell and calm.  Wind speed over the decks, 21 knots.

I knitted till dinnertime, which Janet skipped,  so I had the 2 Aussies!  Brief visit to Geri and Marguerite in the Lido, then I sat a long time waiting for the Huber Marionettes.

The waxing crescent moon is to starboard while we cross her lighted path in the water.  Pleasant; and as always, a very welcome sight.

Saturday, 24 March.

After my late shredded wheat, I went to Boat Deck under number 14 to spend the rest of the morning reading and enjoying the calm seas as we continued to head westerly.  The Noon Report found us at 5˚ 24′ N x 281˚ West.  Note:  The Officer of the Watch gave the West reading, whereas Captain Perkins gives the East readings of Longitude!  Our speed average is 25.5 knots.  Course: 269˚ Rhumb line True.  Calm seas and “negative” swells from southeast.  I don’t know what was meant by that, but that is what I heard!  Humidity was relatively low.

I had lunch with Pierette and daughter Louise from Victoria.  I then caught up with Paula and we spent the next hour with the Marionette puppeteer, who answered questions and demonstrated their manipulations.  It turns out Phillip Huber is a grad of Principia College, 1973, and when I heard that, I contacted him and we made arrangements to meet for dinner in the Lido.  I too am a Prin grad.  Paula and I continued to chat and had tea in the Lido.  She introduced me to Helen, whose family has a house in Brewster!

I spent some time in my cabin and went to meet Phillip Huber.  We chatted incessantly about the Principia experience and his career.  Since I missed the show, I spent a short time on deck.  The humidity has picked up and the crescent moon was at its zenith.  Oh yes, on my way to dinner the other Ben spotted me on the run and yelled out my name, which was very impressive.”  We chatted a bit.  He is aft on portside of 3 Deck. Clocks back one and a half hours.

QM2 had to skip Alexandria, according to Phillip, because he was supposed to meet it there, and was sent to us.

 Sunday, 25 March, Cochin, India – 9˚ 58′ N x 76˚ 16′ E

We are docked at a man-made island, away from old Cochin.  My tour took us in vans for ten people, south to the backwaters of Alappuzha for a lovely ride on a wooden and rattan houseboat.  This was in Kerela.  The term is ketuvallam and plies Kerala’s canals.  The scenery was simple as we passed rice patties and small spice plantations.  We had a nice Indian lunch at the Mirmari Resort on the way back, and we were back on the ship after three-thirty.  It was very hot and humid, so I tried to cool down in the Board Room with iced water and sprite and cookies, as a group of us chatted.  I am glad I will stay on board tomorrow!

As usual, I ate in the Lido with my friends, and was back in the cabin by nine o’clock.  Cochin is where the unique fishing nets with multiple booms are placed along the shores of the sea.  Kerela is a province or state, and the earliest India DNA has been isolated.  Brahmin ancient chants tell about it.

Monday, 26 March – Cochin day 2.

I had breakfast, fruit plate, grapefruit and toast, with Jenny and a Brit couple, then sought out the Lees in Yacht Club, where it is comfortably cool.  I had vowed not to set foot outside in the humid heat, and only managed to stay comfortable in the cool of Yacht Club till lunch time!

During lunch with Paula and two California women, we watched the shore workers in whites, tour buses, tour leaders etc, waiting to see us off.  The ship’s whistle hooted at least three sequence times during pull away, turnaround and forward out the channel.  We passed by low, reclaimed land that will be part of the port, and also the old Cochin point with a few hotels, a pretty white Spanish-looking church and the special Chinese fishing contraptions with nets.

After the tour lecture I saw the movie “Trust the Man” at three-thirty.  After dinner with my tablemates I ventured on deck to enjoy the warm winds in first quarter moonlight as we proceeded northward.  I stood on observation deck dead center, looking forward toward many little boat lights.

When I returned indoors, I joined my usual ladies in the Lido till nearly nine, when I returned to the cabin.  The Indian flag has a “wheel” in its middle.  Ashoka Wheel of law.

Tuesday, 27 March – Goa – 15˚ 24.2 N x 073˚ 48.5 E.

This port was added to our itinerary to compensate for other ports we had to skip because of swells too large for entry!  My tour today took up most of the day visiting a lot of Catholic churches in Old Goa, as well as a Hindu Temple.  I saw a lot of river traffic as the very rusty iron ore ships plied up river empty and down river full.  Also I saw several ship yards along the way as we skirted along the river shoreline.  New Goa or Panaji, was highly influenced by the Portuguese who were her in 1498 on.  Goa is a trading port larger than Cochin, but it was not readily apparent to me.  We were back by three o’clock.

I cooled off and knitted with television on until dinnertime.  Janet didn’t appear.  I then sat in the second row of Grand Lounge to see Phillip’s marionettes – an opera singer, violinist, a panda and scarecrow.  Jennifer Fair also sang this shared program.  Before quitting time I spent a moment or two in the warm breeze on deck.

Wednesday, 28 March.  Mumbai, India – 18˚ 55.9 N x 072˚ 50.6′ E.

With the exception of a short visit to the terminal and the little stands there (to buy 2 tablecloths and 2 silk scarves) I stayed on board keeping cool, reading, knitting, and attending the movie “Rumor Has It.”

Jean B, Nellie and I had breakfast together, then I talked a long time with Eric and Margaret plus Jean in the Yacht Club.  Also I chatted briefly with Richard Clay, Bill Greenwood’s friend.

Eventually I ventured off the ship for a look at the merchandise in the terminal stalls.  I don’t like to bargain.  One woman asked if I would get her a QE2 tote like mine.  Sorry!

Back on board, I had lunch in Caronia with Peter and Grania, then went to the movie.  Dinner at 255 minus Janet.  Birthday cake from the Minister’s Margaret.  I also chatted with Marguerite and Geri plus Rich in the Lido.  I was back in the cabin by 8:30 to knit, and watch “Calendar Girls.”  Looking forward to three days at sea! – Arabian Sea.

I had a Lido breakfast with Ted and Linda Bland, followed briefly by Gisele.  I then decided to sit in the Queen’s Room to knit while the art auction preparations were taking place.  The Queen’s Room is all decorated for the Raj Ball this evening.

I attended the two lectures on Bin Laden and the Spice Road, both of which were very interesting, especially the history of the trading of spices and silks far before Marco Polo!

I found the weather was quite pleasant at noon, so I sat under boat 14 for an hour knitting till lunchtime in Mauretania with Jenny by the mural.  I spent the rest of the afternoon in the cabin finishing up the next pink pig.  I’ll make more as long as the yearn lasts.

All four of us were at dinner for once!  They went to Martyn Moss’s cocktail party for singles, but I spent time with the Lees.  When I left them, I found Paula in the Lido, having left the party for a dessert.  We spent a fair amount of time talking till we parted for my cabin.  I walked by Queen’s Room where all the people were awaiting the start of the Raj Ball – in their lovely Saris.  I started another pink pig.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 30 March.

I had breakfast of poached eggs on port Mauretania with Nellie, Jean and Eileen, then sought out the Lees in the Grand Lounge where I delivered one more pig.  The ten o’clock lecture was on Pearls, then I sat again with the Lees, knitting while we heard the cooking lecture demonstration.

Noon Report:  7˚ 42′ N x 063˚ 46′ E, 610 nautical miles west of the Maldives.  Speed average: 23.8 knots.  Course: Rhumbline 216˚.  Flat seas and no swell.  We will cross the Equator between three and four o’clock tomorrow.  I delivered the pig to Marie’s charity table.

Paula and I spent the lunchtime in Mauretania by the mural talking animatedly with Paula, she talking mostly but it was fun!  Banana split.  The movie was “Stranger than Fiction.”  Before that I had a frozen yogurt cone.

Diane Hertlein and I sat in the Golden Lion Pub chatting well over an hour.  Lido dinner with the girls.  Hi to John Duffy – Cabin – knit. Bed by ten forty-five.

 Saturday, 31 March – Equator

We crossed the Equator at 1:50 p.m. at 00˚00′ x 58˚ 10.7′ E.  Now on South Latitude.  I missed the changeover because of the time used to show all those wretched charts!  Grr!

I awoke very early this morning and stayed up, finishing off two knitted pigs and reading till time for breakfast in Mauretania on portside with Nancy and the Brit couple/lovers!  I then delivered the pigs to Margaret and griped because my GPS won’t register due to lack of satellites!  At ten o’clock I attended the talk on Iraq, followed by a review of the Mariner explorations for the spice routes.

At noon I stayed on deck long enough for the report of our position and the Pollywog ceremony was in progress aft.  Diane Hertlein and I had lunch together in the Maury near the Maître D’s desk.

During the afternoon, I kept a short vigil in the cabin to see the Latitude switch from N to S, and the best I could do was see .1 N and after all the charts – then .15 S.  I then saw the movie “Casino Royal” which lasted till nearly 5.  I finally started sewing up and stuffing the last Cinderella doll before dinner with my tablemates.

After chatting with the Lees, I strolled on deck under the nearly full moon, then sought out Paula in the Lido.  We eventually went on deck and talked over two hours by the sports deck.  She has invited me to visit her in London some time.  I was back in the cabin after eleven.  Clocks back one half hour.

 Sunday, 1 April – Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles

April Fool!  QE2 is calmly pushing through calm waters BUT – the channel 3 view is of a sunny, ocean swell and oncoming waves plowing over the bow with spray flying up the deck to the Bridge.  I LOVE IT!  HA HA.  As a matter of fact we were already anchored!

I had breakfast with the Lees then found Paula in the Queen’s Room waiting for her tender number, so we chatted a while as I proceeded to sew Cinderella’s skirt on.  Martha Garringer came by. I made myself go to observation deck to video the island, then joined the Lees and Jean B for the rest of the morning.  Lido lunch – Yacht Club reading, doze,  and the movie,  “Black Dalia” – assembled Cinderella.  Dinner alone in the Maury.

Sail away – turn around, lights, full moon.  Again, a long chat on Boat Deck under the moon till ten thirty with Paula.

Monday, 2 April. – Indian Ocean.

I shared breakfast with Elaine and David, then Gisele.  I then moved to chat with Jane and Geri.  At ten o’clock I heard Arjani tell us of his conversion from Zoroasterism to Christianity at Chaplain’s Hour.  I followed this with the talk on Mauritius.

Noon Report:  11˚55.5′ S x 66˚ 32′ E.  Speed: 27.1 knots.  Course: 168˚ altered to avoid Typhoon (or T.S) Jaya, slated to cross Madagascar soon.  We are beginning to see the “short, sharp swells, as we head more southerly to avoid it.  I see white caps but little pitching so far.

I spent the afternoon under boat ten very comfortably reading as the blue waves and white caps went by.  Tea alone – cabin knitting till 7:15 when I attended Captain Perkins’ cocktail party in his quarters.  I met his wife Lucy and son, Lawrence.  That being over, I headed for the Lido and dessert.  The show presented a flutist.

Tuesday, 3 April – Port Louis, Mauritius.  20˚ 8′ S x 57˚ 26′ E.

We were already docked inside the neat and protected harbor facing the beautiful waterfront promenade and new shopping tourist buildings.  The backdrop is a lush green series of volcanic peaks forming a circular span reminiscent of a possible volcano caldera.  I had a light breakfast in the Lido before walking into town on my own.  I saw a Hindu temple across the road and kept on along the dual carriageway to the sugar mill, Astrolabe shopping area, along the promenade, past a museum to a statue of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan – 100th Anniversary monument.  More restaurants and shops were all along the promenade and then a hotel or two.  All most impressive and new!

I took a taxi back to the ship and later found I could have take a water taxi across the harbor to a dock right at the ship’s bow.  I cooled off in the cabin till Lido lunch, when Archie Cooper joined me.  I then found the Lees and chatted with Lillian and Marie till movie time. “The Guardian” – a very dramatic Coast Guard plot!

I spent some time leaning over the observation deck with Richard, talking ships.  We are delayed leaving because bunkering is running late.  We observed an entertaining goat chase unfolding below us on the dock.  The poor goat had gotten away and was scampering away from at least three men in pursuit. 

When we did leave after dark around seven thirty, the tugs pulled us away from the dock and about half way down the channel before we turned 180˚ right by the two small ships moored together in the middle of the harbor.  I ate with “the girls” then sat with Richard and Bill about an hour talking ships.  At nine-thirty I took a deck walk to admire the full moon and stars.  I think I spotted the Southern Cross.   Chocolate fudge cake before retiring!

 Wednesday, 4 April

I had breakfast with Martha and Beverly, then checked the deck possibilities, which proved to be sunny and humidly warm.  The “Driving the QE2” lecture by Paul Bryson and the lecture on South Africa, were outstanding and I took notes profusely!

Had lunch at Maury with Jenny and eventually Paula and I followed that with the movie “The Illusionist.”  When we left the Theatre, the Board Room was cordoned off for some reason.  We had tea with Anne and George from Colchester, then found Richard and Bill talking with Jack in the Queen’s Lounge.  I showed them the beached “Norway” photo.

Noon Report:  23˚ 17.5’S x 50˚38.7′ E.  Speed 26.9 knots.  Course: 238˚ Rhumb line – moderate seas and moderate easterly swell.  Wind 10 knots over the decks.

Janet was also at the Lido when I joined the queue, having eaten in the Maury with our mates.  We talked a long time, then I left and found the Bishops to whom I talked a long time.  Finally I went on deck to enjoy the mild, damp moonlight night and atmosphere.  Stars were brilliant and the wind was a gentle caress as we plowed across the moon’s path aft, making soft water sounds and producing bubbly foam.  Southern Cross?

I returned to my cabin at around nine o’clock and immediately set my new watch and clock back one hour.  I am busily finishing up the details on my last Cinderella doll.

 Thursday, 5 April

The day’s main event was two one-hour lectures on the history of South Africa with a Cunard booking pitch in between.  I had spotted Bill and Richard at breakfast so we chatted at length then and at lunch as well before settling in the Queens Room to view the DVD about Peter Knego’s trip to document and purchase stuff from the ship breakers at Alang, India.  Strangely, we can’t find the place in the big Atlas!

By the way I have delivered the four dolls to be auctioned and publicized for the charity.

Noon Report:  27˚28.5S x 39˚ 42’E.  Speed:  26.3 knots, average 25.3 knots.  Course: 253˚ Rhumb line; slight seas, low swell.  We are crossing the Mozambique Channel; that is between the island of Madagascar and Mozambique the country.

I spent a couple of hours in my cabin, emerging for dinner at six fifteen.  All four of us were there and then I briefly visited with the Lees and surrounding friends!  Eventually I found Paula in the Lido and we spent moon- time on deck!  Clocks back one hour.


2007 World Cruise – Part 4

Queen Elizabeth 2 World Cruise 2007 

Hobart, Tasmania to Japan

 Saturday, 17 February – Hobart, Tasmania

We moved up the Bay to Hobart and docked at the container port area just as dawn arose.  The Australian immigration inspection took a long time, so instead of standing in the endless line, I went to breakfast and sat with Archie, David and wife Myrtle, and when they left, Marilyn and Paula joined me at the window table.

When through the long line I headed off the ship via Four Deck between A and B stairways, then took the shuttle to the Elizabeth and Davey store, where I alighted and went to the Salamanca Square Saturday market.  I got a black skein of yarn, then ambled back via the waterfront to see the “Windward” Barkentine, then ‘”Endeavour.” Having read the contemporary book on Captain James Cook, Blue Latitudes,  I was excited to see this.  Both of these square- riggers are replicas of past historic ships.  Also I saw a series of sculptures depicting Antarctic explorers.  The Maritime Museum is in the Carnegie old library.  It moved in 2000 and the QE2 map is way out of date.  I took the shuttle back to the ship through tight security.  Lunch at the Lido.  I sat with the Lees for quite a while till the sun made it too hot on deck.

We learned that the cables and wiring on Boat Deck are for the new security camera set-up.  It is a big project consisting of much wire-running and the attaching of the little round eye cameras.

Wendy and I watched our departure from Hobart from the bow observation deck.  There was a Port quarter brisk wind, which brought a welcome cooling.  We then sat together facing outward at our table so we could see us pass by the land.  I was back in my cabin by eight o’clock.  The geography of this area consists of the Derwent River, Storm Bay, Tasman Island and Banks Strait plus Swan Island and Clarke Island as well as Bass Strait. Each name helps me recall the landmarks as we passed out of the bay.

Sunday, 18 February.

I had breakfast at a portside window with Marilyn and a new lady, Lois.  I then spent the whole morning on deck reading on portside away from the bright sun.  The breeze was pleasantly cool.  Just before noon I reported to the Grand Lounge for the Talent Show sign-up and rehearsal with the young tentative pianist. “Oh Sleep…”  Paula Bell had waited for me so we went to lunch in the restaurant observing the white horses – a brown patch and speculating on possible currents in Bass Strait.

Black Tie gave their Sunday, “classical” concert, – the best yet with opera arias, parodies, and virtuoso piano and cello playing by Valerie and Suzie.  Yuri and older brother are bass-baritones and forceful.  Paula sat with me too.  Soon followed the Talent Show, with all the usual suspects! 

Tonight’s dinner featured the Baked Alaska parade to the tune of an Aussie song!  I ruined the tablecloth with ink by mistake, then stained it with cherries too!  Woops! The movie “Marie Antoinette” was playing in the Theatre, so I decided to watch it from the Balcony. 

Monday, 19 February – Melbourne – 34˚ 50.8′ S x 144˚ 55′ E

I spent the morning on board mainly reading on deck in overcast weather with a pleasant breeze.  A French naval ship came in behind us.  I watched several BP barrels being hoisted on board way up by the funnel!

Lunch being next on my schedule I went to the Lido and then reported to the Theatre at 12:15 for my tour to Olinda and the Dandenong Mountains – observatory and bird sanctuary. 

Our departure was slightly delayed, but the city shoreline was spectacular to watch in the meantime.  All mist had cleared in brilliant sunshine.  We had a wind on our starboard quarter as the tugs pulled us away in preparation for the immediate forward motion.  During dinner we proceeded between the abundant markers on each side of the narrow channel and along a visible tide rip.  David, our waiter is from Sri Lanka.

 Tuesday, 20 February – Sydney: Historic meeting of QE2 and QM2

There is absolutely nothing on this World Cruise that can possibly top today’s entry into Sydney Harbor!  I spent all morning on deck reading the Cook Journals pertaining to the exploration of Australia’s East Coast.  I watched the distant coastline go by, but nothing was really distinguishable except a couple of lighthouses on points.

After lunch with Gwendolyn, Liz and Hugh (her friends), I returned on deck for the rest of the afternoon.  Finally, we could see the high buildings of Sydney in the mist.  At six o’clock the Pilot came aboard, and I set my video camera going and let it run a full hour – through the Heads and carefully on with hundreds of boats, a fire boat, a steam launch, small and large boats, sailboats, excursion boats, Zodiacs and Kayaks!  Hundreds and maybe a thousand.  We slowly approached Fort Denison and spotted Queen Mary 2 docked at the Naval Yard – bow facing away from us.  We exchanged whistle salutes, or I thought so (QM2 was faint if non-existent) several times.  QE2 boomed her resonant sound all over the area, and hundreds of thousands of people lined the shores.  On we went with the flotilla escorts, right up to the Opera House and Bridge, where we backed into the Overseas Passenger Terminal with the help of two tugs, and the continuing water tug liquid salute.  My videotape ended as we pulled close to the dock.  People by a million or so lined every park, beach, landing, the Opera House and bridge.  Traffic was at a standstill everywhere, and of course, whistles blew from every quarter!  Occasionally one could hear sirens blaring as well, probably because of the traffic jams!

After a quick dinner with Paula in the Lido, I “regrouped” and returned topside starboard to watch the fireworks, which popped and rose somewhere beyond where the QM2 was docked.  Splendid!  Queen Mary 2 is due to leave at eleven o’clock tonight, but I’m not sure we can see anything from here, the Opera House being between us.

 Wednesday, 21 February – Sydney

The spotlights were on all night into the channel 3 camera making it very bright in my inside cabin!  After my breakfast in the Lido I found Wendy there waiting for her disembarking orders, so we chatted a fairly long time.  When we did part, I too went ashore and walked up Philip Street and Elizabeth Street to David Jones department store, then to the Center Point where I had a long chat with Diana de Jersey and bought my stuffing for the dolls at Lincraft, and found two Sydney newspapers with fabulous photos of yesterday’s hoopla!  On the way back to the ship, I finally managed to reach Cherie back in the States for a fairly long talk.

After lunch back on the ship I set out again.  I took the ferry to Darling Harbor via water to Luna Park, McMahon Point and so on to the step-off pier.  I walked to the Maritime Museum, but only managed to view the two square- riggers, “James Craig” and the “Bounty” replica.  I did wander inside the museum, however, and saw all kinds of exhibits from ship gear to sailors’ clothing, artifacts, scrimshaw and so forth.  By the time I returned to QE2 by Ferry, I was quite tired!

There is a new Australian couple from Canberra at my table, Carolee and Bob Robertson. I walked aft on Boat Deck to the Lido, and sat with Jean Burns while I ate two crème caramels, then found Paula while she ate.  I was back in the cabin by nine o’clock.

By the way, it appears some disembarking QM2 passengers were caught stealing cutlery, silver, artwork etc. from the ship.  Customs people detected this and then everyone was searched!  Paul Wright is back on board QM2 as of Sydney.

 Thursday, 22 February – Sydney

I stayed on board after breakfast with Jenny way forward, then chatted with Martha Garinger.  At ten o’clock I joined Jean Burns, Nellie Burns and the Lees plus Violet Crafton for a walk to the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel for a prolonged sit and visit while having a coffee time and eventually club sandwiches – all the gift of Violet.  By two o’clock I excused myself to shop at the hotel shop and along the way back via the Rocks.  I bought a hat and three nice T-shirts embroidered with Australia scenes.  I kept running into Carolee and Bob!  Before re-embarking, I did one more sightseeing stop at the John Cadman House right by the ship and the Seamans’ Home.  The family honored here was of convict stock whose job was Government Coxswain for 27 years.

Our slow departure from Sydney started by six thirty as we were pulled away by the tugs fore and aft.  The whistle blew several times in the usual fashion of three blasts plus one, and there were only four or five boats going along with us.  We had to toot warnings to racing sailboats near the Heads.  After the pilot boat, named “Governor Bligh,” peeled away from us and we passed through to open ocean, I then joined Marguerite and Jeri for dinner at the Lido, and a Scottish lady named Janet McGuff who joined us.  She may ask to sit at 255 with me, since she has just embarked and didn’t have anyone special with whom to sit.  I would welcome here heartily!  I chose a fantastic chocolate teacup shaped goody with yummy cream in it for dessert.

 Friday, 23 February

I have always said that mealtime is my most social time, and this morning was no exception.  My friend Marilyn usually sits way over on portside near the wall between Mauretania Restaurant and the Crystal bar, and it is there I went this morning to share breakfast time with Marilyn, Nancy and two delightful English people.  I then spent a short while on deck till Ian Duguid’s and Richard Hayman’s lectures.  I talked briefly with Diane, then joined Peter and Grania for a lively lunch on Portside of the Mauretania.  I had Greek salad and hot love dessert, a Sundae with raspberries. 

I bought a QE2 tie tack and was asked for my ID, which I don’t carry!  My door key verified the cabin number!  I guess they are cracking down on possible spurious purchases.  I showed the pin to Margaret and Eric, and when I spied Archie Cooper and Bill Noonan plus Art, I went to join their lively conversations about Sydney and politics.

I had wanted to read on deck but a heavy downpour had dampened the cushions and water was running in the scuppers, so I spent the afternoon in my cabin knitting and watching an Australian film about the Aborigine experience when in 1931 children were taken from their parents to be made servants and learn the “civilized way.”  Three girls ran away and walked over a thousand miles along a rabbit barrier fence back home.

Janet did join the Robertsons and me at our table and is pleased with the change from the late sitting.  I sat with the Lees for the very fine Aussie soloist, Davidia, a great soprano with deep low tones!

The waxing moon sliver added to the stars and clouds as I walked “home” via Boat Deck in mild air.  Clocks back one hour.

Saturday, 24 February – Brisbane – 27˚17.5’S x 153˚ 14.2′ E

I was awake just after five o’clock and knitted till we arrived at the dock near 0700.  We had to “overshoot” Brisbane in order to clear the island and head back south.

I met Norma Hoad outside the gates to the Port after a short shuttle bus trip.  We waited for Wendy Firman a while, and when we decided to go, we spotted her and her son, who delivered the Ginger products for Sylvia, our wine steward.  There was ample for me to have some as well.

Norma then drove me to her home in Clayfield after shopping for lunch stuff.  We ate it then headed out for the River Cat, which plies between the several ports along the inland river.  We embarked at Bulimba and spent two hours happily on the river.  She returned me to the ship by four-thirty, and when six o’clock came and after I had taken a hasty dinner, I headed to the bow to watch us proceed out the very long and complicated channel from Brisbane.  Earlier, the “Pacific Star” a P&O ship, passed us and whistle salutes were exchanged.  At the time I wondered why the three plus 1 and other toots happened.  I stood up front, watching us proceed along the first quarter moon path and through the successive red and green buoys blinking.  I speculated on our route (red on starboard etc.) and found the white lights on shore were alignment signals, and I could predict our next turn to starboard.  An Aussie couple came up as we turned and confirmed the land ahead as we turned was Caloundra and the island to starboard was Moreton Island.  I walked aft and had a bowl of strawberries in the Lido – with Jeri and Marguerite.  I am looking forward eagerly to the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 February.

It is very plain that we will again be passing east of the Great Barrier Reef, and therefore I simply sat on portside Boat Deck under number 12 all morning reading about Cook’s experiences along here.  I ate breakfast with the Radcliffes, Lee and mother Virginia and Dave (from Milwaukee).  Virginia used to live in Truro on Cape Cod.

The weather has been warm but comfortable with sun to light the blues of the ocean – even though I could see no land!  At noon we were at 20˚30’S x 152˚23’E, 24 nautical miles from the reef.  Speed: 28.2 knots heading 303˚ Rhumb line – slight seas and short swell.  Wind: Force 5 – 17 knots over the decks.

The Duguid talk was more of a “what to do one,” and I followed that with lunch with Paula and a couple.  I had the window.

Michael Simpson as Pilot gave us a thorough account of the job Piloting this area as well as why QE2 doesn’t go inside anymore.  1.  She needs to flush the grey water.  2.  It is cyclone time and the Pilot has to be able to get us within the Barrier Reef if a storm comes.  Hmmm! 

I spent the rest of the afternoon in my cabin working on Morag, the doll.  She is nearly done!  Dinner was next and Carolee was discontent with the food and I tried to keep quiet.  After dinner, Janet also expressed not wanting to hear the complaints.  I went to Observation Deck with Gisele to see the moon path and us proceeding in the dark.  We walked back to the Lido and sat while I had a nice custard.  I also chatted with the Bishops, and then returned to my cabin for the night.

 Monday, 26 February – Cairns – Yorkey’s  Knob. 16˚ 45.7′ x 145˚ 45.1 E

I stayed on board at this anchor port.  The humidity turned to wind and rain early while I was having breakfast with the Lees, so I literally spent the morning knitting and chatting with them in Queen’s Room till lunch in the Lido with them as well.  I did return to my cabin and found two men cleaning my air conditioner, goody!  I also saw the movie, “Failure to Launch.”  Finished the Morag doll, and now we head for Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, reached by crossing a bit of the Coral Sea.

Tuesday, 27 February – Coral Sea.

It was cloudy and rainy most of the day with low, easterly swells and moderate seas.  I had a late breakfast at the Lido and joined Janet and met John Hardie from Melbourne.  He too comes on QE2 for the ship, so we had a lot in common.  He said he submitted a photo of a mauve container ship to the “Ships Monthly” and was paid £15 for it.  I told him about Linerslist.  His cabin is 4427 till Hong Kong.

I attended Ian Dugiud’s and Richard Hayman’s lectures on Australian Culture and Pacific Navigation respectively, then headed for Mauretania for lunch, eventually with Valerie Bennets from the Gold Coast and Paula Bell. 

I loved seeing “Happy Feet” in the very crowded balcony, the most crowded I’ve seen a movie in a very long time.  Then after that, I headed for the Lido and found Paula and Sheila (?) and enjoyed cheese and crème brulée.  Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” was presented in the Grand Lounge, an exceedingly hot venue.  I walked the deck for relief, but it was quite hot there as well.  Nine thirty saw me retreat to my cabin.

Wednesday, 28 February.  Solomon Sea.

At breakfast with Bob and Carolee I displayed the three dolls in the dining room before putting them in the Board Room.  Then, when the charity table opened, I left them there hoping they will be sold.

The two lectures of the morning were by Captain Hayman “Chinese Explorers in 1421” and then Judy Cornwell who plays Daisy in “Keeping Up Appearances” gave us humorous anecdotes about rehearsals and filming of the series.  The Theatre is about the only cool place on the ship right now, because the tropical air outside is super hot and humid.

I had lunch in my section with an English lady and eventually Paula joined us.  I then joined many others in the Balcony of the Theatre to see “Casino Royale” and keep cool!

The Captain didn’t give the Latitude and Longitude today, but my GPS reading earlier registered 08˚S.  We are in the Solomon Sea and at noon we passed between the two islands, Kitava on Port and Kinaver on starboard in the Trobriand Island group.  We are going 15.9 knots on three of our 9 engines.

I retreated to the cabin till dinnertime when I dressed in black and white formal to join my tablemates similarly dressed; After my treacle tart, I had a crème caramel in the Lido with Paula.  We lingered happily chatting till eight-thirty when I checked out the singer in the Grand Lounge.  Beastly hot, so I left for the cabin.  Hot there too!

All during this Torrid Zone transit it has been exceedingly hot in public rooms, especially the Grand Lounge, as well as my section on Five Deck.  Thank heavens for my special wall A/C unit over the other bed.  It would be intolerable in here otherwise.

Thursday, 1 March – Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

I had an eight o’clock Theatre time for my tour, but reported early.  However, the tour was already called so I left my video camera in the cabin and proceeded ashore from 5 Deck G stairway via tender. We were greeted on shore by natives beating drums and hollow logs, as well as children dancing while holding vertical carved wooden  “staffs.”  A group would dance in the heat and then another group took over with more elaborate “staffs.”  They were all most colorful.

When finally aboard van 19 with non-English speakers, Portuguese and French, we headed through what is left of Rabaul, after a devastating volcano eruption a few years ago.  We went up a mountain to the volcano observatory – to the devastated parts, to a crashed Japanese plane, to the “Airport” under meters of ash, and back to the ship before lunch.  It was at least 100˚ F and humid.

The people of Papua New Guinea were very friendly and talked to us in English.  I bought one post card and left money in the hats of people posing for us in native dress.

Back at the ship I ate with my tablemates, but up until our departure I sat in Yacht Club enjoying Puccini music and observing the shore scenes.  Carolee and Bob Robertson filled us in on their life-story, which included the reason they wanted to return to Rabaul.  They had met here during the war when they were both working in the military over 50 years ago; they eventually married and this was their 50th anniversary celebration.  Congratulations!

I saw the movie “King Kong” (nice and cool in the balcony) and emerged to enjoy a clearer view of the volcano, steam and ash.  Before I left the Lido, I introduced myself to Captain Richard Hayman with thanks for his lectures, and he says there are more to come.

When I did my usual Boat Deck walk, the wind was pretty stiff as we barreled along northward.  I ended up in the Lido to chat with Geri and Marguerite, then with Paula.

The gravelly volcanic ash surface completely demolished my sandals today so I had to throw them away.  The soles peeled off and were very holey with gouges in them.  However, this gives me an excuse to buy another pair when I get to Singapore!

 Friday, 2 March

I had breakfast with Marilyn and Nancy at their table.  My goal was to attend Richard Hayman’s lecture on Magellan, which I did at ten o’clock.  During that session QE2 crossed the Equator, but I missed the event, alas!

At noon I leaned over the Boat Deck railing in spite of raindrops and enjoyed the brief sojourn.  After lunch with Eric and Margaret in the Lido I spent the whole afternoon in the cabin knitting till dinnertime.  Janet didn’t come, but I headed to the Lido to catch other friends and found Paula with whom I stayed till nine o’clock chatting.  The temperature in the cabin remains mighty hot so I now sleep on top of the duvet with my sleeveless shirt.  We are in the Bismarck Sea and the rain is pouring violently.

 Saturday, 3 March

We will pass through the Caroline Islands (20 nautical miles off) later – cross the Mariana Trench where the depth of water is 678 miles deep!  Then in the evening we will go between Guam and Rota (15 nautical miles away).

This has been a rainy, windy day with moderate swells, which cause us to pitch a bit.  There have been plenty of white caps as well, and when I went to breakfast with Jean B. we had to avoid a drippy leak in the bulkhead under Boat Deck!  I delivered another knitted doll to Margaret for eyes and tongue, then headed early to the Theatre for Richard Hayman’s lecture on Japan.  Not having anything further scheduled for me of interest, I settled with the Lees to knit while listening to a cooking lesson in the Grand Lounge.

When Captain Perkins came along to talk with us, I showed him the knitted doggies, which he mistook for wombats, and he said we should name them Captain and Mate!  Not a bad idea!

I had lunch in the Mauretania with a man from Berlin and two Sydneysiders, by a window overlooking the very active waves and swells, rain and fog.  Paula was at a small neighboring table so I joined her on my way out for a fun discussion on British Sitcoms and dramas.  At two o’clock I saw “The Queen” again.

Dinnertime always swings around at a great rate and again, I dressed in formal attire for sharing our specially ordered rhubarb crumble, one of the few desserts Carolee can get excited about.  We had mentioned it last night and decided to order it specially and I am glad we did.  Yum!  As usual I wandered back to the Lido to join Paula as she dined alone and we had a great time talking about the stately homes of Britain and other wonderfully British topics. 

I tried the show tonight, and was amused by the antics of duo-pianists KatzenKammer Kids.  They crawl all over the keyboard playing very showy pieces, moving along the bench and not missing a note.  The ship continues to pitch in the rather large swells, all this above the deepest Mariana Trench at 35,798 feet deep!

 Sunday, 4 March

Being on Five Deck more or less midships, is the place for the least motion, so it wasn’t until I was well awake, I didn’t notice how much we are really pitching until I saw spray come over the bow and sweep well across the foredeck.  We are plunging straight into the oncoming waves. At 17˚35 N at the moment.  I headed upward for the Lido but returned for my video camera in hopes of getting some action footage.  That is difficult to convey the pitching adequately!

I attended the Richard Hayman talk on Japan, then found a spot amongst the Germans in the Yacht Club to knit and read.

Noon Report:  19˚18’N x 143˚30’E.  Speed: 24.9 knots, Course:  347˚ Rhumb Line in moderate seas and moderate northeast swells which gives us good pitching!  Any action is welcome!

I joined Bob and Carolee in the Mauretania for lunch.  The two-thirty movie “Stranger Than Fiction.”  I finished the fourth knitted dog.  Not wanting to return to the Mauretania in formal attire, I headed for the Lido for dinner with Marguerite and Geri plus Rick from Honolulu.  The show was very different tonight with a Royal Academy performance of two playlets, “Drinking Companions” and “Gosforth’s Fête” by Alan Ayckbourn.

I was back at the cabin by nine-thirty in a much calmer sea with only slight pitching, I stayed up till midnight knitting on a new Cinderella doll with a slightly altered color scheme.

The seas calmed through the night, and the moon shone brightly so I could see the bow and waters ahead whenever I looked at the television on channel 3.  I do so love watching the moonlight dancing on the waves!


2007 World Cruise – Part 3

Queen Elizabeth 2 25th World Cruise – Part 3

2007 World Cruise – Hawaii to Tasmania.  

Tuesday, 30 January.

I ate breakfast with Marge and others on portside of the Mauretania Restaurant, then headed directly up to Boat Deck, having already determined that finally the weather and wind would be conducive to a nice long stay in a deck chair.  I found a shady spot midships behind a davit on starboard side and stayed there reading Blue Latitudes till the noon whistle and report.  N09˚12.8′ x W124˚44.3′  Speed: 29 knots – short swells and light seas.  Temp: 79˚ F   Wind: Force 4 from the East.

At twelve thirty or so I headed down to check on the Lees, but came across Paula Bell from King’s Lynn and we decided to eat together in the Mauretania by a window.  We lingered about an hour and a half eating and sharing travel experiences.  A couple joined us, but they didn’t have much of a chance to get a word in edgewise.  Lemon sponge with custard and ice cream.  Yum!

I saw “The DaVinci Code” movie and sat with Diane.  Rain outside.  Dinner in Formal attire as usual with Wendy Furman.  Peter and Grania were acting up with laughter as Peter arose to accept anchovies from the couple across from them.  Lillian was threatened with a “red card” from our Manager, Jamie, because she was taking lots of chocolates!  More laughter from us all.

Jean Burns came to sit with me and behind the Lees as we all chatted and waited for the show to begin in the Grand Lounge.  The Royal Cunard singers and dancers did a great European show with very elaborate costumes, and they will leave us in Auckland to join QM2.  I walked the deck in very brisk headwinds.  My dangle earrings really flapped!  I’ll start the countdown to 0˚ Equator and hope to see the change from North to South.

Wednesday, 31 January – Equator.

I kept awakening through the night to check on the progress toward the Equator.  At 6:15 we are presently at 01˚ 41.8′ N on a course of 169˚.

I skipped breakfast in favor of the morning on deck in anticipation of the Equator crossing.  I read Blue Latitudes and alternated with the GPS countdown.  Just before the 10:21 time the officer of the watch warned us the moment would be marked by the ship’s whistle.  I watched the N change to S in a flash.  The reading was N/S 00˚00′ and W 152˚ 59.30′   When I went inside, I met Jean B. at the shops and we looked at stuff together.  Meanwhile, I discovered my arms had salt crystals all over!

Jean, Margaret and Eric had lunch with me in the Lido, while the initiations were going on outside on the Fantail.  The Neptune and Pollywog ceremony took place aft – without me!

I spent the entire afternoon in my cabin knitting and watching the television movies till time to dress Formal for dinner – with Wendy.  Halibut, minestrone and butterscotch sundae!  The natural segue followed as we went to join Jean Burns and the Lees for the show, which consisted of four wacky men singing and being silly.  Casablanca steps – bass, guitar, piano, trombone and various buzzy- blowing instruments.  Silly antics.  “Splendidly Spiffy Musical Fun and Frolics from the 1920s and 30s.   I was back in the cabin by 9:30 for more leisure before bed.  By the way, the lone dot on the GPS was Christmas Island!!

Thursday, 1 February.

After breakfast in the Mauretania portside, where I met a nice British lady also interested in Captain Cook, I headed topside for the rest of the morning under boat 13.  I read more in Blue Latitudes and gazed toward the ocean.  I figured there was an eastward swell as well as an East wind – corroborated by the noon report.  Stats:10˚36.3’S by 150˚ 58.3 W.  The nearest land is 54 nautical miles away.  Speed: 25.2 knots (29 mph).  Rhumb Line 169˚ as has been the last four days from Hawaii.  Wind East Force 5(21 knots) 35 knots over the decks.

I had lunch with the Lees in the Lido then found Paula walking to the Grand Lounge, so we sat to chat and exchange addresses.  She is contemplating train trips in New Zealand and Australia.  I saw the movie “The Producers,” which was hilarious!  Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Uma Thurman were the actors.  Then ensued a brief sojourn on deck under boat 14 and return to my cabin.  I sent the email to Norma Hoad.

I went to the Lido for dinner at seven thirty and joined Wendy in the dark starboard window side and, alas, missed Paula.

The balcony was a great spot for viewing the ventriloquist and Sally Jones’ last song.  When I went on deck the full, brilliant moon was shining between passing clouds, making a varied light path on the water’s surface.  I sat a while gazing upward and outward.  The moon appears to be north of what I am accustomed to in 40˚ north.  The air was pleasantly warm and forward motion wind quite brisk.

Friday, 2 February – Papeete, Tahiti – 17˚ 32.2S x 149˚ 34.2 W.

I awoke in time to be on hand with my video camera as we entered Papeete harbor.  We slowly passed between the narrow opening in the surrounding coral reef, having lined up the short and tall red and white markers on land.  We slowly turned with the help of tugs to sidle up to the protruding dock.  The ship is so big the lines have to be placed on a long extension bridge-like device.

Back at the ship after wandering along the harbor shore to the green park, and strolling through and videoing the market, I found the crew were going through the complete process of abandoning ship, including entering and lowering the lifeboats, engines running as they were being lowered.  I panned the whole city and harbor, then found the Lees on starboard under boat thirteen.  We chatted till nearly noon when I left them.  I checked out “The Voyages of the Discovery” the 1901, three-masted square rigger associated with Scott expeditions. It is now saved and on display in Dundee on the River Tay.  I remember seeing it there when I went to Aberdeen on the bus.

I had lunch with Bruce and Martha Garinger in the Caronia Restaurant.  Sheshank beckoned me to sit at his table, but I was committed elsewhere.  When finished we parted and I headed for the movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia.”  I nearly froze in the Theatre, because the air conditioning is so efficient in the balcony. Terry was there as well, and he has heard our departure schedule will change and wonders why.  We’ll see if it comes to pass.

Since the Board Room was nearly empty, I joined Geri to chat and share teatime and chocolate chip cookies, then we parted to prepare for dinner, which I ate alone!  With so much to see outside, including the “Europa” which had backed into the berth across the way, I spent time in a deck chair analyzing the deck configuration of that ship.  There is no Boat Deck per se, only two tenders on each side, lots of balconied cabins, closed in public rooms and little shade offerings.  I watched the moon over the bow, then had a long chat with Marguerite on portside.  I convinced her to try starboard so we could look at the city lights and “Europa.”  There is a roller skating rink for the kids on shore!

Finally at nine-thirty I changed to more comfortable clothes and taped a good deal of the special Tahitian show.  I returned on deck to “cool off” then had a Horlicks in the Lido before heading downward for the night.

At 2300 QE2 backed and turned ever so slowly as the bow traced more or less a straight line along the dock as the stern swung around to port.  I could see the green marker lights and eventually the green on the left and red on right marker lights designating the exact narrow channel between the shallows on either side.  We will spend the rest of the night at sea before returning toward Moorea in the morning.  We went north past the Tetiaroa Islands before heading back south towards Moorea to our anchorage off Baie D’Opunohu.

Saturday, 3 February – Moorea.

This was a specially hot and humid day at anchor.  During the night we literally made a rectangular course north then south to dally at sea before reaching Moorea for anchoring at seven o’clock.  I awoke as we approached.  I ate with Jean in the Lido, since neither of us planned a tour.  I did, however, ride a tender two ways to the landing and back, where I videoed the hexagonal church and bought two lava lavas to use as tablecloths.  I had hoped to film the stern of QE2 to show the metal fences or railings on the docking decks, but I was faked out when the skipper passed by the bow both ways!  Grr!

At noon Gisele and I enjoyed lunch in the Caronia with Sheshank serving us.  He made me a very nice entrée salad and talked me into having a lovely mango crème brulée.  Yum!   I read my book on Discovery in Queens Room till time for the movie “The Illusionist” – the balcony is the coolest place on the ship!  When I emerged I wandered to the Board Room, on deck, and to the cabin for my cameras, and stayed on deck enjoying the scenery, the water breaking on the reefs and noting the two white aligning posts, well into D’Opunohu Bay.

By six o’clock we had only just raised the last tender and hauled up the anchor.  Wendy and I had our dinner with the regular surrounding friends at the neighboring tables. 

During my nightly visit outside, I gazed at the stars and listened to the quiet sounds of passing water and foam, while finally recognizing Orion, Pleades, Tauris, Aurega, etc. all very high in the sky as I gazed northward – down here as opposed to ecliptic somewhat southerly back home.  I was back in the cabin by eight o’clock.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Sunday, 4 February.

I was awake very early by the new time, and had my own church service, including articles in the January Journal.  The day is bright and clear.  Jean Burns was eating in my section so I joined her.  I then spent the rest of the morning on deck reading in warmth and gazing seaward to low swells and no seas to speak of.  When I headed inside I was reminded that today is Super Bowl day and the Golden Lion Pub was arranged for many fans and a long buffet was set up along the alley by the Theatre and people were lining up well ahead of the game.  The Theatre is also open for spectators.  I passed it all up in favor of the Mauretania by a window.  Wendy joined me.

I returned to the deck for a couple more hours.  With the ship on a 259˚ Rhumb Line course, almost due west, the sun was over us from stem to stern.  Noon: 19˚175.’S x 157˚ 36′ W, heading to the International Dateline tomorrow.

I availed myself of Diane’s bathtub noticing how quiet and smooth the forward parts of the ship are.  It is really quite a contrast! She is in cabin 1001.

The movie:  “The Lake House” with Sandra Bullock.  My dinner was consumed on my own in the Lido and I followed that with a lovely sojourn forward on port Boat Deck, listening to the pulsing of waves pushed aside the ship.  Also, the orange moon rose over our stern.  Beautiful!  I was back in the cabin by nine o’clock.  The sea is glassy smooth.

Tuesday, 6 February – International Dateline.

Sometime today we will have crossed the International Dateline.  The certificate was delivered last night.  The bow picture shows windy, cloudy and rainy, 165˚ West.  I shared a nice breakfast with Gwendolyn.  We both had eggs Benedict and had a lively conversation regarding our jewelry bought at H. Stern in Rio.  I checked out the handbag display of 50% off, and bought a black, leather, multi-compartment bag for $42.  I then came across Jenny in the Golden Lion Pub and we chatted a while before I headed for the Theatre for two lectures; Princess Margaret’s jewelry at auction, and Ron Jones’ career as an Hotelier.  I saw Marguerite by the travel office.

Noon Report:  168˚ 21.8′ W x 20˚49.2S, Course: 262˚ – rain – slight seas and swells.

I had lunch in the Mauretania with Jenny, James (an organist with a Ph D.) and a friend of his who joined us as we finished up.  We had very good discussions re: current events.  At two-thirty Charlie flew through a good lecture on Tonga and Fiji.  Tonga was burned by young protesters.  The movie was “Man of the Year” with Robin Williams.

The wind and rain had cleared up but it still was “blowy” on deck.  Again I had dinner on my own and went on deck.   I chatted with Pam and her husband Arthur, and another couple.  I turned in early to watch television and prepare for the tour tomorrow.  We are about ten degrees away from the 180˚ West to East point.

Wednesday, 7 February – Tonga.

Tonga is very flat!  I took the tour, which included the King’s Villa, Plantations, Prison, Captain Cook landing place in 1777, Royal Tombs, Stonehenge-like astronomical calendar and King’s wooden Palace made in New Zealand – cultural show (pitiful) and back to the ship.  I had lunch with Gwendolyn, saw the movie “Flyboys” and wandered on deck. Prepared for dinner alone since Wendy told me she would eat across the way – soufflé with raspberry sauce.  Yum! I watched a spectacular sunset unfold on deck!  Baby blue and baby pink on Zig -zag streaks and perpendiculars of pink.  Clocks back one hour.

Thursday, 8 February – Fiji.

At 0200 o’clock the Longitude changed from 180˚ West to 180˚ East and I watched!!!!  Latitude was 19˚ S.  I watched us come to the dock by seven.  My tour began early, bound for the Arts Center and Firewalkers, a one- hour ride.  During the show very heavy showers came along and even though we were under a high-roofed shed, the first few rows were so wet we had to retreat upward in the bleachers while the dancers continued their performance in the increasing splashes and mud.  We could see their giggles as they finally had to wind up!  There wasn’t much else to do but head for the buses, arriving thoroughly soaked!  Once back at the ship I hurried on board for a late lunch and the movie “On a Clear Day” (Scottish).  Wendy and I had tea together.

I worked on the doll, then had dinner with Wendy, Elizabeth and Paula in the Lido.  The tablecloths are back, adding to the evening ambiance, and candlelight graciousness missing during the austere period since before Los Angeles.  The show included a fine performance with emphasis on Argentina, complete with Tango, men’s Gaucho dances and bolo, which gave great rhythms or cracking with drum accompaniment. It seems strange to have this ethnic representation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, docked in Fiji!

Friday, 9 February.

Today was very ordinary for a sea day; breakfast on my own in the Lido, followed by the whole morning on starboard Boat Deck where the sun caught up with me, but I endured it a while, eventually dragging my deck chair to the next boat in the shade to continue the Discovery book till after the noon whistle and report:  Lat. 24˚5.1’S x 176˚55.6′ E:  25.5 knots speed: Course: 188˚ with slight seas and swell.

Jenny and I shared lunch with another lady by a window in the Mauretania.  Charles Urbanoweicz’s lecture on New Zealand and Australia kept me alert and in the Theatre, after which I returned on deck to read till four o’clock and teatime in the Lido with Wendy.  A slight transition from one “meal” to dinner with Wendy followed by the show with Gerard Kenny, a singer was the order for the evening.  I was in the cabin by 9:30.

Saturday, 10 February.

The three little ladies, Martha, Beverly and Betty, shared their breakfast table with me, followed by a short period on deck, then in order to warm up I attended the tours lecture.  Eve Jones’ talk on “Hanky Panky in the Country House” was very entertaining!

Noon Report:  32˚18.5’S x 175˚37.3E:  Speed; 17.3 knots: course 188zk true – slight seas and moderate swells.

Lunch of Shepherd’s pie at the Lees’ table with Paula Bell, then we compared notes on our tour choices.  I finished the “Discovery” book and returned it to the Library.  Movie “The Last Kiss”  Formal dinner: curry soup and a nice salad.  Clocks ahead one hour!

 Sunday, 12 February – Auckland, New Zealand

Beautiful dawn entry – bright lights.  Breakfast with Pam and Arthur, who had brought an angel puppet with them.  They have several thousand puppets and a fair collection with them on this world cruise!  My activities for the day in port took me to the Maritime Museum for most of the morning.  I watched the entire video of the ENZA round the world race, which Robin Knox-Johnston as skipper, won. This boat is a catamaran.  A Brazilian family came in to watch it also.  They were on their way from Puerto Rico to Sydney by sailboat, and stopped in Auckland before their last long trek across the Tasman Sea.  Their crew is the three young sons ranging from 12 on down to about nine. 

I returned to the ship for lunch with Martha Geringer then walked into town to browse in the souvenir shops – bought nothing!

This being the night of the Gala 25th World Cruise dinner at the Sky Tower Convention Center, I showered and dressed in my best formal gown.  Needless to say, there was a very long line-up of buses for this affair, so I joined one of them for the ride up the hill where we were greeted by Maori torches and ushers who showed us the way up the escalators and to our first venue for cocktails.  I sat at table 41 with Engineer Martin Hepple, Gisele, Perle Coles, a retired Captain, a Doctor next to me, a Chinese young man and others.  The centerpieces consisted of very tall shell-filled vases and white flowers.  Captain David Perkins and Carol Marlow, Cunard CEO gave toasts and a talk.  The menu included lamb, gorgeous colorful vegetables and for dessert, a scrumptious Pavlova!  I was back at the ship by ten o’clock, ready to leave around one in the morning.

On my bed was a beautiful glass commemorative World Cruise 2007 paperweight.

Monday, 12 February.

I slept till after eight o’clock, a first for this voyage!  My breakfast was late and I shared it with Joan and Liz (a nice Brit), then I joined Gisele by the starboard Lido windows. The rest of the morning I was on Boat Deck reading Blue Latitudes and making notes on New Zealand shoreline we were passing – in sunshine.  Noon:  37˚4’S x 178˚ 41.9′ E.  Speed: 18.9 knots – average 21.7 knots.  Rhumb line 180˚(due South) with moderate seas and long medium swells.  Wind: Force 5 (17knots) with 25 knots over the decks.  Presently we are passing East Island.

Wendy and I had lunch at our own table in Mauretania with Toronto friend Eleanor.  Grand Lounge was my next venue for some reading and work on a doll.  Movie:  “Click”.  Formal dinner at 255 followed by a World Cruise party.  I talked with Faith Bishop and Jean.  The show was Black Tie, a group consisting of a cellist, pianist and two singing baritones – a family affair and very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 13 February –Wellington, New Zealand. 41˚16.4′ S x 174˚47.3′ E.

This was a highlight day!  The sun shone all day and the temperature was in the 60s.  I had breakfast with Jenny then set out on the shuttle bus to the Kirkaldie and Stains stores on Brandon Street.  I mailed three postcards at a Post Office behind another store, next to the Cable Car (didn’t go up it, but there were scads of QE2 passengers waiting in line to do so).  I tried again to phone home with no success.  I then found “The Spirit of New Zealand” tall ship and the Maritime Museum.  Beverly Hull. former passenger and tablemate from years past, had left a message for me at the museum and the girl there heard me ask about the “Pamir” or “Passat” and assumed I was the “Martin” Bev had mentioned.  Beverly came to me after I phoned her and we went to the big Maori Museum, had lunch there and returned by bus to Lambton Quay and up to a church to hear two concerts: 1. a Korean ensemble, and 2. Maori music by students using ethnic instruments.  After a bookstore visit, we parted with hugs, and I took the shuttle back to the ship.

As the ship backed away from the dock and headed out of the harbor, we had a pretty good tour of the area, tooting at the various boats hovering about; a ferry of a sort waited in the middle for us to go by, and we wended our way around a large island, and exited by the heads on the north side of that island.  I had dinner with Wendell and Faith (Winkie) Bishop.

Wednesday, 14 February –Lyttleton, New Zealand. 43˚ 36’S x172˚ 43.7′ E.

It is exciting for me to be here because of the fact that the famous Scott expedition to the South Pole did the final preparations here on the “Discovery,” about which I have just been reading, took place. 

I had breakfast by a window with an Aussie friend, than I joined those on the Alpine Train trip with a stop at Homebush Sheep Station.  We saw sheep shearing demonstrations, the house and store, plus I bought a very soft Possum-Merino wool sweater.  I sat with Joe from England on the lunch train ride through the mountains, gorges and plains back to Lyttleton.  It is also here where the most interesting Timeball clock still operates at one in the afternoon to give the ships’ timekeepers the proper time to set their chronometers.

When we left Lyttleton harbor, Captain Perkins informed us that we would be honoring the steam tug “LYTTLETON” by sharing salutes on ship’s whistles.  QE2 tooted three plus one as we were pulled away by two tugs, then when we proceeded slowly forward; hundreds of spectators watched us all lined up on the rising roadway.  Then eventually, when we caught up with the tug, the whistles blew long and frequently plus the inevitable one “boop,” first QE2, then “Lyttleton” in response.  It is always a real thrill to hear our beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 bellow her deep tones, but when other significant ships or boats reply, we appreciate over and over again, the marvelous chest reverberations and listening thrills!  This never fails to excite us all!

At dinner, we ladies were presented with roses as valentine greetings.  Martha and Betty had felt hearts and gave me one.  I headed to the cabin for the night.

Thursday, 15 February. 

When I awoke it was clear that we had headed south toward Stewart Island at the southern tip of New Zealand.  When we do round that, we will be heading 238˚ true then 288˚ true, directly toward Hobart, Tasmania.  [Banks Peninsula across Canterbury Bight, Stewart Island into the Tasman Sea.]  The weather is rainy and cold.

I had only cereal in the Lido with Gisele, then knitted most of the morning in Grand Lounge on my own.  We did pass only 29 miles from Stewart Island at a speed of 21.4 knots and headed 270˚ true in moderate seas with short moderate swells.  There is a warning of port swells and possible rolling!

I attended the lecture on Tasmania followed by lunch with Linda Bland, then Marguerite.  The second lecture was on Afghanistan, and I went to knit in my cabin.  Dinner with Wendy at 255 was livened by the usual banter from table to table, and we then went to the Grand Lounge to continue the conversations with the Lees.  Lillian took yarns from my stuff to continue her knitting projects.  Clocks back one hour.

 Friday, 16 February – Tasman Sea

We have to do immigration by getting our Passports and filling out a landing card.  It is still brisk but sunny outside, although we went through fog in the morning, while I was knitting in the Grand Lounge.  Before that, however, I had breakfast with Joe, Marilyn and two others at their table.  I repaid Joe $5.00 which I had borrowed from him during the Alpine train ride.

Charlie Urbanowicz gave his last rapid-fire lecture and then I ate a late lunch with Jenny.  I returned to the Theatre for more punishment in the form of the Afghanistan lecture followed by Passport collection at G stairway, then cabin time knitting.

Oh yes, After breakfast this morning I chatted with Connie and Marge and looked at Connie’s scrapbook on QE2 twenty-five years ago.  She had a photo of Crawford, named JACH.  I explained that he was a close friend for several years. And told her how he left working on the ship in 1994.  I also had a nice chat with Pam’s husband, Arthur in the Board Room.  David (a Brit) and Archie Cooper also joined the active conversations.  Archie is a delightful Aussie.

I watched the movie “The Queen” – dinner in the Lido with Wendy.  Clocks back one hour.


2007 World Cruise – Part 2

Part 2 – World Cruise – Queen Elizabeth 2 – 2007

Monday, 22 January – San Pedro, California.

The ship was docked near five o’clock, and I was awake to watch the process on my television.  I proceeded to dress and read a bit.   Little after six o’clock I joined the long queue for immigration in the Queens Room, then headed up to Mauretania where I sat by the window for breakfast with Jenny.  I vacated my now bare cabin to join the Lees on Boat Deck for their phone call on my mobile.  I had previously called Cherie and she confirmed Chris and Ben would be coming to visit.

I went ashore to wait over two hours for Chris and Ben, who took me to the Queen Mary.  We looked around and had a nice lunch at the Promenade Restaurant overlooking Long Beach Harbor.  I saw my young English friend, Gary there.  We finally were able to see the twenty-two foot model of the “Normandie” and Jon Hollis’ commemorative coin plus a “Lusitania” model.

Before all this I had a long conversation with Jon Hollis who happens to be from Pembroke, MA.  We talked at length about QE2 and his long years working on board. 

We passengers were allowed back on the ship shortly before five o’clock, and after settling in and knitting, I had my first dinner at table 255 with Carol and Val, two Americans newly embarked.  I returned to the cabin for the night, and didn’t count on watching us depart at ten o’clock.  We’ll see.

Tuesday, 23 January.

The ship did leave on time last night, which I noted upon waking as we were clear of the channel.  The next thing I was aware of was around 5:30.  I read a while and when the sun arose I could see a long shadow over the port side, indicating we were heading South – obviously adding travel time before turning for San Francisco – or the sun rises in the West!   NOT! 

I sat on Port side of the Mauretania with people of animated attitudes, the English friend of Avis, an American lady from Michigan and another Brit.  When finished I sat with Jenny by a starboard window and we exchanged reports on our individual shore-side day yesterday.

When I checked the weather on deck, I found it pleasant but not quite warm enough to sit comfortably.  I then found the Lees in Grand Lounge, so I chatted with them as well.  Terry Waite (Yorkshire) came by and entertained us with a mimicking rendition of the drill announcement on the Tannoy.  Ha HA!  The speaker was so loud we put our fingers in our ears.

After hearing all of the drill, I wandered a bit, noting that the Queens Grill staterooms on eight deck each had a door knob yellow sign “Clear” as did the heads and Board Room.

Eve Jones gave her first lecture,  “Dollar Duchesses and Diabolical Dukes.”

Noon Report:  We are heading NNW 345˚ Rhumb line, having turned toward San Francisco at a speed of 16.2 knots – 33˚05′ N x 121˚ W.  Calm seas and low swell, light wind – 17 knots over the decks.

I shared lunchtime in the Lido with Nellie Burns.  She has seen Jean Burns but I haven’t yet.  I then enjoyed reading my book facing aft in sunshine away from the chilly wind, till time for the movie, “The Sentinel.”  During my search to find Jean I had tea in the Lido with Granya – read again in the area by the Library, then went to the cabin at five-thirty.  I ate all alone at 255 because the couple opted for the late seating.

I had a long chat with Eric about his wartime activities on merchant ships, including being sunk by a U-boat and rescued by a trawler!  I was back in the cabin by nine forty-five.

Wednesday, 24 January, San Francisco, California.

I awoke just before the alarm went off and prepared to go on deck for the passage under the Golden Gate Bridge, and I made it in time to see the approach through the video viewfinder.  It was quite chilly out there.  By six-fifteen we were docked starboard side facing the city with Nob Hill directly ahead.

After breakfast with the Lees I aid goodbye to Stephanie and Edith and set out to walk along the Harbor road and docks to the Maritime Museum where I went on board the square rigged ship, “Balclutha” and examined the scow schooner “Alma,” the steam tug “Hercules”, the ferry “Eureka” and the side-wheel tug “Eppleton Hall.” I then walked to Ghirideli Square to buy chocolates, which I gave to Eric and Margaret.  I had lunch in the Caronia Restaurant with Gisele and Host, Joe.  An English couple joined us and as usual conversation centered on our cruises and Cunard ships.

When I checked on the Lido, I finally found Jean Burns with Nellie Burns (no relation to each other) and again we talked of our booking experiences.  Jean called her sister on my cell phone.  I then went below for the afternoon, knitting and generally relaxing until dinnertime.  I have a new tablemate from Brisbane, Wendy.  She is the widow of a Merchant Marine Captain so I introduced her to Eric and Margaret.  There being no show tonight I returned to the cabin for the night to await our sail away at ten o’clock.  We did leave more or less on time, but I fell asleep.

Thursday, 25 January, Burns Day.

I awoke early, did my reading and knitting and then found Vernon at a table for two by a port window, so I joined him!  We were going in and out of fog and finally the sun came out brightly.

I found Jean Burns at her favorite spot, sitting by a window between the steps and the Grand Lounge on starboard side.  We chatted a bit and I went on to book 12 future excursions.  Jean says Violet wants us and the Lees to meet her in Sydney, (which we will do), for lunch etc.  I attended the Charlie Urbanowicz lecture, which promises to be very informative.  Next, Eve Jones told us about Robert Burns’ life and poetry.  Naturally, the Theatre was the venue for these.

Noon Report:  35˚ N x 128˚ W;  Rhumb line 241˚ – moderate seas and long westerly swells.  Wind: Force 4 from the west.  30 knots over the deck.  Temp: 56.3 Fahrenheit.

After a brief time with Eric and Margaret I headed for the Lido and found Wendy, so I joined her with an Elizabeth from England.  The ship has been pitching in the long swells, so while in the Lido I enjoyed seeing the stern rise and fall.  As a matter of fact, I did go to the taffrail to watch the wake and swells, an exercise I can never get enough of!

I tried the movie, “Mission Impossible III” but left half way through to return to my cabin, where I knitted and watched “Driving Lesson” with Julie Walters and Rupert Grint (Weasly in “Harry Potter.”)  Teatime found me heading for the Lido where I met Bill Greenwood.  He invited me to view his DVD of ships ready for scrapping.  I am to call him for some afternoon.  I ate with Wendy and Elizabeth – Aussie not English.  There wasn’t much to represent Burns night, but white and blue balloons, haggis and venison goulash.  Not for me!  I did, however, indulge in crème brulé!

As I left the Lido I spoke to Captain McNaught briefly joking that he was released from his isolation.  He responded with humor and warm pleasantries as though he recognized me.  He actually looks like has enjoyed the sunshine – having a rosy hue! I then slipped into the show or better labeled, “concert” by a loud and not too pleasant sounding tenor. 

The pitching has lessened, but there is still some welcome, gentle motion – rocking in spite of stabilizers.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 26 January.

I arose early to cloudy skies, which remained most of the day.  I had breakfast at 257 with Martha, Betty and another friend, Beverly, all of whom had been on the “Aegean I, and know Phyllis Reynolds.  At nine o’clock I turned in my Passport at 2 Deck G stairway, then tried Yacht Club starboard for a quiet read.  The Chaplain’s discussion went on there after a lecture on Russia (not in the daily schedule).  After the morning lecture about Banquets and Claridges, the wind had picked up a bit so with our 27 plus knots speed it was blustery on deck. 

I tried some time in the Board Room and had pleasant conversation with Perle, Terry and others gathered by the bookstand.  A nice Brit lady and I found information and shared tips for upcoming ports.  Linda joined me for lunch in the Lido – I ate too much as usual!

The afternoon movie was a big waste of time – “Matador.”  I knitted in the cabin till time to dress formal for dinner.  I almost crashed the Grills’ cocktail party, but realized my mistake in time to pull out of line!  Wendy and I being the only ones assigned to our table 255, we enjoyed our exclusive dinner of lobster tail and gran marnier soufflé – pea and bean soup to start.

Eric and Margaret went to a party so Wendy and I joined Frank and Marie for the show by Sally Jones, a West End performer.  She was quite good!

There is some rocking motion and without checking outside someone said we have a strong broadside wind.  You can pretty much tell the stabilizers are trying valiantly!

Saturday, 27 January.

When I awoke I could see a bright day in the offing.  I had breakfast with Gronya and Peter on port windows of Mauretania, then headed to Boat Deck!  The weather was mild but the headwind was cool and not conducive to lingering long outside.  However, I did try it for a while, till time for the ten o’clock lecture on the history of “Forensic Science from Ancient China to Quincy” followed by Eve Jones’ talk on the Astor family- from Germany to England and America, entitled “Rough Manners.”  When we left the Theatre shortly before noon, I again tried the weather on deck but didn’t linger long.  I went below to get my sweater and after lunch with Bill G. (cabin 3033) and dessert with Marguerite and Shirley, I then returned to starboard Boat Deck for a nice hour of reading.  I got my GPS to work finally and saw the Hawaiian Islands on screen!

At two thirty Charlie Urbanoweicz raced through his lecture on Hawaiian history – too fast!  I wasn’t the only one trying to keep up (I always take notes) even the listeners were breathless so to speak!  I returned to the deck to read some more till I tried the Board Room at teatime.  I had hot chocolate with Elaine and David from Minnesota.

Since tonight we had our first Captain’s Cocktail party since New York, I made the effort to attend.  When introduced to Ian McNaught I tried a wisecrack as we shook hands “How are your eyes; do you see spots with all those flashes?  He chuckled and said “I have another pair upstairs!”  We posed together for another flash and I was off and was greeted by Martyn Moss.  Not able to find a free chair, I ended up standing with Marguerite.  The Captain said a few words and announced he will leave tomorrow and we all groaned.  He’ll be back when we get to Southampton.

I went up to dinner with Wendy and had lamb.  The rice pudding was nowhere near up to par.  Our waiter actually talked it up, and I was swayed by his pitch!  Wendy and Eric compared their sea experiences, then we stayed for the show by pianist and songster Chris Hamilton and later – Renato Pagliari – what a strain!

The first World Cruise gift was on my bed when I returned for the night: a black and red commemorative tote bag!  Clocks back one hour.

Sunday, 28 January – Honolulu.

When I emerged to witness the docking process we were just about abreast of Pier 2 to the east of the Aloha Tower and Maritime Museum, housing the “Falls of Clyde” square rigger.  We were gently pushed sideways till we were in position.  I saw Captain McNaught, the Pilot and another officer putting on their raincoats as a shower passed by.  The Hawaiian band and dancers had to end the serenade and greeting to save the drum and other instruments.

I had breakfast with Vernon on Port side, then went below to prepare for my day ashore.  The gangway was starboard side at stairway A.  I walked through the new, large terminal to the street and turned left for the Aloha Tower.  I went to the top to film QE2 at Pier 2 and “Pride of Aloha” at pier 10-11, then browsed at the shops before going to Hilo Hattie’s to shop.  I then took the trolley shuttle to Waikiki to browse at the International Market place and returned to the ship on the trolley by way of Hilo Hattie’s again.

I had lunch with Nellie and Jean, then joined the Lees on deck facing Waikiki and Diamond Head, and called the family from the deck.  I only got Geoff.  Gathering clouds and a squall prompted me to leave my deck chair and on the way aft, a gust uprooted a table umbrella, which two of us saved from being blown overboard.  We also put down the three remaining umbrellas!

I knitted in my cabin till time for dinner at six o’clock (15 minutes earlier).  I wore my new outfit, bought at Hilo Hattie’s.  Ate alone but had discourse with my neighbors.  Several of us adjourned to the Grand Lounge to see the special Hawaiian dance and singing, which was superb, with young girls dancing in light precision and the family of musicians lovingly supporting the little girls. 

I went on deck and found a beautiful, warm and sparkling harbor aglow with city lights.  I watched a large container ship creep by us and veer slightly to port toward its berth across fro the Aloha Tower pier, which the “Pride of Aloha” had vacated while we had dinner.

I met Gisele near E stairway and we two sent up to Funnel Deck to watch the Sail Away party.  Everyone received orchid leis, but eventually I became bored so left to watch the ship leave.  I at on deck well over an hour and nothing happened.  Finally, near eleven forty-five I walked aft and could see a tug heading for us.  It latched on to our port stern; lines were cast off the quay and then I discovered by the fantail a good spot to watch the large capstan on the docking deck haul in the stern dock line, while two other men hand-coiled the thick cable into a big pile.  I then went forward to see if a tug was there.  Yes.  The bow tug pushed while the stern tug pulled the ship around 180˚ on her axis, leaving little room between the island park at the stern and bow toward the quay.  By eleven forty-five we were headed out the channel and I went down to sleep!

Monday, 29 January – Lahaina.

After retiring near midnight and a late awakening, we were greeted with rain and a strong wind.  Captain David Perkins came on the Tannoy to say we will not be tendering.  The “Rhyndam,” anchored here as well has also cancelled her stay.  We are to look for whales.  White caps are pretty universal!

I had breakfast with Jean B. and Geri in the Lido, then Jean joined me for Charlie’s lecture on Darwin and his video of Darwin’s young life.  Charlie himself played the part of Darwin.  I then found Eric and Margaret inside the Queen’s Room to chat and knit.  In the course of reporting the entrance of a large freighter in the harbor last night, the light dawned on me that most likely that was the reason we were so late leaving.  It figures!

At lunchtime I chose a table for four by a starboard window in Mauretania, and was well rewarded, because Gwendolyn from Coventry joined me and we had a lovely conversation about  Mrs. Milburn’s Diaries and her own memories of the war when she was a teenager in Coventry.  Then another Brit lady from Norfolk joined us, adding nicely to the mix: Paula Bell.  We all talked and lingered so long that with a brief check on the weather (windy but warm and sunny) I went directly to the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

Wendy and I enjoyed our table literally for two, and I opted to skip the ventriloquist show so spent some time on deck gazing up to the waxing moon at its zenith, and Rowena (the waitress from the Board Room) as she too enjoyed the soft tropical air.  Grania and Peter were alone in the Board Room so I joined them till closing time at eight o’clock.  I returned to the cabin for the night.


2007 World Cruise – Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 

25TH WORLD CRUISE

JANUARY 8 – APRIL 27, 2007

CABIN 5145

Monday, 8 January, 2007 – New York Harbor

After a very wakeful night in anticipation and delayed flight to LaGuardia, I managed to pull my two bags in tandem to the Cunard pick-up bus.  Using the Platinum check-in line and immediate assistance, I was on my way up the gangway to Queen Elizabeth 2, which by the way looks grand in her new coat of white and black paint.  Before entering at Midships Lounge, we had to sanitize our hands!  O what is new?

A steward took my bags to assist, but since he waited for the lift I went on down E stairway, turned aft and was immediately at the side alley with cabin 5145 the first cabin to the left.  It later turned out that Margaret and Eric Lee are in 5153 very near me.  The first familiar face was Gronya from two years ago.

I attended the Lifeboat drill in the Golden Lion Pub, where I met Suzy from the Crèche.  I spotted the PEKING at Pier 17 across the water at the South Street Seaport Museum, and when I expressed excitement, Suzy came over to see what it was all about.  I told her about Irving Johnson and his experience and filming of his voyage on this square-rigger around the Horn.  She kept coming back to me during the drill.  On the way downward, I remembered I had left my handbag in the Pub, so I returned and learned that someone had taken it to the Purser’s office.  I met Stephanie and Edith on the way, and it was a happy reunion.

Among the further re-acquaintances were Evelyn, Doris  McKeller, Marguerite, the Lees, Lillian, and I called on Diane Hertlein in cabin 1001.  Lillian gave me one of her new toothbrushes when I discovered I had forgotten one!

The ship was delayed because of the Coast Guard inspection, so it was after dinner when we left the pier.  Dinner was pleasant with a British couple, Ted and Linda, a dance Host, Jim, and two others traveling singles, Connie and Tom.  By the time I returned to the cabin it was after eight o’clock and I saw the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge pass over the bow – on the TV.  It is rather noisy in the cabin – especially as the engines rev up.  I guess I have been spoiled by the quietness of QM2!  The vibrations feel up and down instead of sideways.

Tuesday, 9 January.

There is very little ship motion.  I settled in more by re-arranging my stuff and putting up the world map and Cunard scarves.  Home decorations!  Mary Mastony invited me to join her by the window in Omar’s section of the Mauretania Restaurant when I went to breakfast.  Mary is the notorious QE2 Diva!  Omar recognized me and why not?  Eric and Margaret Lee were also there and they gave me the marvelous “Ships” magazine, which I took to Port Queens Room to save seats for them.  The smoking section has been reverse from Portside to Starboard!  Gisele came by, and when the Lees arrived I wandered hither and yon, meeting up with Terry Waite, and Perle Coles (at the singles coffee in the Lido aft).  There was no easy access to a chair so I crawled under the tables to an empty one.

It is a bit brisk on deck with a 30-knot wind.  Captain Ian McNaught filled us in on departure time last night.  The Pilot left us at 9:15 p.m. and at nine o’clock this morning we were off Cape Hateras.  The seas are slight and the water temperature is 22˚C – in the Gulf Stream I presume.  Our direction is 108˚ Rhumb Line.  There was so much noise at the Singles coffee, I missed the other noon details. 

The three-piece QE2 Tapestry is back at Boat Deck E Stairway landing – all repaired.

I shared a delightful spaghetti lunch with Australia Valerie (Bennett) and her friend Molly in the Mauretania restaurant, where I checked in with Carmella, the new hostess.  YoYo is now a cruise saleswoman.  By the way, I have booked for the next World Cruise, which will do the Pacific Rim and join up with Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 for the dramatic triple tandem from New York to Fort Lauderdale! 

I attended the lecture on “Making the Titanic” by Jon Hollis.  The video was very interesting, showing the blending of actual films and technical effects.  I also saw the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada” with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. 

It is still nippy outside, but the sky is that cool sunset appearance of grey-blues and pinky hints.  I gave the gift Champagne to the Lees.  Their cabin is 5153, just like mine with a stool.  We had a different dance host at dinner and Beryl arrived – only her 3rd World Cruise.  She is from the island of Jersey.

I chatted a bit with Lillian and the Lees and left them for the balcony to watch the show, so I could leave when I wanted to.  I did leave after two numbers to return “home,” shower and head for bed.  My shower drain is very slow so will have to ask for a plunger treatment.

Wednesday, 10 January – Fort Lauderdale.

We were docked by eight o’clock after having nosed in parallel to Queen Mary 2 at her quay, and pivoting 90˚ on the bow to tie up nose to nose!  I got some great footage of the process.  Many acquaintances came by to chat during and after the process including Gisele, Stephanie and Edith, Margaret and tablemates Linda and Ted.  The rest of the morning I observed the food loading process, sat on Boat Deck, which has new lovely heavy wooden chairs, and did some reading.

The Caronia Restaurant was open to us plebeians so I joined Stephanie and Edith by a window in there, facing Queen Mary 2.  They will be at Captain McNaught’s table for the rest of their cruise to LA.

I spent the afternoon on Port Boat Deck facing QM2 and the harbor, dotted with trips forward and checking the progress of the provisioning.  Myriad skids of goods at more near the bow are systematically craned to the hold, and transported into the hull with no end in sight.  The ship is supposed to leave at 4:30 but I doubt it strongly!

I had tea with Eric and Margaret in the Lido.  Maria and Frank Sotile have embarked and are in 5147 – in our alley!  We suggested wild parties, Ha HA! 

Basically I spent from 4:30 to 8:15 on deck in anticipation of our dual departures.  Captain McNaught had to come on the Tannoy at least five times to update us on the delays.  QM2 – (paper work re: Brazil Visas – provisioning and no doubt other reasons) – till after eight o’clock when first QM2 slowly backed out to the tune of dueling whistles from each ship.  I got it all on tape!  Yippee!  When we were pulled away and turned out by the apartment buildings, we again tooted and got countless responses of whistles, tooters and sirens from shore.  Fabulous!  I then had two salads and brownie with ice cream in the Lido by myself and returned to my cabin by nine-thirty.  I watched the “Chronicles of Narnia” on television.

While standing on Port Observation I had long conversations with Catherine and John from Sydney regarding the moment, Australia and just plain fun and jokes.  They too wonder what the third word ending in “gry” is after “angry” “hungry” and ??  Marguerite came by for a while.

The answer to the riddle is “puggry” a Hindi word meaning a light scarf wrapped around a sun helmet or used as a hatband.  This was a riddle posed by Jon Hollis in yesterday’s lecture on the Titanic.

Thursday, 11 January.

I was up and out by eight o’clock and shared breakfast in the Lido with Nellie Burns.  I then tried the deck and settled in a deck chair on starboard away from the sun, reading the “Cruise of the Conrad.”  I tried out my new GPS, which takes a long time to locate enough satellites.  Terry Waite’s lecture on negotiating with hostage takers was very informative, emphasizing that talking is better than force.  A young man sitting in front of me had a book called “The Atlantic”, part of a series on oceans and explorer history. Later I learned his name, Gary.

Captain McNaught has cancelled social parties because of another outbreak.  Tonight will be informal instead of formal.  The weather is sunny and warm with slight seas and low swell.

I sought out Vernon’s table across the restaurant and joined him for lunch with Nellie Burns.  Another gent joined us as well.  Mind you, I have known Vernon since 2003 when I sat at his table for the whole World Cruise that year; I still have no idea what his sir name is. Since we are on what they call, a “Red Alert” there are hand-sanitizing stands at the entrance to everything and all foodstuffs are prohibited in the Board Room and bars.  Only drinks are allowed.  Valerie Noonan appeared in the Board Room and we hugged in greeting.  Bless her, she learned about the food prohibition, disappeared and brought me three cookies from the Lido!

At two-thirty I attended the building of Titanic lecture, then hit the deck for over an hour.  The white caps are dotted all around, caused by our westerly wind from which we are retreating.  Nice!  Back to the cabin by 4:30.

I started stuffing the knitted Santa Claus doll, watching television, and went to dinner in the Mauretania with Connie, Beryl, Ted, Linda and another dance host and Marge.  The tables have no salt and pepper shakers.  I headed for the Lees’ usual spot in the Grand Lounge and there were Maria and Frank plus Lillian (to whom I gave the replacement toothbrush which I had bought while in port yesterday.)  The comedian Norm Crosby was the show tonight.

Friday, 12 January.

When I arose to the feel of a pitching ship and a bow picture of gray skies and white caps, I quickly surmised we were going to skip Grand Cayman.  I showered and at eight o’clock, Captain McNaught came on all speakers to announce 25 to 30 knot winds and ten-foot waves, and indeed we are headed for Cartagena, Colombia on a course 151˚ and at 13 knots. 

Lectures were quickly arranged and I attended the one on opera and Terry Waite’s talk.  I had spent some time on deck beforehand, but around noon I retreated to the cabin, not feeling tops.  I tried the movie “Antarctica” at two-thirty but left and spent the rest of the day praying and sleeping.  After a brief stab at dinner in the Lido, I gave up and returned for the night.

Saturday, 13 January.

At breakfast in the Lido I came across Bill Greenwood from two years ago.  He and Richard Clay were at Vernon’s table then.  Anyway, Bill is here for the whole World Cruise and Richard will join him in Singapore.  We talked at length about ships as usual.  I attended two lectures in the morning: 1. on Iran and 2. Patricia Neal.

For a short while I enjoyed reading on Boat Deck, looking to the white caps and active waves in sunshine.  Then I headed for lunch with three Brits and us three Americans.  The gent next to me was very funny and we both put vinegar on our tablecloth spots, his shirt and my trousers with much hilarity!  We were trying to eradicate the spots made by our lunch drippings!

At two-thirty I returned to the Theatre to hear the next Titanic lecture and video, and then went on deck to read “The Cruise of the Conrad.”  The seas are undulating nicely in the wind strong enough to make whitecaps, in short it was beautiful out there!  Toward five o’clock I called Diane Hertlein who let me take a bath in her tub.  She is enjoying the voyage experience.

Connie arrived at our table in Pirate costume and another new Dance Host, Henry, has joined us.  Beryl is from the island of Jersey.  I tried the end of the movie in the Theatre but decided I don’t want to return.  Consequently, I returned to my cabin to work on the Santa doll and watch television.  “Ladies in Lavender” with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

Sunday, 14 January – Cartagena, Colombia.

There was some noticeable motion through the night so I put the plants and water tray on the deck for safety.  We were docked in the container port by seven o’clock, and when I went up to look around you could see the curve of the land on all sides.  This is where Sir Francis Drake slipped in at night, captured the town and plundered all the gold and treasure in the 17th century.  It was a pirate target several times.

I got one-dollar bills from the Purser’s Office and went on deck to film the surroundings of the harbor, the main feature being one hill off our bow, which has a monastery on it.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, I could also see our Pirate galleon tied up for my harbor cruise.

I met briefly with the Lees at breakfast – their first day out of quarantine.  Next, the harbor cruise took us along the cargo area, past QE2, through anchored yachts of all sizes, a huge catamaran, a wooden schooner and so on, and then we came to parts of the extensive wall, forts, cathedral and large church of the old city.  We then returned by the naval yard and quays, more modern city and past a statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the channel.  We had dancers, refreshments (by the QE2) and a very detailed account of the history and sights.

Back at the ship, Diane joined me for lunch at a table in the Mauretania.  We talked about mutual friends in St. Louis and CS.  I then spent time on Boat Deck with the Lees by Queens Grill till time to see the movie – “Goodnight and Good Luck.”  I returned to Boat Deck just as the Lees were leaving, so I read my book out there till our departure time when the ship’s whistle startled me big time!  We backed and pivoted on stern with two tugs pushing stern and one on Port bow.  While watching us proceed along and out the bay, I chatted with Bill Greenwood as the sun set.  At dusk we passed the outer round Fort, then we parted to go inside, it having turned quite dark by that time.

At seven-thirty I met up with Marguerite and her friend Geri for dinner in the Lido.  Valerie Noonan met with us for lively discussions about the cabin, good and bad!  We then parted to hear Annette Wardell do her operatic arias to good acclaim.  I then walked on deck in clear, humid air.  A man continues to squirt and wipe off all the chairs.  It appears the shops are remaining open later.

While returning from the harbor cruise, I noticed that on the stern of QE2 the three fantail decks below in other words the docking decks have sturdy metal fences along the open areas, reaching up high to the deck height – very adequate security!

Monday, 15 January – Panama Canal Transit.

I was awake at six-thirty to see we were already in the channel to enter the first of the three Gatun Locks and was on hand above to film us in the second one.  I saw the Chagres River and later the dam, while having breakfast with Madeline the French lady and an English lady.  Gisele joined me when the others left.  I went right outside again to the hot, humid air with no real idea to secure a deck chair.  I eventually found a quiet spot in Crystal Bar to do some reading.  Having noticed the shops were open, I bought a black skirt!  Soon I found the Lees in Crystal Bar, where we talked and I read them the article about the “Umbria in 1892.  We then had to shut up or leave, because the Bridge Lecture was getting under way there.  I read the Conrad book.

When I again went on deck I lingered with Edith and Stephanie through the Galliard Cut and up to the Pedro Miguel Locks.  We had lunch late in the Mauretania with Avis and John.  As we continued through the canal all afternoon, I opted for the movie “Walk the Line” – keeping cool! 

We were clear and going by the Fuerte Amador islands going out to sea, and it was then that Valerie Noonan and I chatted by the port railings and walked to the bow for a while watching the brown boobies soaring in our bow winds till time to dress for dinner.  I wore my new skirt, which I like a lot!  Connie, Marge, Beryl and the two guys were all there as well.  I then sat with the Lees, Marie and Frank for the show.  QE2 Singers and Dancers night.

Again I met up with Valerie and we walked Boat Deck barefoot in oh so pleasant weather!  I was back in my cabin by ten o’clock. Valerie had come with me to take away the torch plant given to me when I embarked in New York.

Tuesday, 16 January – Fuerte Amador, Panama.

The ship went out to sea for the night and returned to Fuerte Amador to anchor for the day..  I could see what I presume was the rising moon in early morning and guessed we had turned back.  According to channel 4 route map we had done precisely this.  We anchored off the two little islands, and afterward I had milk, cranberry juice and an apple with Gisele and a friend.  I headed for a shady spot on Boat Deck facing those islands and the Balboa Bridge in the distance.  A lady sitting in the same section brought me a cup of iced tea, which I augmented when a guy came by offering ice water. – Frigate birds soared by us as did a group of pelicans.  When the sun eventually reached me I went inside to much welcome cooler air.  I browsed in the Library where I noticed Bruce Peter’s book on “Ships of the Scandanavian Style,” as well as the vast nautical offerings.  I read more in the Conrad book at Crystal Bar facing Panama City.

I ate salads, milk and ice cream at the Lido, then spotted the Lees and Lillian by the Port side of the Queens Room aft partition,  so arranged an extra chair to join the conversation.  The movie at two-thirty was “Pride and Prejudice” with Kira Knightly.  I followed that with another hour on deck reading the “Conrad” book, which completed my outside visits till I finished it.

Back in the cabin I watched “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” while working on the Santa doll.  Lido dinner with Valerie Noonan and Betty, and then went to the Harp concert.  It is still humid out but clear.  The Lees dropped by so Margaret could choose a knitting project from my Scottish doll book.  She chose  little doggie pattern.

Wednesday, 17 January.

I had a relatively late breakfast in the Lido; a light one.  Betty the tiny blonde was a tablemate briefly.  Without even checking the deck (I saw placid waters and humidity haze), I headed for the lecture on finding and preserving the “Titanic” followed by Questions and Answers in the Grand Lounge with Terry Waite and Tom Hershfield.

I spoke briefly with Diane afterward.  Previously I had chatted with my young, British friend Gary, who showed me photos he had downloaded from Maritime Matters – of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 in Fort Lauderdale plus the Queen Victoria.

I have chosen Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower” from the Library.

Noon Report:  L. 07˚46′ N x 085˚06.4’W – 90 miles off Costa Rica – Wind Force 2 (4-6 knots)  Speed: 25.4 knots – Rhumb Line 284˚  Smooth seas and tiny short swells.

I had a lovely lunch with Gronya, Peter and Jenny – near the Lees.  We shared a barbeque entré three ways including a small corn on the cob.  We had lively discussions about ships, our individual experiences and past lives.  Omar always smiles as he waits on all his clients!  He will leave at LA to head home to Singapore, and he will be missed.

I found Margaret and Eric at the Grand Lounge, which was surprisingly warm by comparison to other times.  Both Margaret and I started our new knitting projects; she a brown doggy and I, Cinderella.

I think I made a mistake by attending “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, a nonsensical spoof!  I then wandered aft to the Lido and was heartily greeted and hugged by Sheshank!  He now works in the Caronia Restaurant, but is in the Lido every other day.  I was late, but he arranged for me to have tea, during which he would return occasionally as sanitary “officer.”  [Clocks back one hour.]

Thursday, 18 January.

I went to A stairway by the usual degrees, stopping to admire the schooner oil painting at B Stairway on Two Deck, then reached the Mauretania Restaurant just behind the Lees.  There being no room in Omar’s section, we three ate near the long mural on the port side and were pampered by several waiters who know the Lees as well as Omar!

At ten o’clock I was at Tom Hirshfield’s lecture on Korea, which was most informative, especially the history of Russian relations as well as Japanese occupation till the end of WW II.

I tried reading on the windy deck behind a stack of life rafts till the sun caught up to my legs.  I also saw the swells and white caps on blue water, not realizing we were pitching a fair amount.  Noon Report:  84˚ Fahrenheit – north wind at Force 4 (15 knots) making wind over the decks about 30 knots.  Rhumb Line course 313˚ – slight seas and moderate northerly swells.  Later the seas picked up and white caps sent spume aloft occasionally.

Around one o’clock I headed inside, intending to go to the Mauretania.  However, on the way I freshened up at the Boat Deck ladies room and when I came out, Gregory Dorothy and I met and hugged.  We chatted a bit and parted – he is in Queens Grill still and sports a small beard and mustache!

I actually passed through Mauretania on my way to the Lido.  Since I had already eaten my peanut butter sandwich, all I had was  a tiny salad, tapioca pudding and milk.  Margaret and Eric were by the Library in the sun, so I joined them to knit and chat till time for the two-thirty lecture on “Operation Anthropoid 1942” followed by “Mrs. Henderson Presents” with Judi Dench.  Afterward I went on deck and was nearly blown aft as I walked that way, clear down to the taffrail to watch the wake.  Cabin time followed till my Lido dinner at seven-thirty.  I sat with Marguerite and Geri and checked on the last part of the show before turning in for the night.  I saw Stephanie at the cooking demo on the television.

Jan Christiansen is the Purser on the QE2 now.  I had sat with him at the Commodore’s table with Emily – on the South American Odyssey in 2006.

Friday, 19 January – Acapulco, Mexico

We spent the day anchored in Acapulco Bay, and I stayed on board – reading on Boat Deck, lunching in the Coronia Restaurant with Diane Hertlein by a window, and  then I saw the movie, “Firewall” – a thriller for sure.

I returned to Boat Deck to read and eventually watch the tender shipping process.  I made the acquaintance of Ernie (a fellow Linerslister) and we talked quite a while before QE2 was pushed stern first around to head outward.  As soon as the three whistle blasts were done, I gave up and prepared for dinner in Mauretania.  I changed my table to 255 for the next segment.

Saturday, 20 January.

During the night a special letter from the Captain arrived, stating we all have to leave the ship for the day in Los Angeles in order for them (exterminators) to treat or fumigate the whole ship.  Cunard is offering many full day tours free of charge to keep us all occupied.  I will order a ticket, but if Chris will come I’ll not use it!  Also we will each be given a $25 credit. 

I had breakfast with Jenny at my table, and then searched out the Lees till time for the ten o’clock lecture on Islam.  During the hour following, I came across Faith and Wendell Bishop.

The weather was windy and unpleasant all morning, but by noon the wind had abated enough for me to try the deck, which was very tolerable, and I read till time for lunch in the Mauretania with the Priest, a multi-racial and international man, Shirley, from Toronto, a London lady, and an American lady.  I had earlier taken my two dolls to Marie’s charity table so had to collect them at one-thirty.  A lady saw the Santa and wanted the directions, so we had copies of them made at the Business Center.

Sue Krisman’s lecture on the history of musicals was delightful and I stayed for the movie “HUD” but left after a half hour for tea.  Gronya and I had an animated conversation about Quebec, Gisele and her years in Canada, where she met and married Peter.

Back at the cabin, Margaret showed me how easy it is to use the safe with a credit card.  “Pride and Prejudice” was on the television and this keeps me occupied as I whip off my post cards.  I gave my two remaining wines to Terry Waite (the Yorkshire man).  I had dinner at the Lido with three dance hosts, Bill, Hugh, and Malcolm, and gorged on crèmes caramels.

I caught a bit of the mind reader show, and when I returned to the cabin, another bottle of wine from the Captain in amends for inconveniencing us passengers, appeared on my dresser. [Clocks back one hour.]

Sunday, 21 January.

I awoke very early by the new time, so puttered in the cabin.  QE2 keeps on at her smooth pace!  My cabin is normally very hot, so the added air conditioner is most welcome and does a great job.  This is a good place to describe this cabin number 5145, because the culprit for making it so very hot in here is the fact that the cabin deck must have steam pipes running along it fore and aft.  I quickly ascertained that the very hottest spot was directly under my bed, where a bit of the carpet is curled up.  The space under the bed is almost unbearable, so I moved my two suitcases (emptied of the spare stuff) under there to be a buffer zone.  This actually did make things a bit better for my warm mattress.  Actually, to step on the floor (deck) is almost too hot to linger!  That extra air conditioner on the wall over the other bed, indeed is a godsend!

Leo, my steward is one of the Filipinos due to leave tomorrow, but since the plane doesn’t leave till night, all of them have to participate in the systematic wash-down of everything.  I’ll give him a $40 tip.

I had breakfast with Pam, who turned out to be the one whose husband stood by me in the Fremantle Market last year when my Visa card was questioned.  We discussed the charges for single cabins at one and a half!

At ten o’clock I attended Jon Hollis’ final ship lecture on the “Normandie.”  The most interesting development is that a Priest has made a 22-foot long half model of the ship, which is made with finest details of furniture, fixtures, paintings, sculptures and so on.  It is displayed on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  I must go see it!

I then opted to read my book in the Grand Lounge and found Betty Thompson there so we read together.  Cabin 3021.  Valerie Noonan came by – cabin 4096.  When the noon report came on we were blasted by the Tannoy high volume so loudly that  we had to cover our ears!

N 27˚ x 115˚ W.  Speed 25.7 knots.  Wind Force 4 (11-16 mph).  Course 324˚ Rhumb Line.  Low swell and slight seas in cloudy and cool weather.

I signed up for the Talent Show and rehearsed the lute song “So Sweete is She” an English lute song from the year 1614.  This is from a play by Ben Johnson called “The Devil is an Ass”!  As I stood on the stage singing it and trying to keep the necessary straight tone, I was greatly hampered in this endeavour because of the vertical vibrations of the stage caused by the rotating propellers way down below. We had the usual range of good and tolerable acts!

Jenny joined me for lunch at table 257 in Omar’s section.  Omar will be leaving us in LA and he will be missed.

Oh yes!  At nine-forty-five the water tight doors were tested and Leo monitored the one by my cabin.  I watched this one being closed by the pneumatic system, revealing a substantial yellow door with black stripes.  Leo pulled down a yellow lever to release it to close.  He confirmed the doors are no longer closed for port entry or departure.

After lunch I spent a few moments with the Lees by Queens Room, also with Lillian.  Then after a brief chat with Bill Greenwood, discussing his having found a light bulb placed on the deck of the Mauretania” model by D Stairway.  It (the bulb) had broken some guy-wires and Bill reported it.

I had to collect the Ships monthly magazine from Edith at 2054, and while there she showed me their posh cabin with walk-in closet.  Their bathroom is very spacious with a tub: they have two portholes and posh fixtures all over.  Their hooks look quite natural although they put them up each time the travel on the ship and leave them.

At my last dinner at 227, Marge told me more about the vandalism two years ago.  Apparently the three stoned guys threw deck chairs into a lifeboat and set of an EPIRB to which the Coast Guard responded by asking what was the emergency!  The Lees said they were held in cabins with security guards at each one till they were taken off in Southampton.  All this escaped me at the time, although I was on board.

I stayed for the show then headed downward to strip my cabin for Leo and the cleaners tomorrow, while we are all off the ship. [Clocks back one hour.]

Monday, 22 January – San Pedro, California.

Te ship was docked near five o’clock, and I was awake to watch the process on my television.  I proceeded to dress and read a bit.   Little after six o’clock I joined the long queue for immigration in the Queens Room, then headed up to Mauretania where I sat by the window for breakfast with Jenny.  I vacated my now bare cabin to join the Lees on Boat Deck for their phone call on my mobile.  I had previously called Cherie and she confirmed Chris and Ben would be coming to visit.

I went ashore to wait over two hours for Chris and Ben, who took me to the Queen Mary.  We looked around and had a nice lunch at the Promenade Restaurant overlooking Long Beach Harbor.  I saw my young English friend, Gary there.  We finally were able to see the twenty-two foot model of the “Normandie” and Jon Hollis’ commemorative coin plus a “Lusitania” model.

Before all this I had a long conversation with Jon Hollis who happens to be from Pembroke, MA.  We talked at length about QE2 and his long years working on board. 

We passengers were allowed back on the ship shortly before five o’clock, and after settling in and knitting, I had my first dinner at table 255 with Carol and Val, two Americans newly embarked.  I returned to the cabin for the night, and didn’t count on watching us depart at ten o’clock.  We’ll see.


QE2-QM2 WC 2005 – Part 6

Shift from Queen Elizabeth 2 to Queen Mary 2 for Trans-Atlantic Crossing.   WC Part 6 – 2005

Queen Mary 2 – Southampton, England

The lifeboat drill was at five o’clock and my station is B in the Winter Garden.  That being done, I headed briefly for Prop Deck, but soon took the outside lift to Atlantic Observation Deck on 10, where I waited with Holly and Hollis Latham for the dramatic departure.  A spouting Fire tug preceded us right up to QE2.  Both ships blasted their whistles in threes several times.  Appropriately, when QE2’s deep modulated whistle responded, we applauded.  QM2’s foghorn was particularly loud where we stood- up front.  You can tell each Captain is proud of his ship!

I dashed to table 259 in Britannia restaurant and met Frank, Art, Annette and Phil, Sharon and three others.  Sharon joined me on the left balcony for the show.  Brian Price still holds forth as Cruise Director.  So far the ship is nearly motionless.

Ut oh.  My cabin must be just above the Royal Court Theatre stage!  For a while the loud music and buzz were audible as well as “feelable.”

It has been a stormy day with large swells and whitecaps.  I searched out a nice game table on Deck 2 forward on portside where I sat for a while reading and experiencing the occasional foamy wipeout on the window at this low level.  Various friends wandered by to chat.  At eleven thirty after waiting for the crowd to thin out, I went to the special QE2 cocktail welcome party by Captain Paul Wright and hosted by Elaine, who obviously changed over with us.

I went to lunch in the Britannia Restaurant by a window with two British couples and two ladies from the World Cruise.  We had great conversations about world places.  I then spent some time in the Library and checked on the Bridge viewing area, and Commodore Club, where I read by the port window and forward.

I was attracted by an H. Stern come-on lecture and jewelry show in the Chart Room.  I took delight in showing the ring I had bought way back in 1993 when the QE2 did a round South America segment.

At three o’clock I joined my fellow World Cruise people at Todd English where we are privileged to take tea each afternoon.  Very posh and bright it is.  Doris L. and Irma K. plus Mary M. joined me and afterward we checked our bookings with Betty.  Doris and I are set to share at great half off savings per cabin.

Half of the Ensemble group members had our final freebee tonight at Todd English restaurant.  I sat with Joe and Lori Burke plus Doreen K. from Martha’s Vineyard and Anne-Marie and husband.  The experience of masterfully prepared and presented food was outstanding as we sat in our sumptuous stuffed booths with lobster and corn chowder, thick beef cooked rare on spinach and mashed potatoes, then Fallen chocolate cake and raspberry sauce.  The others had all the wine they wanted!  There was nothing more I wanted to do so I simply returned to my cabin by ten o’clock.

We are experiencing only slight motion.  Clocks back one hour.

Monday, 18 April – Atlantic Ocean.

Gemma and I had breakfast and a fun talk together in one of the King’s Court nooks observing the very active waves and spray, as well as the occasional rainbow reflecting the sun from aft.

I then headed to Deck 2 port corridor for close up views of the very large waves.  Marilyn and Glen Peters stopped by to chat a while.  I later cashed some travelers’ checks and received a very nice Cunard slim pen.  I gave my flight information to the travel desk people and collected my developed photos. At eleven I attended the very entertaining talk by the BBC newsman, Michael Buerk, and it was obvious the Brits far outnumbered the Americans here because he was much better known to them.

Noon Report:  N49˚ 52′ x W 026˚ 44′; Course: 263˚ (great circle route) and 25 – 30 foot waves.  Wind: 45 knots over the decks.  The seas are moderate, and heavy swells prevail.

At lunch in the Britannia Restaurant I again had a nice group of mates.  I then went to the Library where I found my favorite chair available looking three ways on starboard side.  I read a while, feeling the rise and fall, plus occasional hull slapping and shudder by the bow.  The seas have very gradually calmed down, so by the time I went to Todd English for tea, things were fairly steady.  When done there I went to Boat Deck aft to take the brisk windy air.  I walked up to 12 Deck stair by stair by stair, then retreated inside to the Pavilion Pool way up top.  Oh yes, earlier I had spent time in the Board Room off Commodore Club.

The string quartet, Con Fuoco plays on the balcony at dinnertime, adding a marvelous ambiance to the elegant Britannia Restaurant. Things have smoothed out enough that after dinner I went with Phil and Annette plus Art and Irene and Sharon, to the dance show “Apassionata.”  It wasn’t possible to perform this last night, because of the motion. Sharon sat with me in my favorite spot, the far left balcony.  I then went right to the cabin, showered and settled in for the night.  Clocks back one hour again.  Knightsbridge Room is on Deck one, C stairway, as is the Chelsea room.

Tuesday, 19 April.

Anita joined me for breakfast in a nook, and eventually I chatted briefly with the Burkes and Caldwells (Fran and Harry).  I then headed for the Library where I found a chair in my favorite spot again.  When the forward chair opened up I moved to the window looking forward.  Eventually I walked up to Commodore Club, and then took the lift down the outside to Deck 7.  This affords such a marvelous view of the ship as well as the ocean’s vast vista. 

I spent some time with Zelma at the 3L art gallery, wandered to Queens Room and G 32 and generally wandered aimlessly till lunch when Anita and her friend joined me for lunch in the Britannia.  Eventually Myron came to sit alone just next to us.  I spent the afternoon in my cabin till teatime when I went to Todd English and shared time with Valerie B. Molly, Erma and Doris and last, Perle.  The view aft from the restaurant shows the outside pool and Jacuzzi plus the wake.

All of my tablemates were present at dinnertime. I went to the movie in Illuminations, “Edge of Reason – Bridget Jones” Clocks back one hour.

Wednesday, 20 April

From the bow scene, it looks like we have a following sea, and a man is standing way forward, looking intently over the ocean.  This proved to be part of a drama, which started with a gentleman gone missing last night!  Suspecting something amiss, I went topside with my GPS and bundled up.  It was frigid outside and the GPS reading revealed we were at 7:20 going 3.9 knots and heading due East.  However, I presumed the figure 8 search pattern had been in effect most of the night, which also proved to be true.  The whole story came out by 8:30 with the order for crew to make a thorough inspection of the ship.  Captain Wright came on the Tannoy and explained the whole thing.  Apparently an 82 year old Doctor from Germany had left a suicide note in his study at home where his wife found it after being notified by the company.  Queen Mary 2 had been working with Newfoundland Coast Guard and alerted all ships in the area to be on the lookout.

We are again heading southwest at nine o’clock at speed, plowing through sizeable seas. I had a nice chat with Lori and Phyllis at King’s Court; then headed to 2 Deck port alleyway to enjoy the rather steep waves.

Through the morning I sat in different venues to read – Deck 2 game area, 3L gallery, Commodore Club, and up and down the scenic lifts and then lunch in Britannia with Anita and friend.

Noon Report:  N45˚ 09′ x W 051˚ 24′  Course:  250˚ Rhumb Line.  Speed 26 knots.  Wind West at 56 knots over the decks.  Temp:  37˚ ; Seas: rough and moderate swell..

I watched the Sherlock Holmes Mystery in the Royal Court Theatre.  It was like a radio play and Lenny B. was the sound effects man.  Funny.  Also I saw two plays given by the RADA group. 

We celebrated Annette’s Birthday at dinner.  This was also the baked Alaska night as well as Chef’s parade.  When done I slipped in at the last minute to Captain Wright’s cocktail party and sat with Chloe and Anne till time to attend the Rock@the Opera show.  It was very good and not too loud.  However, as I write this in my cabin, I can feel the vibes and actually hear the soprano singing during the second show.   I filled out the custom’s declaration before retiring.  Clocks back another hour.

Thursday, 21 April.

When dawn came, it was obvious we were in thick fog!  At seven o’clock I emerged and took the portside scenic lift to 11 Deck and settled in the Atlantic Room right under the Bridge where I could hear the foghorn every two minutes.  The deck is closed off for safety. I returned to deck 7 the same way and shared a nook table with Phyllis.  A piece of plastic flew down and shattered on the deck as we sat there!

The rest of the morning saw me in different venues reading or exploring the Connexions area and the photo gallery.  I managed to get my pink booking slip back as well as a cabin assignment for the 2006 South American Odyssey.  About an hour before noon I talked with Zelma’s friend from New Zealand.  Backing up a bit, I did my “Lorelei” rehearsal with the accompanist.

Noon Report:  N41˚29′ x W065˚ 28′  Course:  250˚  Speed: 26 knots, average 23.8 knot.  Temp: 41˚ F.   Seas: moderate and swell moderate.

I was seated in the farthest aft corner of the Britannia restaurant for lunch with an English and a Scottish couple plus an American couple.  I followed that with a nap in my cabin till three o’clock when I headed to Todd English for one last tea for us World Cruise members.  Doris, Erma and Lori sat with me in the elegant surroundings of red plush and superb service.  I hastened to the Queen’s Room for the talent show and did my “Lorelei” ditty and heard several pretty good singers.

Pretty soon after that, being dressed for the occasion, I simply shifted forward a little for dinner with my mates.

I just had a lovely reunion with Jeff Canono on Five Deck, C stairway.  He is a former steward on the QE2, and we would sing to each other whenever we would meet.  We did a bit of this again as we reminisced about past years.  I then continued aft on Boat Deck to climb the stairs to 12 Deck.  At Ten Deck, the exclusive deck for Queens Grill passengers, I took some great dusk shots sweeping forward to pink afterglow.  It was plenty cold up there but the wind wasn’t all that strong.  At A stairway, I took the scenic lift to Deck 7 and headed back to the cabin to finish packing and put out my bags.  I saw the movie, “Ray” in Illuminations and was in bed by ten thirty.  Clocks back the last hour.

Friday, 22 April – New York City.

I was awake before four o’clock so decided to get up.  Distant lights showed on the television screen and the chart channel showed we were approaching the channel from Ambrose Light.  When I saw the Verrazano lights I went to Boat Deck and up the elevator to Atlantic Observation deck where I remained through the whole process, bridge, statue and so on.  At five thirty I went through the Immigration process in Illuminations and the customs officer waved my duty!  As we were pulling into the berth, I went to Twelve Deck and walked aft on top.  A Corgi dog was enjoying the air at the Kennel and I patted him.  I walked down to Boat Deck and watched baggage off-loading (by cage and fork lift), and sat in a deck chair a while.  Friends came by for greeting and final farewells.  Myron, Phyllis, Valerie N. etc.  I eventually found Jefferson Canono and we photographed each other.  Goodbye to Jenny at C Stairway.

At eight o’clock I joined hundreds of others in the Royal Court Theatre to await our disembarkation call (Red 3 for me).  I found my brown bag at the QE2 group, then the other two in Red 3 category.  We had been routed through and around 3 Deck Lobby and out by the Champagne Bar.  David and Elaine were on my bus to Newark.  This is where I had a horrendous time going from the wrong division on the monorail to the right terminal.  Fortunately, a safety guard took pity on me and aided in boarding the train.

Anyway, thus endeth a wonderful 107 day World Cruise.   New York Harbor: N40˚45′


QE2 2005 WC – Dubai-Southampton, Part 5

QE2 2005 World Cruise Part 5

Saturday, 26 March – Dubai – for real!

We were able to enter the narrow harbor channel with jetties on both sides, turn 180˚ and settle by the “ship-shaped” Passenger Terminal.

Gisèle and I took the shuttle bus to the Burjuman shopping mall, where we simply admired the mall itself and the high scale shops – Pot Pouri, we then returned in time for me to write two post cards, mail them and head out for my tour at one o’clock.  I saw the new and future features of Dubai, culminating in Tea at the Burj Al Arab hotel.  WOW!  (see my notes and photos).  We were the last bus to return to the ship, but we didn’t leave till about seven thirty because the last provisions had to be loaded and the Pilot was late!  We were pulled away from the dock and turned and pulled into position for heading out the channel between the jetties.  The lighthouse at the end blinks two times and holds one.  Captain Bates is now Master.

Palm Islands – Jumeirah, Jebel Ali. Boat ride in new harbor, new developments – Dubai Marina, Tea – Burj al Arab.

Note:   July 2007 – Cunard has announced that as of November 2008, Queen Elizabeth 2 will be sold and taken to Dubai to be a dockside hotel and museum at the Jumeirah Palm Island!

Sunday, 27 March – Muscat, Oman – N 23˚ 37.7′ x E 028˚ 34.1′ – Easter

We had to circle at least twice as we waited for the Pilot to arrive.  This made us late into Muscat (Qaboos) Harbor.  The tugs helped push us 90˚ to starboard as we docked on Port looking away from the city.  When we went ashore from five Deck, Stairway C, we were given plastic landing cards with clips.  My tour itinerary included the Grand Mosque, Bait Al Falaj Fort, old Muscat city, Al Alam Palace, the official residence of the Sultan, the old harbor and two fortresses – also the Muttrah Souq, which was all torn up for refurbishing.

We had to duck low to re-enter the ship on Five Deck as we had to in Dubai as well.  We were given two dyed eggs and six chocolate eggs and a chocolate Easter bunny.

I napped till nearly six o’clock.   I have two new tablemates, Elaine and Helen from Sydney and a city north of that.  We talked about the train trip across Australia.  I excused myself early to watch us leave port, but found I was ahead of time.  We did leave at eight o’clock.  Two tugs pulled us away from the dock and carefully back to pivot on the stern.  We left room between us and the large moored dhow in the harbor.  The large tug accompanied us nearly to the Gulf – then waved goodbye and blew its whistle and QE2 responded with its three blasts.

I tried to see the movie at 8:30 but the timing was late so I went to the Lido for a cheese and cracker snack, which I ate with Mike Campbell.  We discussed hymnody, RSCM etc.  John Henry Newton, JRR Tolkein and he knows Harry Bramma, Director of the Royal School of Church Music.  Chock up a few names dropped!  I also chatted with the Lees in the Queens Room then took my leave for the cabin.

Monday, 28 March – Arabian Sea

It is hot and humid on deck.  I had breakfast with Vernon and a new couple from Melbourne, Margaret and ?.  We had lively conversation on Australia.  I then found Elaine  McKay on Five Deck in the Shell doors area where the posters are being made for the Fayre different categories.  We decided to try the auction route for the dolls, so I delivered them to her office.  Done!

I had a nice chat with Lori who is a portrait artist and has sold stuff for people and the Fayre.  Lenny came along and showed us his lovely Burj al Arab pendant in gold and diamonds.  Wow!  For a retired postal worker, he hasn’t done too badly!  However, I think he knows this is his one big fling in life and wants to make the best of it.  His sir name is Bagarozzo.  He also told us we will be given a meal together at Todd English on QM2.  Thanks Ensemble.

I spent the rest of the morning on deck in the forward breeze on shady starboard side reading, until the noon whistle and navigation report:  N19˚39′ x E 058˚42′  Course:  215˚ true, Calm seas and low swell.

I had lunch with Doug Jackson, because Rosemary is indisposed.  I then had more deck time till three o’clock when I joined the clothes committee in sorting the items.  Tea with Lillian, Margaret, Maria, Bernice and Evelyn, then on the way back down, I found Phyllis Reynolds who boarded in Dubai.  She looks very well!  She is in cabin 1001, as far forward as One Deck has accommodation, and she will be eating in the Caronia Restaurant.  She is sharing with Randy.

I ate only the little shrimp cocktail and soup plus ice cream with my two tablemates, and then headed for the Grand Lounge.  While waiting in our seats, Fran and Lillian entertained us with tales of craft materials rescue and Frank’s efforts to hide them from Harry.  We all had lots of laughs!  Renato Pagliari, a loud showman tenor, belted it out for 45 minutes.  Koo came over to give me 2 photos of my talent show performance, and then I walked on Boat Deck to my cabin.

Tuesday, 29 March – Salalah, Oman.

This is a very simple and early developing harbor and it is about four kilometers from the town, the second largest city in Oman.  I had breakfast with Phyllis and cabin mate Randy, and then I went to my tour assembly point in the Theatre.  Karen Scott was our host and we saw decorated roundabouts, Paqah Castle, Mirbat Castle and fishing harbor with Dhows and Mohammed Bin Alis tomb.  We drove along shore; desert and palm groves back to the ship by one o’clock.  Lunch was with Rod, then a short chat with Sheila (Aus.) and her friend Lana, before attending the movie “Lemon Snickety: – weird!

QE2 departed as I was having dinner; whistles tooting as we started forward after the usual back and fill exercise!  The Crew Show tonight had variable talent of singing and dancing.  The best was the juggling cocktail steward.

Wednesday, 30 March – Gulf of Aden.

Vernon and I ate alone.  Angela got me three jars of raspberry jam!  I spent the rest of the morning under the starboard double-hulled boat, reading and enjoying the sights- dolphins, three small outboard fishing boats and a freighter. 

At the Lido I ate with the Lees then moved over to chat with Doug and Rosemary.  When I spotted Sheila and Lorna, I stopped there till the ship slowed a bit, vibrating as though in reverse, so I hastened outside to ascertain what was up.  ? ?

Noon Report:  N13˚32′ x E 048˚09′  Course: 250˚  Speed: 25.4 knots  Temp: 85˚   Low seas and low swell.   We are now in the Gulf of Aden and will be able to see lights as we enter the Red Sea around midnight.  Bab el Mandeo is the water we would call Strait, and this leads to the Red Sea.

I helped again with the clothes sorting, and then attended Elaine’s session on fair activities and committees.  I will help with booth decoration and be a “floater.” to relieve the regulars.  Phyllis and I went to tea in the Lido and we talked a blue streak till I accompanied her to 1001 for my tour!  They will let me use their tub soon!

I went to the six fifteen movie “Shall We Dance.”  During that time QE2 stopped and sent a boat with officers and the medical staff to a container ship that had a badly injured crewman.  He was dead apparently, when our people arrived.  However, Captain Bates expressed a gratitude and pride that his crew was able to respond in the tradition of mariners helping each other in distress.

I ate alone in the Lido then attended the acrobat show, followed by my usual deck time.  This time I went up top and had a nice visit with my German friend and her “friends.”  We ascertained that at ten o’clock the ship is still heading west prior to passing northward into the Red Sea.  Captain Bates had told us we would do that by 12:30.  Midnight fix: N12˚25.5′ x E043˚ 55′  Course: 281˚   later 331˚

Thursday, 31 March, – Red Sea.

All morning I sat under boat ten reading in the warm and humid air.  The wind is following at nearly 20 knots so we have little wind on deck.  Noon Report:  N16˚08′ x # 041˚ 11.6′  Speed: 21.9 knots.  Course:  330˚  Temp: 88˚F  Low seas and low swell.

I had lunch in my section and gave tips to all three waiters.  Sheshank made me a nice entrée salad.  Irma and friend Doris Lorz joined me eventually and we talked about QM2 and the Warwicks.  They are chummy with them.  Doris may be interested in sharing a cabin for the Cape Horn QM2 voyage so we exchanged names and addresses.

At 2:30 the clothing committee finished up sorting and pricing, followed by tea together.  I dressed formally for dinner with Elaine and Helen.  Since the Lees are due for the Ward Room, party, I headed to the cabin and called it a night.  QE2 sails on northward in the Red Sea, almost motionlessly.

Friday, 1 April – Red Sea – April Fool’s Day.

Jenny and I shared a happy breakfast time by the window then we parted for our own pursuits.  I spent time on deck reading till ten when I prepared to decorate the Grand Lounge with lots of others till lunch when Jenny again joined me.  I returned to the Grand Lounge for the afternoon serving during the whole Country Fayre – a busy and crowded time.  During de-dec, I left to attend the Ensemble party in the Yacht Club.  We will have dinner in Todd English Restaurant on QM2 during the Crossing.  Neat!  No extra tariff for us!  Noon Report:  N 24˚ 46′ x E 036˚ 14′   Speed: 29 knots.  Temp: 79˚ F  Following wind at 25 knots.

Right after dinner we drew close to Shem al Sheik, Egypt to transfer another patient to land.  We had a clear view of the city and coastline as the pilot boat came alongside.  A large private boat came up to us tooting its whistle in threes endlessly.  After the show I checked the deck view and found we were still passing by Shem al Sheik.  Clocks back one hour.

Saturday, 2 April – Aqaba, Jordan

We were docked by seven o’clock.  The temperature was 68˚ early and I was a bit chilly on the port, shady side, where I read facing the Israeli side of the Sinai Peninsula.

While the majority of the passengers were heading for Wadi Rum and Petra, Barbara Buchner and I took the shuttle bus into town and wandered all over.  We were cordially greeted by young men and from several sides we heard the words “Welcome to Jordan,” I spoke to one or two of them about my admiration for Queen Noor, and the fact that she had gone to the same school I attended, when she was Lisa Alibi.  One older man showed us his photos of Omar Shariff, taken during the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia.” The reason he showed them to us was because he had some part in the film, since he looks a bit like the hero!  I bought a nice cloth, which will serve as a very attractive card table cover, and parted from Barbara, because I wanted to return to the ship for lunch.  I had to search for the shuttle bus a while, but managed to find it after asking another bus driver along the way. 

After lunch at the Lido on my own, I spent the afternoon in my cabin napping and watching “Citizen Kane.”  Elaine and I were the only ones at our table for dinner, but just before I watched from Boat Deck, the hundreds of tour people snaking to board as the buses emptied out en masse.  The sun shone brightly on the mountain range and the bright, clean buildings of the city.  The huge Jordanian flag flapped nearly out straight in the brisk westerly wind.

We were a little late pulling away from the dock because of the wind, but we were able to use only the two tugs ordered.  We pivoted away on stern 45˚ then QE2 used her thrusters and forward motion to complete the turn.  Meanwhile, I sat facing aft with Holly and Hollis, enjoying the receding scene of Elat and Aqaba.  There being no movie at 8:30, in deference to a piano recital later, I headed for the cabin instead.

Sunday, 3 April – Gulf of Aqaba and Red Sea.

When I awoke during the night (around four o’clock) I saw the moon rise (on channel 3).  I checked further and found we are headed 146˚ – right back down the Red Sea.  This is how we used the extra time between very close ports.  At six o’clock we were still headed Southeast.  And in fact we stayed on this course till noon when they turned 90˚ to the West, which caused us to experience the full brunt of the stiff wind, which caused lots of white caps and moderate seas and moderate swells.

I sat all morning reading under boat ten.  Then joined Helen for lunch, by which time we had turned back to northwest toward our port for tomorrow.  I happily spent the afternoon in my cabin, puttering mostly.

Dinner with my mates and then the usual banter in our seats with the Lees, Lillian, Fran and others till the comedian Marty Brill performed.  It was still windy and chilly on deck as I returned on my usual route forward on Boat Deck for A stairway.   Clocks back an hour.

Monday, 4 April – Sokhna, Egypt.

This is a sit-in port day while the tours to Cairo etc. take place, and the port is quite small with one channel leading directly to one u-shaped dock.  QE2 came in and did a tight 180˚ across the expanse and tied up away from the stacked containers, next to a large shed.  We can see lots of new apartment buildings in the distance and not much more.  I sat on deck all morning in shade with cool 60˚ temperatures.  Lido lunch with Gisèle who had been on shore where below I could see vendors selling carpets and other trinkets, and crew guys were playing cricket (!) and playing with their little remote-controlled cars.  More time on deck till two thirty when I got an ice cream and headed for cabin time.

At six I watched a drum and bugle corps playing on the dock as the Cairo buses drew up, then dinner with Elaine.  Again I went on deck, and a woman told me about the empty resort buildings we could see north of us.  There were fireworks as we left port at eight.  Movie “Being Julia.”  At ten we anchored just south of Port Suez.

Tuesday, 5 April – Suez Canal.  For details see WC 2001 Suez Canal Transit.

I landed on Boat Deck as the anchor was raised by six thirty and we were on our way.  I stayed under boat ten literally all day, [11 hours] as all the landmarks glided by.  Details are in my notebook.    I ate lunch of sandwiches from the Board Room.  The sun caught up with my single spot, but the temperature being cool, I was happy to let it warm me as I read my book till around five o’clock when I went down.  Elaine and I again ate dinner together then I saw the last half of “Calendar Girls.”  Being exhausted from my “vigorous” watching of Suez scenes! I headed for bed early.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Thursday, 7 April – The Med.- Ionian Sea.

After breakfast with the Sopers and Vernon, I tried the deck, but found it a bit too cold and windy, so I headed to Queen’s Room where I enjoyed watching the belly dance class!  Lucy did very well.  Around eleven I tried the deck again and managed to read in sunshine till the noon report.  Ionian Sea; N36˚44′ x E020˚ 6′  Course: 290˚ – directly heading for the Straits of Messina at 24.8 knots.

Jenny Christodoulou joined me just as I was finishing up my lunch of special Sheshank salad and “love sundae” so I stayed and eventually Koo and Pat joined us as well.

The charity auction was very interesting with Lord Jeffrey Archer doing the auctioneering.  My dolls sold for $130 making the total of my contributions $385. Not bad.  The 1969-2004 ship’s wheel and auto pilot mounting went for $16,000.  Wow!  Original menu and wine list covers and commemorative first day covers went for a lot too, as did Peter Russell’s white Captain’s uniform!

After dinner I joined the Lees and Fran (briefly) for Duggie Brown’s comic routine!  I feel he is a friend since we shared a little alleyway a few years back and had fun joking times.  About ten thirty I bundled up and headed to the bow to watch our long approach to the Straits of Messina.  I was there about an hour searching for channel markers of which I only sighted a shore side red blinker and a distant green one.  The Pilot eventually boarded at the last minute, and we proceeded slowly to starboard, straightened out and after a longer time than I anticipated, we zagged to port, at which time we had passed the tall tower on the Sicily side.  It was quiet and majestic as we silently passed through, and I remembered the myth about Scylla and Charybdis.  We were done by eleven thirty.  Clocks back one hour.  Anne and Chloe stayed up to see Stromboli, which gave a flare!  I had gone below by that time.

Friday, 8 April – Bay of Naples. My day was spent visiting Capri and sharing the day with Anne from Phoenix.  She is Chloe’s sister.  We saw Marina Grande harbor, Marina Pocola, Caesar Augustus Harbor and Faraglione Rocks and funicular.  Then the bus took us to Ana Capri for lunch overlooking gardens and cliffs and a walk to Anacapri town square where I went to see the Villa San Michele (owned by Dr. Axel Munthe who restored it) and back to Naples by hydrofoil.

We left Napoli by seven o’clock with two groups of whistles and a boop.  The Captain chose to take us past Capri on the way out!  I was so tired I headed to the cabin with prospects of a rough night in a storm.  (Pope’s funeral.)  The ship’s motion was hardly noticeable all night!

Saturday, 9 April – Tyrrhenian Sea.

Charles and Camilla wedding day.  We saw it on the BBC.

The strong headwind continued through the night and all day, so most people stayed inside.  I tried the deck occasionally; first when we were sailing between Sardinia and Corsica, when I simply stepped out each A stairway door to see the islands, then retreated to comfort!  Second; when I braved the wind, deep swells and wind sweeping up foam, to listen to the noonday report from the Captain.  N41˚ 120′ x E 008˚ 20′  Course: 270˚ – due west to Barcelona and Speed; 17.6 knots.  The screen on my GPS was literally crowded with city way-marks on Africa and Europe, even up to Zurich!

The whistle was blasted fully for a long time, then at intervals I heard the other smaller ones.  The wind over the decks was 50 knots and supposed to diminish; two to three meter swells and 55˚ F temperature.

Jenny and I had lunch together by the window in Mauretania Restaurant and Sheshank again made me a super Niçoise salad with tuna and chicken plus a lovely peach crisp!  We parted then as I located Rosemary B. who had my Gore-Tex jacket to return to me.

I went to read my book by a window in the Grand Lounge, where I could watch the rough water with deep swells slapping the ship and themselves.  While there, Lord Jeffrey Archer had a question and answer session, which I enjoyed very much.  At this time the royal wedding was in progress.

Around four thirty I again braved the Boat Deck, this time bundled up while I trekked against the fifty or more knot wind forward from G stairway to A stairway.  I met only one hearty man and really had to balance and stomp firmly with short steps.  It was really work!  As I passed by the Queen’s Grill Lounge, a lady was looking out, and when I passed by very deliberately placing my feet on the deck, she expressed great surprise and disbelief!  QE2 is pitching nobly with slight rolls, obviously controlled by the stabilizers.  Spray is pouring over the bow and the wave remnants are reaching the bridge windows.  Also I feel waves slap the bow sides, which jolt the hull.  Since we are heading due west, the afternoon sun is making things glisten as we head just slightly off its path!  I must admit I am surprised that the Mediterranean Sea has enough fetch to cause these wave disturbances, but given a strong enough wind, anything seems possible!

I watched a horrible movie in the Theatre, then had dinner with Ku and Pat in the very tossing Lido, followed by cabin retreat by nine o’clock, to stay as we pitch quite noticeably.  All during the night QE2 was buffeted and tossed fairly roughly.  I wasn’t exactly thrown out of bed, but I was awakened when the water tray moved and glasses klinked, so I had to put all that stuff on the deck sole.  Gee I love this!

Sunday, 10 April – Barcelona, Spain.  N41˚17′ x E 002˚ 12.’

It has been quite fresh and windy. We docked at eight o’clock bow to the new bascule bridge, and proceeded to mount our 2 Ensemble buses.  Landmarks visited:  Via Ramblas, Columbus Column, Roman Barcimo (old walls), Catalonia. Rablas (used to be a river, but it is now a wide avenue with a Bird Market and colorful flower market) ; Musica- Lyceo, Opera House rebuilt in 1994 after a fire; Gaudia Church of the Holy Family; Palau de Musica; and the venue for the Olympic Games, topped off with a Tapas lunch in a dark and very crowded restaurant (where our large group of two bus capacity squeezed in without benefit of the much needed “shoehorn.” The meal was tasty but very hot.  When we returned to the ship by three thirty, I did not feel well. 

I did manage to dress for the World Cruise dinner at the Palau Nacional, and enjoyed the fabulous high- domed structure with a huge pipe organ.  We had dancers and a guest soloist plus a choir.  Three of us left at 9:45, just prior to the end of the festivities, but I was feeling awful.  Terry Waite walked me to the bus, which I thought was very kind of him.

Monday, 11 April – Barcelona.

I slept most of the day so missed any further exploring of the fabulous Spanish city.  I don’t even know when we departed from the dock!  I felt lousy all day.

Tuesday, 12 April – at Sea.

After breakfast with Vernon and the Sopers plus Bill G., I headed to the deck for the rest of the cool morning.  For a while the distant Spanish shore was visible as were occasional fishing boats.  Every three months the ship’s steering gear has to be tested, and today is the day.  I didn’t notice any aberrant movements, however, when the noon navigation information was given; N37˚ 52′ x E 000˚ 04′ Course: 210˚; Speed 12 knots.  Whistle testing took three complete blows.

I had lunch by the window with Helen, then returned to my cabin the rest of the day.  Finally I made myself go to the Harry Potter movie and dinner at the Lido.  I just missed the helicopters shoot and maneuvers.  All I saw was a very curvy wake.  This must have been the steering test.

I heard the last bit of Jacqui Scott’s show.  She too went to Cheetham School.  She is a well-known West End actress.  A nice World Cruise gift awaited me – a Bushnell binocular set.  Fixed field.

Wednesday, 13 April – Malaga, Spain.  N36˚ 42′ x W 004˚ 24.9′

Whereas I was not on deck for the docking, Ku told me a tug pulled QE2 by the stern into her berth, just like the last time when I observed it years ago.

Today I went to Granada and the Alhambra.  The tour was extensive and detailed.  Some features I list: a stand-up cemetery, Granada wall, Gypsy caves, Moorish architecture, harem house and courtyard, council chamber, mosque-cum chapel, plaster molded ceilings, wooden inlaid ceilings, balconies and so on (see notes).  We were the last bus to return so we left shortly after six o’clock, having tooted at and waited for another ship to precede us.

Again I made contact with the Lees during dinner and for a while in the Lounge.  We re-arranged the chairs to suit us!  I left before the show began.  Peter Garland’s wife passed on Monday back in England.  They had left together from Hong Kong, and none of us knew how immanent her demise was although we knew she didn’t feel well. 

My tablemates’ names are Fitzpatrick and Ellis.  Ku and Pat are still there too.

Between nine thirty and ten we will pass through the Straits of Gibraltar, but it will be too dark to see anything but lights – if that.

Thursday, 14 April – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean again.

Helen and I shared a table by the window at breakfast.  I had a blueberry pancake for a change.  Upon checking on the weather above, I quickly decided it was too cold for comfort, so I proceeded to do my errands:  1. I got a stopper from Elaine, 2. Errands, 3.  Get passport and later, deliver jam jars to Elaine.  In between I chatted briefly with Lillian and the Lees.  Margaret had her hair done.  Fran was also there one time I passed by and she still remembers she has my needles and will return them shortly.

I chatted with Sheila and also Elaine F. and at eleven I joined fellow solo travelers for our farewell party in the Yacht Club.  I chatted with Ann L. and Chloe and photographed other friends there.  Ann and Chloe were frequent companions as we mounted the stairs from Three Deck to the Upper Deck and the restaurant via A Stairway – huffing and puffing, but feeling virtuous in making the effort.  Often we would be ahead of people who summoned the lifts and had to wait or endure the deck stops on the way up.  We would greet them at each end of their ride!  More feelings of virtue and triumph!

Noon Report:  N39˚ 12′ x W009˚ 48′; Course: North; Speed: 23.5 knots.  Temp.: 59˚ F.  It dawned on me that even in the Mediterranean Sea we managed to cross the Prime Meridian without my noticing.  No one pointed it out at the time, and it took me two days to realize this.

At lunch in the Mauretania Restaurant, Peter and the Irish lady plus Helen joined me and we had happy conversations – dogs, our three countries and so on.  Doris Lorz and Erma Klindt came too and Doris is interested in the cabin share idea, so we will pursue it on the Queen Mary 2.  I spent the afternoon in my cabin, blowing and sneezing as I read “the Touch.”

I managed to emerge for dinner, which offered the Baked Alaska parade.  I then attended the Captain’s final World Cruise party.  He greeted me heartily as I came in past Elaine McKay, who was at her usual post introducing those who need it.  I found Jenny to one side and Gisèle joined us.  The gala food displays were spectacular including vegetable sculptures and sculpted World Cruise 2006 cake. 

I found a chair in the balcony for the super electric string quartet “String Fever.”  Ku volunteered to hold a violin during the Bolero “extravaganza” piece, with all four guys playing the one ‘cello!  I talked with three of the guys afterward – all of their instruments have five or more strings like viols.  They admitted that was indeed the fact, but they don’t make an issue of it.

After two Horlicks in the Lido, watching the catering crew decorate for the gala buffet at midnight, I managed to tear myself away to watch the Royal Ascot Ball which was taking  place in the Queens Room – complete with fancy hat competition and a “horse race.”

Friday, 15 April – Bay of Biscay!!

The night was a bit lumpy but not as bad as pre Barcelona.  It continues rough and nicely sunny.  I said farewell to Vernon and Bill, who will fly home.  The Sopers we’ll see after we change to the QM2 at Southampton.

When Margaret and Eric arrived at their accustomed Queens Room spot, Phyllis Reynolds came to that and wow, does she chat!  It is all interesting though!  We then all parted, and I tried the deck for twenty minutes.  I found the winds very brisk, but waited for the noon whistle all bundled up and braced for the wind and cold forward motion, analyzing the waves and swells, both of which are above moderate in my estimation.  Noon Report:  N47˚27′ x W 006˚  Course: 27˚   Speed: 23.7 knots.  Temp. 50˚F

I have chosen not to participate in the talent show, so with that out of the way I shared lunch again by the window with Helen Ellis. from Newcastle and Australia.  We watched the wild grey seas with whitecaps galore.  QE2 rose and pitched effortlessly on the on-coming waves.

I did attend the talent show, however, and the usual participants, plus Line Dancers participated, as did the belly dancer, Patricia.  This was also the time when the Cruise staff did their amusing ditty in a progressively growing line of antics starting with Warren Smith in his Grenadier guard uniform and subsequent wacky staff-members joining him at each new verse.  It always gets a good laugh.  Of course, I filmed it in a successive manner!

Afterward Chloe, Anne and Sheila shared their amusement over the performance, and I headed on deck to enjoy the abating seas and sunshine,  I watched the One Deck Lido being power washed, and noted how all the decks are spic and span.  Helen Jones told me some crew guys went on a destructive spree last night and vandalized the beautiful triple-tapestry. During the pre-show time Margaret Lee filled in further details about the vandals.  At least two guys on the crew damaged and stashed the QE2 launch tapestry in a lifeboat, and are being held under guard on Five Deck.  A hearing took place tonight at six o’clock.  Also the grand lounge carpet needed cleaning, because they spattered paint deliberately on walls and carpet.

Jacqui Scott and Alan Stewart shared the entertainment stage.  I hugged both Eric and Margaret goodbye as we all sang “Hail Britannia” by Arne.  I had to pack and put my bags out for transfer to the Queen Mary 2 tomorrow.  Although having to say goodbye to my best friends, I am so glad the Crossing still remains.   Clocks back an hour.

Saturday, 16 April – Southampton, England and shift to Queen Mary 2

I awoke after five o’clock and noticed we were already going up the Solent, a tug lighting the way!  After we were moored all turned around, I went to Boat Deck (took the lift for practically the first time in these three months). I always have avoided the easy way up and down in favor of the exercise and the ability to greet people along the way, and especially to admire that marvelous “smuggler” oil painting at the top of B stairway on 2 Deck.  Each time I look at it, I see some detail un-noticed before.

At six or so, I saw a dark spot down river, which loomed into the shape of Queen Mary 2.  As the sun rose, it lit up the ship and I took many successful photos as she passed way up to the Mayflower Terminal. 

I had breakfast at seven o’clock, said my goodbyes to Helen and the Lees, hugged Omar and Sheshank plus posed with them, then I headed for Queen’s Room where Harry, Fran Caldwell and friends waited till our buses were called.  I went to the QM2 terminal then took a taxi to town where I had fun shopping on the High Street.  I got my Natwest money and returned to QM2 by two o’clock.  I boarded immediately through the Platinum line, and puttered in 4046.  I met my stewardess, Nina from Sweden.  My luggage made it in good order.


QE2 WC 2005 – Hong Kong-Dubai, Part 4

Queen Elizabeth 2 World Cruise 2005

Hong Kong to Dubai

Monday, 7 March – Hong Kong

With the whole day in port, I ventured away twice, walking along Salisbury and Nathan Roads doing my errands.  I called Wendy, Geoff and Stephen, and then bought camera stuff, Chinese brocades and post cards, avoiding the insistent tailor promoters.  The weather has been great!  About 700 people left and an equal number have embarked. 

I am always drawn to the harbor and the myriad boats, ships and barges, so after dinner I watched a tug trying to maneuver an oil barge to QE2’s side, and watched the 8 o’clock laser show.  Various buildings host spotlights, lasers and neon lights, which blink alternate colors, bounce beams and so on for 15 minutes.  It is spellbinding!  Eventually I had to join the Lees as we awaited the nine forty-five Showtime.  The Chinese players consisted of a piano and Chinese fiddle duo, 8 drummers, a fantastic dragon and beautiful dancers.  I returned to the magic city views till nearly eleven.  Lenny and I chatted briefly about the emotional experience of Hong Kong!

Tuesday, 8 March – Hong Kong

I skipped breakfast in favor of some early deck time till time to go on the Hong Kong Orientation tour at 8:45.  We went through the tunnel to Hong Kong Island and went in the funicular up the mountain to Victoria Peak.  Rod and I took photos for each other.  Next was the ride down the curvy road through residential areas to Repulse Bay and Stanley market, where I found a better sixteen inch fan and enjoyed strolling through the clothing stalls including cashmere sweaters and shawls!  Last featured was a sampan ride through Aberdeen Harbor and back to the ship by one o’clock and lunch.  I then spent a couple of hours on deck with my favorite harbor scene.  Most of Starboard Boat Deck was roped off presumably for bunkering.  I dozed in the sun and read my book.

After a nap back in the cabin, I emerged on deck to see us depart at six o’clock.  However, we didn’t cast off till 6:35 when she tooted three glorious times and the fore and aft tethered tugs started pulling.  When part way out from the pier, she tooted again and the middle tug carefully moved in by A doorway to join “Sha Chou” with slackened cable and actually bumped the bow area so we could feel the jolt.  These two pushed while the aft tug continued to pull till we completed the 180˚ turn.

Now it is farewell to Hong Kong after three glorious nights and days – more than making up for ports skipped.  Captain McNaught is still with us till Singapore.

Before dinner in the Lido I went aft to watch the city recede and had a chat with Lenny and a friend Lenny had just swam and jacuzzied with!  I also chatted with Eric about the bump, and he said it has to be reported and inspected.  Peter Russell is the new Staff Captain.  He is Marilyn’s husband.  Simon Wood from Yorkshire, played flutes at the show.  I returned to my cabin via wonderful Boat Deck.

Wednesday, 9 March – South China Sea.

This was a lost day for me, since I am in quarantine!  Nuff said.

Thursday, 10 March – same

Same as yesterday.  I got a lot of knitting done and had Room Service.  They sanitized the cabin.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 11 March – Leam Chebang, Thailand.  N13˚ 4.2’x E 100˚ 53.7′

I was released at eleven o’clock, so I headed to very hot and humid Boat Deck.  The Lees were on Port side facing the new very Thai-roofed Terminal, so I checked in with them.  I had lunch with them, and then went ashore to see the shops in the Terminal.  Beautiful silks, fans, scarves, handbags, all very tempting.  I read “The QE2 is Missing” on deck in the shade and breeze till 2:30 when I watched the movie “The Notebook:” very moving.  I wandered a bit more outside then had cabin time.  While at dinner, they fumigated my cabin! 

Since the show isn’t till 9″45 I spent some time in Queens Room with the Lees then went on deck to watch the unloading process across the way.  Huge electromagnets pick containers from the ship and place them on a steady stream of trucks.  The evening was very pleasant for the hour or so I watched.

Saturday, 12 March – Leam Chebang, Thailand.

My first activity was breakfast with the Sopers, then a brief look over the things for sale at the terminal.  I then rode the shuttle bus for two trips to Pattaya, hunting for distinctive shrines or “Bats” to photograph.  Back to the ship after one o’clock, where I had lunch on my own in the Lido. 

I had some deck time and cabin time, then I dressed for dinner and watched two tugs pull us away from the dock and QE2 backing all the way out of the docking bay past half a dozen ships being unloaded on the opposite side of the D. Bay. When backed sufficiently she turned on stern pivot 90˚ and headed out the channel.  By this time I was well into my dinner with one new tablemate,  Marjorie from LA.  I walked again on deck then endured a tiresome comedian show.  Mercifully it ended close to an hour, and I headed homeward via Boat Deck.  Several ships to starboard appear anchored in the distance, and we had sped up enough to have a fairly strong wind from forward.  Clocks ahead one hour!

I forgot to mention the numerous children from the orphanage who came aboard to perform and share a tea party in the Yacht Club and the deck aft.

Sunday, 13 March – Gulf of Thailand

This has been a superb and sunny warm day.  It started with breakfast with Vernon, followed by the rest of the morning under boat eleven reading and soaking in the beautiful gulf water scenes, watching the occasional little fishing boats.  At noon Captain McNaught addressed us for his last time since he will leave us tomorrow, and Captain Peter Russell will take over.  I had tried to get my own fix on the GPS but couldn’t get more than one satellite.  N 70˚ 24.5′ x E 103˚10.2′  Course: 256˚  Rhumb line.  Speed 24 knots.  Wind: SE 6 knots – 30 knots over the decks.  84˚ F.  Slight seas and low swell.

When I ate lunch in the Lido I sat with an Aussie who spoke liberally about his abject early life, war deprivations, prejudices and ironically, his gratitude and marvels at being able to go on QE2.  For dessert, I switched to another table to chat with Doug and Rosemary Jackson and friend Joan Martha, another enthusiastic cruiser.  We renewed memories of the tandem crossing when we were at the same table in the Mauretania restaurant on port side by the aft window – in 2004 and other experiences since.

I talked briefly with the Lees and Marilyn (the officer’s wife).  Marilyn remembered the name of the Cunard headquarters, “Southampton House.” The rest of the afternoon saw me back on deck under boat 12 reading till four thirty when I strolled with Myron to B stairway entrance to collect my Passport on 2 Deck for Singapore. 

One fishing boat we passed was rather large with a rounded high red “poop” and blue roof with green bow.  Colorful!  I had to fill out a detailed medical questionnaire for authorities in the States.  Movie:  “Bourne Supremacy” Lido dinner.  Evening deck time.

World Cruise March gift was awaiting me; it is an intricate calendar, clock and calculator with “Queen Elizabeth 2” and “2005 World Cruise.”

Monday, 14 March – Singapore – N 01˚ 16.5′  x # 103˚ 46.5′

I skipped breakfast and am glad I did because this day’s tour of Singapore hosted by Ensemble World Explorers included a ten to twelve course Chinese lunch at a posh restaurant, Lei Gardens at a converted former convent now named Chimes.   Before all this our tour took us up to the Botanical Gardens special orchid section.  Next was a visit to a Chinese Heritage museum housed in three authentic Chinese shop houses, followed by shopping on the shop house alleys, near a Hindu Temple.

After lunch we walked to Raffles Hotel for shopping and Singapore slings at the Long Bar. We were back at the ship by four thirty.  At this port we had to show our passports going and returning.

Since it was so hot and humid, I stayed in my cabin till six fifteen dinner with Marjorie.  I ate rather hastily to hunt down Lenny with his stuff he had left on our coach.   I never found him all evening.  Anyway I did watch the show with Gisèle and the Lees.  Saw Lillian’s pictures, which included one with Muredach Timlin.  He was on the ship till LA but I never saw him.  They said he still isn’t well from a bad beating he had in Ealing.  Seems I heard about this a few years ago!? 

As I write this at 2300 we still haven’t left the Dock due to an electrical hitch of some sort.  The new Captain is Peter Russell, Marilyn’s husband and good friends of the Lees.  I’ll have an inside scoop now!

Tuesday, 15 March – Singapore again!

I awoke after six o’clock to see the same bow picture on channel 3.  We never did leave Singapore!  The announcement came at eight o’clock from Captain Russell with apologies and simple explanation that the technical problems have not been solved.  Singapore immigration people will reprocess all the passports so we can go ashore in the afternoon by Shuttle or additional tours.

I returned Lenny’s stuff to him.  Breakfast with Jenny, who was the one able to go to the orphanage in my place.  I saw the matinee movie at ten o’clock, “Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason,” with Renée Zellwager, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. – Not bad!

I had lunch in the Lido with Nellie then took the shuttle bus to town.  When I used my charge card at Tang’s (the pagoda tiered roof of green building) for Sheseido stuff, the card was refused again.  The clerk was very helpful and patient as she waited on the phone.  About ten to fifteen minutes later the okay came in the form of a pre-punch number.  I then enjoyed further looking at the handbag department, which was huge!  I returned to the ship by three thirty, then learned how to use the new calculator.   The starboard propulsion system was the affected mechanism failure.

I went to dinner before we left the dock, and met my two new tablemates, Patricia and Ku.  They have lived in the D.C. area, for over 30 years, in the gasoline station business. 

When we did leave Singapore, the fore and aft tugs pulled us away and eventually did a stern pivot to Starboard and we were on our way up the Strait of Malacca.  The entertainer was a Welsh singer/pianist.  When I returned forward on deck we were going right into the wind with the smoke pouring out the funnel.  Shower and bed after ten.

Wednesday, 16 March, Port Kelang – N02˚ 59.2′ x E 101˚ 19.9′ – Kuala Lumpur.

I reported for my tour in the Theatre then we headed out 2 Deck Lobby D stairway to ramps up to a very long cement balcony walkway at the Star Cruise Terminal – down two sets of Escalators to the buses.  The ride to Kelang was bumpy at first as we crossed the swamp to Port Kelang and on in to the city – one hour and fifteen minutes later.

We saw the Sultan’s Palace – Heritage Museum House, twin towers in Kuala Lumpur.  We had lunch in a Temp’s restaurant in a posh hotel, and then toured a pewter factory.  We were back at the ship by four o’clock.  A Star Cruises ship, “Gemini” is opposite our location on a lower level.  It seems half our size.

During dinner with Pat and Ku we pulled away from the exposed pier and headed forward past the Port Klang cargo ships and on northward into the Straits of Malacca.  The Beetles Mania show was loud and far from authentic, so many of us “friends” left – even the Lees.  I retired early to the cabin, showered and went to bed after eleven.

Thursday, 17 March – St. Patrick’s day.

Last night a fairly bright moon path was visible just starboard of the bow.  When I felt us change course slightly to Starboard I could see a nearly setting moon and path moving to port.  We are now clear of the Straits and heading west in the Bay of Bengal.

At noon we were 35 nautical miles northeast of Banda Ache – north end of Sumatra.  This is where the Tsunami caused such disastrous damage to life and shoreline.  I had spent most of the morning on warm, humid Boat Deck reading the Arnott book, then delivered the dolls to the sales desk.

Noon Report:  N06˚ 9.2′ x E 095˚ 32.8′  Course: Rhumb line 288˚  Speed: 25 knots.  Wind: ENE Force 3 or 9 knots on deck.  Low seas, light swell.

I hear the Beatles concert was very well received and the audience was lively!  The solo party at noon in Yacht Club featured Irish green beer and individual women telling their Irish connections – Mary sang “Peggy O’Neil”!!  Oh no!  I went for lunch with the Lees in the Lido.  Since it is so hot and humid I spent the afternoon in my cabin consolidating my purchases and watching “Calendar Girls.”

I attended the Fair committee meeting in the Chart Room and signed up for decorating committee.  I learned that the Security corps on board consists of Gurkhas from Nepal!

Pat and Ku joined me for dinner as we continued to catch up with and overtake cargo ships.

The show was Diane Cousins from Wales.  Sat with Gisèle and the Lees as usual.  The first quarter moon was high above the ship darting in and out of the clouds.  After a brief check of the St. Patrick’s Day ball decorations I returned to the cabin.

Clocks back one hour.  Now we are exactly 12 hours ahead of Boston.  The Country Fayre is slated for April 1.  Friday in the Red Sea.

The Adaman Sea is located just as one emerges from the Malacca Strait to the West.  It blends with the Bay of Bengal after a series of islands called Adaman Islands.

Friday, 28 March – Bay of Bengal.

As usual, I headed toward Vernon’s table to dine with him and the Sopers.  Then deck time.  Actually I prefaced that with time with the Lees.  I tried to set her calendar time device, but after timing all the details the GMT time didn’t coincide with her home time, which is London and should be the same.  I gave up and then did the deck time under a starboard boat by D stairway.  The sun is mounting over our ship exactly stern to bow, since we are heading due west. 

At eleven thirty I took the dolls to the craft table and stuck around for the noon report and lunch of spaghetti.  N05˚47′ x E 085˚8′  Speed: 22.4 knots, average 25 knots.  Course: 267˚  Rhumb Line.  Temp: 88˚F.  Wind: NE 9 knot. 20 knots over the deck.  Slight seas and low swell.

I was lazy all afternoon, resting and watching television in the cabin.  I had dinner alone, and the Beatle Maniacs were active and fun.  The audience was on their feet, dancing, twisting and bouncing.  I gazed at the stars and moon a while lighting way off to starboard.  Clocks back an hour.

Saturday, 19 March – Colombo, Sri Lanka – N06˚57.2′ x E079˚ 51.2′

We are docked in a heavily cargo area with thickly stacked containers.  There are about a dozen little trinket stalls, and brown clad guards are hanging near the ship.  Areas of the ship’s hull are being hosed down and the white boot top or Plimsol line is being painted.  I strolled by the stalls and bought Ceylon tea and a cullotte- gimmick pair of trousers.

I spent a hot morning on the shady (port) side looking across the harbor entrance and lighthouses observing the city skyline over the harbor and reading my Arnott book.  When the sun caught up to my side I went in to lunch at the Caronia restaurant by the seaside windows.  Conversed with Joe and Lori Burke across tables.  I sat with the Lees briefly by the Lido discussing the mud-scow barges, the Gurkhas and pirates in the Straits of Malacca recently having taken hostages.

At teatime, I joined Doris M. and May for a cup of tea and sandwiches.  Campbell Simpson was playing the piano in the background.  I went to the six- fifteen movie and checked on the preparations for departure, but the Kandy tour hadn’t returned yet, so I ate alone at the Lido.  I returned to the Boat Deck and found status quo with two tugs waiting patiently un-tethered.  By 9:35 we were just preparing for the double tug pull out.  I had expected the ship to pull forward, but when I checked the bow, we were actually moving backwards with the tugs pulling us from the side at an aft angle.  We continued to be pulled toward the far side of the harbor till we could move forward and out between the large green flashing lighthouse and the starboard red blinking smaller lighthouse.  The big round building turned out to be not a lighthouse, but the harbor control “tower.”

Earlier I chatted with an Australian sea captain, and later, when the maneuver was complete, we both admitted we were faked out, because we both thought we would be departing forward out the other channel.  Actually, while waiting for all this, I watched a tug heading out to escort a large P&O Nedlloyd container ship come in and dock across the way.  The unloading process began almost immediately, and this whole thing fascinates me no end.  The Bell-shaped temple is called Sambodhi Chaitiya.

Sunday, 20 March – Arabian Sea – Palm Sunday

I awoke somewhat earlier than my usual, but got up anyway and used the time to read the Lesson and newspaper till seven thirty.  I joined Vernon and a couple for breakfast then headed directly to Port Boat Deck under boat 8 for the rest of the morning.  A rather large fishing boat headed our way on a crossing course, with very long booms protruding on either side.  Later a rather sleek cutter type Indian naval vessel passed us in the opposite direction to us.  The weather was a comfortable 81˚ or so and the forward motion wind was nearing 30 knots.  However, it didn’t seem that much.  Noon:  N10˚ x E10075˚31′.  Speed: 27 knots.  Course:  Rhumb Line 340˚.  Slight seas and low swell.  Oh yes, I napped a bit too!  Pat (Brit) and husband were nearby and we kidded about tailbone sitting in those deck chairs.  Ouch!

At the Lido I ate with the Lees and had a short chat with the Jacksons.  Doug said I should take a photo of my fudge cake with cream and say I was able to resist.  NOT!  Again I spent the afternoon in my cabin – avoided the charity tug of war on Funnel Deck.  I watched television “What a Girl Wants.”  Then started knitting a tea cozy.

I dressed formally and had dinner with Pat and Ku.  They invited me to do a taxi trip with them on Tuesday in Mumbai, which I accepted.  I returned topside and spent some delightful time under the quarter moon and soft breeze.  I then made a purchase at the half off sale – a yellow shirt.  Movie: “I Robot.”  Clocks back one half hour.

Monday, 21 March – Mumbai, India

When I finally emerged on deck after breakfast, the distant skyline of Mumbai was visible.  We were crawling at about 4.9 knots slowly passing the outer lighthouse, then a similar inner lighthouse.  I had eaten in the Lido with Barbara Buchner, whom I had met when she was sitting with Bill and Richard before Singapore.  Barb and I had a great time comparing notes on ships and various names such as Paton, who is Sam Cunard’s great grandson from Halifax and a Charles Langley, also a Cunard aficionado from Halifax, and my nautical friends.!

I spent the rest of the morning gazing toward the harbor with a Navy ship anchored! 57 and several cargo ships at anchor and in the distance “7 Seas Mariner.” at the dock.  We have to wait for her to leave before we can take over there.  I could see especially the Gateway to India and the “Taj” hotel, as well as the various surrounding islands.

The big ordeal of the day was the immigration process in Queens Room.  I went through with Valerie H. and we went to lunch at a table for two in Mauretania, where she told of her many visits to friends in Colombo.  I swear she has acquaintances in most of the ports.

To while away the afternoon at anchor I watched the 2:30 movie, “Welcome to Mooseport” then when I went on deck found the afternoon sun and air and wind most enjoyable, so I watched seven or eight small sailboats tacking in the vast harbor or Bay!

I was tempted to have tea, so I found a velvet chair just inside Queens Room and Sylvia came to join me for goodies and pleasant conversation.  She is spending $40,000 for a twin cabin and two portholes and reckons she will have spent $60,000 by the end of the cruise (Canadian).  That is quite a contrast to my $23,000!

During dinner the red sun set over the naval ship and later at dusk “Seven Seas Navigator” left the Ballard Dock and headed directly toward us till quite close, then turned parallel to us, blew its whistle three times and QE2 responded long and loud three times, each ending with the single boop.  After a while on deck again I went below around nine o’clock to change and realized the anchor was being raised, so I went back up to the bow observation and watched the thorough washing of the chain links and the mud accumulation on the deck.  Eventually four tugs arrived to nudge us 90˚ toward the dock to port.  I was again faked out from my speculations.  Showered and turned in by ten thirty.

Tuesday, 22 March – Mumbai – N18˚51.6′ x E072˚ 49.6′

From nine o’clock I was with Ku, Pat and Ma, in a taxi tour of Mumbai.  We saw Gateway to India (Bollywood was filming), the Taj Mahal Hotel, beach, the hanging gardens, Dobbi Ghat, Victorian Train station, Ghandi museum, shops and then lunch atop the Taj.  There were great views of poor streets, the tightly wedged buildings and squares,  the Gateway to India monument, the boats in the harbor and the distant outlying islands.    We were back at the ship just before three o’clock.

I stayed in my cabin napping and watching television till dinner time, and was on my own for shrimp cocktail, Mulligatawny soup and Chateaubriand plus rocky road ice cream.  For a while I walked on deck looking down to activities on the dock and sitting on the waterside with moonlight and boats at moorings. 

I watched “Jersey Girl” in the Theatre then again went on deck.  Talked with Pat S. while we all listened to a good Indian Band playing on the dock way below.  At a little past eleven the over-land travelers came home dragging their bags behind them.  Most of them stopped to dance or sway with the music, then by eleven thirty all were aboard and we prepared to leave.  Meanwhile I dashed to the Lido for a snack and ate with Lucy who had just returned from her India overland trip to Delhi, Agra etc.  I returned to the deck to watch the tugs pull us away and help with our gradual turn around to the channel.  Clocks back one half hour..

Wednesday, 23 March – Arabian Sea.

Breakfast again with Vernon, Sopers and a lady who went to the Taj Mahal.  She told of the whole trip, which was very interesting.  The rest of the morning I was on deck near Myron.  We conversed a while then he helped me locate further forward in the better shade of boat four.  The weather was very comfortable and bright while I read my book on Islam.

My lunchtime brought new friends to share with, Mike Campbell and his friend plus a very nice Brit.  Noon Report:  N20˚ 03.5′ x #068˚45.6′  Course:  298˚, Speed: 21.2 knots.  Temp: 78˚F Wind: NW Force 3 9 knots, 30 knots on the decks.  Slight seas and light swell.

Again I was late to pick up the dolls but I got there in time to relieve Maria and Frank of their extra burden.  I spent time in the cabin watching television, and then went to the Yacht Club for the sailors’ get-together.  A lovely couple from Clydebank, Elizabeth and Clive shared their cruise charter activities and Commodore Clive – the sailing classes at their Yacht Club.  Another man, Charles, told of his Chesapeake sailing – also submarine experiences. 

I spent more deck time in late sunshine before dressing for dinner at the last minute.  Much photo taking prior to the Baked Alaska parade!  Stuart Gillies from Scotland now Jersey, sang baritone songs.  I was back in the cabin before ten o’clock.  Beautiful moonlight night!

Thursday, 24 March – Arabian Sea crossing toward Straits of Hormuz.

The moon set ahead of us very early in the morning.  I spent most of the morning on deck portside in the usual super weather conditions.  At one point a helicopter came to and around us.  Later at lunch Captain Peter Russell leaned over Eric to tell him some naval ships greeted us and converged with QE2 greeting us.  He and Eric also traded yarns of towing experiences; Eric towed a full tanker from Suez to England!

At eleven I reported for the talent show registration, then had lunch with the Lees and Marilyn joined us – telling of her packing and moving to new quarters as they make way for the “real” Captain Bates and Peter reverts to his usual job as Staff Captain.  I sang the “Dove Sono” at the talent show.  Ku was very complimentary as were a few of the other performers.

Meanwhile the QE2 continues her calm passage to the Straits of Hormuz.  Noon Report: N24˚30′ x E059˚ 36.9′  Speed:  21.1 knots  Course: 298˚ same as yesterday.  We have been sticking with that straight course for more than a day.

Lord Jeffrey Archer is on board and lecturing.  Ku and Pat joined me for dinner and our English couple next to us celebrated John’s birthday and we photographed them and their cake.  The show tonight was great with Harry accompanying the fabulous Opera Babes who started their career as buskers in London!  I spent some time on deck in moonlight searching for any hint of proof we have gone through the Straits of Hormuz or in the Persian Gulf.  With the GPS I see we are already northwest of Abu Dhabi.  Clocks back an hour.

Friday, 25 March – On hold off of Dubai!

At seven forty-five the Captain came on the Tannoy to report the wind is too strong to allow us to enter the harbor of Dubai, and we have done a complete 180˚ in order to head away.  We will seek to anchor out in hopes of better conditions (the sun is shining unhampered). I thought the docking would be difficult when I saw the flag out straight and the ship’s shadow changing gradually.  At one point it was obvious a tug had hit us since I could feel the hull shudder.  At present we are headed out to sea in the Persian Gulf. 

Since we are here for an overnight, we might be able to try again, but Peter Russell said the wind may continue for two days.  Meanwhile, will the tours be cancelled?  We don’t know.  The anchor was dropped at eight o’clock, in the 30-knot wind.  The anchor ball has been raised as well.

There was a helicopter evacuation due at nine fifteen, a medical emergency.  Tony Ralph is working on how to get the debarking passengers off.  The helicopter circled several times then hovered just off the Port side till the stretcher was delivered to helideck.  Meanwhile the deck hands prepared the port orange lifeboat (#2) in case the helicopter had to ditch in the gulf.  It wasn’t needed fortunately and the med-evac was accomplished safely.  However it was fascinating to watch the helicopter pilot hesitate just off the ship for the right time to move across for the landing on Helideck.  I stood facing aft from the Observation deck with camera poised for the spectacular moves.

For the rest of the morning I sat on starboard Boat Deck under boat three in shade and in the lee of the 30-knot wind.  The greenish and muddy water has been agitated with whitecaps and moderate seas.  The Dubai skyline is aft (south) of us in the distant haze.  There is a pleasant splashing of the waves as the crests break and fold in on themselves.  It is very pleasant but bordering on cool in shade.

I had lunch in the Lido with Rosemary, and then went for a nap till 2:45, when I joined Marilyn, 2 Margarets, Fran and Zelma and Elaine’s Mom in the Teen Room off Yacht Club, sorting the clothing for the Country Fayre.  We gals had tea together in the neighboring Lido, and then I headed downward to my cabin. 

The ship has headed out to sea indefinitely for the time being.  The show was a combination of Stuart Gillies, Harry and the Opera Babes.  The full moon is high in the sky, and it seems like the seas have calmed somewhat.


QE2 WC-2005-Sydney – Hong Kong, Part 3

QE2 World Cruise – 2005 – Part 3

 Tuesday, 8 February – Sydney, Australia – S33˚ 51.1′ x E151˚ 12.6′

I was up and out by four o’clock to see us enter by the Heads.  It was dark for the whole process.  I stood on Observation Deck as we gradually entered the channel with harbor beacons pointing the way and channel markers blinking their red on port and green to starboard, just the opposite from home.

When I looked up, the crystal clear sky revealed the Southern Cross very obviously nearly overhead.  The pointer stars appeared clearly to the left and down from there.  We most quietly entered straight in toward the bright green beacon then turned to Port following the channel – then to starboard around a bright beacon on Starboard, then past Fort Denison on Portside and on straight to the Opera House where four tugs assisted us in turning stern first for the parking back and sideways to the terminal.  By this time I felt I could return to my bed for a nap, which I did. 

When the immigration announcements started regularly, I arose and went through the process in fifteen minutes.  I now have my Passport for the time I’ll be on the train and back to Melbourne.  When ready I went into town via the Circular Quay.  I first tried to call home, eventually reaching Chris.  Geoff was there too.  Only was able to leave a message for Wendy.

I walked to David Jones and wandered all over Centre Point, including the Reading Room and Lincraft.  I also found AA batteries,; had a sandwich at the Victorian shopping arcade, and returned to the ship.  The hot sun and the walk back convinced me to stay on board for the rest of the afternoon in my cabin cooling off and knitting.

The cities on the East Coast all show up on the GPS, as did the New Zealand coast cities.  The funnel top was again in process of cleaning by many men holding on to ropes.  From the look of those left there, there will be more work on it tomorrow.  This is the last night with my tablemates, because all three will disembark tomorrow.  I decided to stay there for the next segment and indicated to Omar that I wish to sit facing outward.   Before dinner I had gone to Boat Deck to watch a virtual ferry rat race unfolding beneath our ship.  Double-ended green ferries quietly vied for berths as various impertinent swift catamaran-hulled ferries zipped hither and yon during rush hour.  Even a very tall- masted catamaran glided by to its own berth with what looked like excursion people on board.  It goes to Darling Harbor.

The Opera House started to light up as opera- goers were arriving for dinner presumably.  Then along came a nice riverboat stern -wheeler plus the occasional yellow water taxi.  I also discovered a large white banner with red letters spelling “Port Security Zone.” draped from our starboard Boat Deck railing.

I said goodbye to my tablemates and returned to the deck before the long sit in Grand Lounge waiting for the “Other Three Tenors,” concert at nine forty-five.  Outstanding they were.  They had us standing and singing at the end so I let it forth.  Got compliments.  Violet gave me a book from her home here in Sydney, she also sat on deck a while before retiring.  I’ll be off tomorrow for my train journey across Australia.  The long vertical black disc on starboard bridge wing, no doubt is the anti-pirate device.

Wednesday, 9 February – Sydney and train trip.

I met Violet, Nellie and Jean for the farewell breakfast in the Lido.  We had our photos taken and then I hugged both Jean and Violet goodbye and headed up to Boat Deck.  The sky is generally cloudy and mercifully cooler at least for the morning.  The morning ferry rush hour is on, with each ferry leaving this end nearly empty and arriving full.  It is only eight fifteen at the moment.  Soon I will disembark and be away till Melbourne on Saturday.

When away from the ship, I wandered a bit in the Rocks area, dragging (not literally) my duffle with me.  I bought an aboriginal painted tote bag and was quietly told to leave because they were conducting an evacuation exercise.  I then sat a while on a bench in front of a commemorative plaque in the walkway about Dorothea MacKeller.  I also chatted briefly with the Lees who were sitting on a bench along the thoroughfare, and then I proceeded to the train for Central Station, where I waited for the Indian Pacific train departure at 2:55.  Met a nice couple named Mo and Claire.

Thursday through Sunday, February 9-12.  Sydney to Perth.  Flew from Perth back to Melbourne.

Sunday, 13 February – Melbourne

We were very late departing from Melbourne.  I had already decided to shower and retire so I didn’t miss anything anyway.

I had taken a taxi from the airport and rode for thirty minutes toward the ship, and when I left the taxi I had to walk a long way out the Pier to board QE2.  The weather was quite cool in contrast to the warmth I had left in Perth.

I saw Eric and Margaret in the Lido so they filled me in on the last three days.  Number one was that they were unable to go ashore at Phillip Island to see the penguins, because of too much swell.  The weather has been cloudy and very cool.  Now it is still cool and cloudy.

I had breakfast with Jenny with my back to the Lees at their table, so I am in the routine again!  Omar has saved my outward looking seat!

I spent a short while chatting with Eric while knitting.  He asked me details of the train trip and the cabin and carriage design.  I then attended Peter Crimes’ slide presentation on Adelaide, to see if he showed places I have been.  I recognized little.  I next checked the weather on deck and found it sunny and comfortable and mild under boat nine.  The noon fix is as follows:  S38˚47.5′ x  E 141˚ 57′    Rhumb line  direction 284˚.  Speed:  17.68 knots.

Clearing Bass Strait and off Cape Nelson into Gulf of St. Vincent; slight seas and low swell.   Earlier when I returned briefly to my cabin I had a telephone message to fill out another Australian immigration card, so I had to go to the Purser’s Office.

The overhead sunbeams are reflecting on the sea ripples and waves and I can hear the regular swishing of the waves as we go along.  Earlier, down further aft I heard deckhands  testing a tender engine – put put.

Valerie Noonan just came by all bundled up with two tops, hat and a towel for her deck chair.  She too shuns the sun, but is cold right now.  Guess What!  At breakfast I noticed we actually have all the table accoutrements back; sugar, cream, butter, salt and pepper, as well as condiments to use on our own.  Conditions must be improving!

At lunchtime I joined Vernon at his table along with an American couple.  I hailed a woman I thought was Marjorie Cullen, but I guess she wasn’t because she did not respond.  Oh well, I returned to Boat Deck for the rest of the afternoon, knitting and watching for the distant coastline, content to have my QM2 fleece on.  Attended the lecture on Afghanistan. 

By the way, I learned the Gahn train is named after the Afghan camels used during the construction of the railroad to Alice Springs!

My new tablemates are Arthur and  ? who are ballroom dancers with a group from Melbourne.  They are going only to Fremantle.  I attended the show – a violinist and singer – in the usual place.  Stargazing is on for tonight, but I guess I won’t go.   Clocks back one half hour.

 Monday, 14 February – Valentine’s Day – Adelaide

As I watch the television camera picture, I note that a tug has been literally leading QE2 up the channel toward the dock.  I think it is attached to the ship so perhaps it is needed to turn her at this slow speed.  Ah  Ha!  She is being turned 180˚ before docking Portside.

I watched the final docking while a trio of singers playing accordion, violin and bucket bass, singing shanties and Australian songs entertained us.  I dashed to the Lido to grab a muffin and juice before reporting to Yacht Club for the Ensemble tour.  I had time to chat with Pat Sagar just outside.  The tour consisted of two winery visits, waterside scenery plus a visit to the Hans Heyson home and art studio.  We toured the house in detail, hearing anecdotes about Nellie Melba and Pavlova. 

Back at the ship I had a brief nap then tried to see us leave.  However, there was a delay so I left all the boats waiting to see us off, and dressed for dinner and the movie “From Here to Eternity” in the Theatre.  Dinner in the Lido followed, and I was given a Valentine rose before my beef and vegetable meal plus strawberry shortbread dessert.

The sliver of a moon on the water lit up a lovely path as I walked Boat Deck, and I checked on the Valentine ball decorations in Queen’s Room, on my way to the cabin.  Clocks back a half hour.

 Tuesday, 15 February – Great Australian Bight.

I had breakfast with Jenny after which I tested the weather on Boat Deck.  Since it proved a bit cool, I got my jacket and settled under boat 11 for the whole morning right through to lunch time.  Noon info:  S35˚ 29.9′ x E130˚ 13.1′ :  Rhumbline 270˚.  Wind: south by west 19knots.  Temp: 66.2F.  Moderate seas and moderate swell.  130 nautical miles off Australian Bight.

Eric and Margaret as usual shared their table with me in the Lido.  While in line I told Rod of my train experience, and his reaction was of dismay I didn’t see more!  I went back to my chair for a couple more hours until time for the Bligh lecture by Paula Smith.  Somewhere along the way I chatted with Valerie Noonan, who told me she was on a freighter, which stopped at Pitcairn Island, when a Bligh descendant was on board prepared with the Bligh family Bible and good intentions to visit the Pitcairn descendants.  She also said he met with ill will and got nowhere!  We had also earlier had a chat in the Logo shop about children and discipline – à propos of an obnoxious child under the Harrod’s sale table.  Now back in the cabin I am watching “Charade” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I dressed formally for the movie at six fifteen, “Intolerable Cruelty,” Then had my dinner at the Lido, where Lucy Williams and I ate together, and we stayed at least two hours until shortly before ten o’clock.  We shared her recent widowhood, my 23 years since divorce and her little budding friendship with an Irishman, Derek, who was at her table from New York to LA.  He will be on QM2 and Lucy wants to introduce him.  More power to her!

I returned to the cabin via Boat Deck in semi-moonlight (misty cloudy).  A lovely dual present for World Cruise 2005 awaited me on my bed.  A very nice metallic pen and a black leather embossed journal, thick enough to allow for an entire world cruise and then some.  I will save it for just the right time to make voluminous entries!  Thank you Cunard! Beautiful!  Clocks back one hour.

I forgot to mention attending Dr. Pula Smith’s lecture on Bligh.  She has a book on the subject, which will refute the wrong information about him and the mutiny on the Bounty.  Tomorrow we will have part two, dealing with the heroic open boat ordeal sailing west from the Tahitian islands through the Straits between Australia and Papua New Guinea all the way to Timor without losing a single crew member.  Since Bligh had served under Captain Cook at one time, he remembered the story of his charting the East Coast of Australia and heading west through the Gulf of Carpentaria, and this memory is what gave him the confidence to head that way in safety.    Dr. Smith is so enthusiastic about her researches into Mariners and explorers and her presentations are very dynamic.  The beautiful new pen, is engraved on the cap.  “QE2 World Cruise 2005.”

There has been a bit of motion today. At first, as I sat on Boat Deck the seas looked only low to moderate, but when I was aft for both lunch and dinner, the pitching was more noticeable.  During the night I was aware of pitching but only slightly.

Wednesday, 16 February – Great Australian Bight.

The ocean looks a bit choppy and skies are gray.  I can see the bow dipping forward but in the cabin the pitching is slight.  While waiting for eight o’clock I finished knitting the doll torso and started the first arm.  I joined Vernon, Roy and wife for breakfast.  A newly embarked Australian lady from Melbourne joined us and we had great conversation from QM2 to QE2 plus helping the less fortunate tales.

When I dubiously checked the weather outside, I decided that although it is somewhat rough and cloudy, it is pleasant for staying out and at present I am happily under boat eleven feeling a following breeze!  We are going west at 23 knots and even so the following wind has an impact, the seas must be moderate with lots of white horses, and we are pitching subtly.  Deck hands are in the process of white paint touch up as well as general swabbing of all the green scupper areas around the davit bases and along the gunwales.

Mention was made at breakfast of the unvarnished railings and other details of shabbiness, but as always, I emphasized she is old and we can’t expect today’s new ship glitz to be part of her.  Thank heavens.  [Regarding the unvarnished railings, it appears this was a matter of policy for a while.  However, in subsequent years, I noted that varnish is again de rigeur!]

I have decided to forego Dr. Terry Waite’s talk in favor of deck time all morning.  I LOVE THIS!  It has been a glorious morning with wonderful ocean sounds against the ship’s hull.  Paint smells dominate as the deck hands touch up all the vulnerable spots.

Noon readings:  S35˚ 29.9′  Wind:  NE 37 Knots – Temp: 71˚ F.  Direction due West 270˚  Rhumb line from Adelaide 1,007 nautical miles,  to Perth 395 nautical miles.  Rough Seas and heavy swells highly visible but QE2 marches on only slightly affected, because of the quarterly swell.  Ecstasy continues!

Not wanting to leave my wonderful spot under boat eleven, I got a sandwich from the Board Room and spent at least two more hours soaking in the brisk sea foam scene and reading my book until time to attend Dr. Smith’s second lecture on Bligh, Christian and Pitcairn Island.  Afterward, I had a short chat with her about the Caroline Alexander book “Bounty” and listening to conversation with people who have been to Pitcairn.  She has already published her book so I will hunt for it.

When I returned on deck the brisk wind was stiffer and the observation deck was closed off.  I stood a while reveling in the scene of churning waves and swell.  Dr. Smith highly compliments the Alexander book, which says a lot for her professional attitude, I think.

I joined Arthur and wife for their last dinner.  Sat with the Lees and a couple from Kentucky.  As usual I returned forward on Boat Deck and found it misty but not rainy.  Way forward I paused to lean over to see the water foam and more misty spray.  Clocks back one hour.

Thursday, 17 February – Fremantle.

I awoke very early by the new time – five o’clock.  Not being able to return to sleep I knitted and watched us approach the lights of Fremantle.  However, we are far enough out that when dawn came and the lights went out we couldn’t see the land.  Perhaps the shore was south of our destination.

In the morning as we docked another ship came in and docked behind us.  “Delphin:” with a dolphin logo.  My new tablemates said it is German and also they hadn’t seen two passenger ships here at the same time before.  S 32˚ 02.91′  E115˚ 44.7′

When we were turned around at docking time, I had my breakfast with Eric and Margaret at my table.  They left to tackle the laundry, and I had a look at the town from Boat Deck.  There is a zigzag ramp and bridge over railroad tracks to the harbor road, so I didn’t wait for the shuttle bus to begin and took that bridge route right into town.  I called Cherie and talked with Ben and Chris too.  Emily has an article published in an Australian horse magazine so I hunted for that to no avail.  I did, however wander to the hexagonal “Round House” which is the old gaol as well as the place where the one o’clock ball is dropped and the cannon fired.  I returned to the ship for lunch in the Caronia Restaurant.  Sat with Evelyn by a window over the harbor.  We saw dolphins feeding in the channel.

I tried to watch the movie “The Last Samurai” but left in favor of a long nap till dinner.  I have two men, recently embarked, from Fremantle at my table, Mike and Rex.  Both are landscapers and will be disembarking at Subic Bay.  Valerie didn’t show up.

With the show starting at nine forty-five there was a lot of waiting in the lounge, talking with the Lees and eventually Gisele.  I was tired but managed to hold on through the vigorous piano playing of Kyle Esplin from Scotland.  The evening air was cool with the quarter moon shining down.  I would have lingered but it was a bit too cool for that.

Friday, 18 February – Fremantle.

Right after breakfast with Jenny by the window, number one lifeboat was being lowered for some purpose.   I headed out toward town to post a card to Ann and proceed toward the Fremantle Market.  I had to try different routes, but eventually found the historical building.  I wandered all around the many stalls including the food markets, fish stalls, and eventually I bought some Aussie change purses and Aboriginal design bag holders.  ATT declined my charge, but the proprietor called the special number on the card for me, and we sorted them out at VISA headquarters.  A nice couple from QE2 stayed with me to help out if needed, so we exchanged photo ops with our cameras.  The woman’s name was Pam and his is Arthur.

Most of the afternoon saw me in the shade on Boat Deck facing the town reading my book.  Rosemary was next to me, but we didn’t know it till Valerie Noonan came by to chat.  Actually the very cool and stiff on shore wind made it just bordering on too cold, but I stayed.

On the quay I could hear a band playing familiar songs as departure time of four o’clock came around.  When we cast off, I just made it to Observation Deck to see us pulled away by a tug on starboard bow.  During the process, QE2’s whistle did three different groups of three blasts for all the hundreds of spectators along the shore and long jetty.  As we faced the oncoming wind outside the channel, it became down right chilly so I retreated to the cabin.

This has been a genuinely pleasing and friendly port, and I have deep down nostalgic feelings for the whole country as we leave with only Exmouth port left a day hence.

I went to see “Shark Tale” an animated movie and then joined the early queue for dinner at the Lido.  Alone by the aft windows I enjoyed my meal, and when thoroughly full I still had time to join the Lees for a very entertaining string quartet called “Grafiti Classics.”  The bass player stole the show with his clowning around with the other players as well as the audience!  Jigs, can can, polka steps, all while playing their instruments!!

When I emerged to do my usual forward walk on Boat Deck, the air had markedly warmed and the wind was no longer so strong nor nippy.  I lingered watching the moon path and listening to the watery foam stirred up by our motion.  I located the Southern Cross again, something that always thrills me!

I awoke during the night to see the moon near the horizon casting its light just a bit to port of our bow, and the atmosphere appeared misty – probably humid.

Saturday, 19 February – Indian Ocean

Breakfast with Vernon and the nice Australian lady (fluffy hair) and again we three enjoyed conversation from car fuels to solar car races across Australia.  I went on deck to test the air and again it was so comfortably balmy that I sat on Port side all morning except for two trips down to get stuff – during the very thorough crew fire and lifeboat drill.

Pat Sagar came by to chat reporting there was a Fremantle newspaper article about three Australians who somehow managed to elude security and board the ship.  They were caught rifling a cabin.  She didn’t know details but humorously surmised they might have come aboard with dirigedoos as performers, who knows how?  Anyway, at noon I did my usual fix which corroborated the ship report:  S26˚ 06.9′ x E 112˚ 38.49′:  Thumb line 346˚; speed 17.1 knot. 86˚ F – wind south southeast at 19 knots.  Moderate seas and low swell.

I joined the Lees in the very busy and noisy Lido.  I told them the gossip, which they hadn’t heard.  When we left I got an ice cream sundae and sat again at a table on starboard.  A lovely black lady from Maryland joined me and a couple from Riverside CA followed suit.  We had an animated conversation about QE2 and QM2 versus cruise ships.  I held forth!  We split up and I returned to starboard Boat Deck to avoid the sun (sat where the funnel did the best shading job), and I read my new book from Violet  “All the Rivers Run” until three thirty at which time I wandered through the boring shops on my way down to the cabin.  After all the dire predictions of intolerable temperatures, we still haven’t really experienced it yet.  I’m so glad!

From three- thirty on I worked on the doll till time to dress for dinner.  I wore my tassel dress and got some compliments.  The Fremantle fish was superb as was the crêpe Suzette.  A man entertained us at show time by showing us how pickpockets operate.  He was funny as well as informative.  His name is Bob Arno.  I saw the Sagars briefly on deck while I walked forward admiring the misty moon.

Sunday, 20 February – Exmouth – NOT

We dropped the anchor at seven- ten off the lowest shoreline imaginable, at least judging by the bridge cam.  Immediately a tender set out to shore to set up the shore station.  ———-

However, the day was another case of a port cancellation!  I had not planned on breakfast, but when I arrived on Boat Deck at eight o’clock, all indications pointed to “No go” because the stiff cooling wind and white horses, together with high swell and tossing tenders, plus one tender already being shipped aboard, confirmed my speculation.  As I was in line talking with Fred and wife, Captain McNaught came on the Tannoy with the explanation.  He also said the wind was going to increase to thirty knots in the afternoon when we would be binging people back “home.”  Anyway, I went straight to Maurettania to share Vernon’s table with my Aussie friend (3007).  I next stopped to meet the Lees and talk about the decision with which we agreed.

The rest of the morning at anchor, the Australian customs people aided the tax rebate people, stamped our passports at the Manifest office and we departed at twelve thirty.

At noon, after delivering all four finished dolls (Maria bought Angus and wife for $250 to Maria’s table.  I dashed topside for the port fix:  S 21˚ 57.5′ x E 114˚ 09.695′.  Weather: sunny, warm and windy.

I am glad to be done with the knitting.  Lillian gratefully accepted my miscellaneous balls of yarn.

I had lunch with Lennie and a friend plus an Australian lady (of five generations), and an American lady.  Lenny asked me to join the trivia session in Grand Lounge at 3:30 so I did, but wasn’t on his team.  I spent over an hour on shady Boat Deck reading in very comfortable, warm atmosphere.  The following wind from the South is quite strong, creating numerous white caps, but the over deck velocity is gentle.

Dinner at my table 255 – nothing special.  I had found Valerie Hujlich in the afternoon and I tried to deliver Jean’s letter at dinner but she must have left already. No matter.  I went to sit with the Lees for the show.  Jamie Michael Stewart. 

The true story of the security breach in Fremantle is as told by the Captain to the sewing circle!  Four people, a South African man, two women and another man were drunk.  They somehow managed to get into the automobile pen, found two forklifts and drove them through a breach in the fence and then ran up the aft gangway.  They overpowered a Filipino, who was able to sound an alarm and security people came immediately from all directions and caught them.  Police escorted them to the Police station, and the South African was arrested on the spot.  He said he did this because he was mad he wasn’t allowed on board last year in Durban!

Also Margaret told about Maria’s explanation of “roman hands and Russian fingers” to Eric.  His reply was “Can I practice on you?” Ha HA.

Again I walked the deck to A stairway, pausing to enjoy the soft sounds of passing water, to see the moonlight path dead in our path, and to feel the soft wind and atmosphere.  I washed my hair and did the laundry and watched “Second Hand Lions” before retiring.

Monday, 21 February

We are now in the Torrid Zone for sure with warmth and high humidity.  The wind is light at nine knots and the seas are as slight as can be and swells are very low.  At noon we were at S11˚ 32.7′ x E 115˚17.2′:  Rhumb Line 006˚ north path at 28.3 knots.  Average is 26.7 knots.

In the morning I had breakfast with Vernon, Roy and Jean Soper, and my 3007 Aussie friend.  I then spent time reading on starboard Boat Deck, then headed down to check in with the Lees.  Margaret steered me to the Lido to catch Valerie Hujlich and finally we made contact to deliver Jean Burns’ letter to her.  We two then went early to Terry Waite’s talk by slipping into Tony Ralph’s tour talk.  His talk was gripping as he outlined his four years of captivity as a hostage in Beirut.  Tied to Iran Contra scandal he thinks.

At noon I set up the dolls to sell and photographed Uncle Angus and Morag together.  Valerie and I endured the noise and chaos of the Lido sitting with an American from Virginia then eventually Aussie Margaret and Valerie Bennett.  The rest of the afternoon I remained in my cabin till four thirty when I joined the stitchers in Crystal Bar doing yellow chickens!  It is too hot to be outside!  Elaine McKay and her Mom brought their cute little sheep knitting bags and hope to be able to copy them for further production.

Had dinner at 255 with Mike and Rex.  Rex showed me his photo album of landscape pool jobs as well as the framing of their new house.  Just at dinner we were going between two of the hundreds of islands at 8˚ South Latitude.  I saw a flashing light to starboard on the mountainous, volcanic island they told me was Lompok Island.

The show was only okay in my estimation.  Geraldine Doyle tried to be funny, played the guitar to accompany about four Irish type songs and her husband “Horizontal” played harmonica.  While waiting in our accustomed seats, Margaret and Eric told me about their trip to Tucson, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in the 70s or 80s.  I caught most of the movie “Raising Helen” before my usual deck- walk home.

Tuesday, 22 February – East of Borneo – Equator.

Today we are supposed to cross the Equator, but there is no hype at all so far.  At seven thirty we are just entering the Celebes Sea, east of Borneo. I had breakfast again with Vernon and I finally got the name of my Aussie friend, Patricia Toogood.  I gave her my card with an invitation to visit some time.  Roy and Jean Soper too.

Two major events took place for me – the first being the very helpful lecture on pick pockets.  Captain McNaught gave a wonderful and wide-open interview to all passengers in the Grand Lounge as well.  I took profuse notes, including a direct report on the Fremantle breach of security.  The four people caught are in prison and will be prosecuted to the extent of a new law.  They are the first four who face $200,000 fine and a prison term.  One girl is the daughter of the Chief Superintendent of Police in Fremantle.

Lunch again with Vernon, Patricia, Linda and Fritz.  We always have such good conversations!  Afterward Patricia showed me her cabin (3007) an outside with two drop-down bunks over the two beds at right angles, and a toilet room with a sink and shower room with sink!  I then showed her mine.  Annemie says water is flowing in one of her cabins, alas.  I hope it doesn’t come my way! She also wants to remove my bed skirt for cleaning.

Since we were told we would cross the Equator around 3:30 I headed out to read my book and watch our progress on the GPS.  Finding a good chaise was difficult, but eventually I dragged one away from the sun on starboard and endured the slats until two ladies left near me.  I pounced and stayed there till four thirty.  I watched the GPS count down till 3:37 when the S changed to N in a flash.  The position had us due east of Samarinda on the island of Borneo, and we were passing through the Makassar Strait. Judging from the map and navigation chart this is the start of the intricate weaving in and out of numerous islands as we near the Philippine Islands and toward Subic Bay. The noon reading was S01˚5.4′ x E 118˚ 43.4′  Course: 10˚  Speed: 27.2 knots. Slight seas and low swell.  While on deck I talked with an Aussie from Fremantle who has been on 9 World Cruises.  We love ships in general.  Makassar Strait is between Borneo and Celebes.

Had dinner as usual, and then I watched the movie “Being Julia” a Somerset Maugham novel.  Brief deck time – very humid – near full moon.  Cabin by ten fifteen.

Wednesday, 23 February 

Breakfast again with Vernon, Jean and Roy plus Patricia was pleasant as usual.  I went up on deck directly and found a deck chair under boat ten in the left nook, where the deck crew had just finished painting the railing stanchions.  The sun briefly caused me to scrunch a little, but the funnel and wide davit soon shaded my spot.  I remained there all morning till the noon report then returned to Vernon’s table for a last lunch with Pat, Linda and Fritz.

I went to Lido to get some paper napkins and succumbed to a lone wedge of chocolate fudge cake and ice cream!  Ervin came to sit with me as he ate his chocolate cone from the soft serve machine, in the Pavilion, which we are again allowed to use.

At the Purser’s Office I addressed the envelope with QE2 lyrics to the Captain and cashed travelers checks.  Chatted briefly with Lucy, who was also in line.  I joined Lenny’s team for the classical music quiz and we made 27 out of 30 points.  Back on Boat Deck I stopped to chat with Valerie and Margaret then found a chaise next to Patricia where we chatted over an hour observing tiny fishing boats, distant mountainous islands and occasional tiny lobster pot buoys.

I had my last dinner with Rex and Mike, and we took photos of each other and exchanged cards and emails.  When I saw Annemie preparing her cabins, we chatted as I gave her the nightly bon bons.  She said they had a formal dance in the Grand Lounge at midnight last night.  It was so crowded on the dance floor they really couldn’t move!

Noon:  N08˚ 40.3′ x E 120˚ 13.8′:  course: NNE 15˚  Rhumb line,  Speed: 23.3 knots, 26.8 knots:  Temp: 83˚F.   Wind: N Force 3, 9 knots.  Slight seas and low swell.

Thursday, 24 February – Subic Bay, Philippines

103 Filipinos are leaving today and 107 will return,  As I write this, we are about to pull away from the dock at Subic Bay as we approach six o’clock in the evening.  We arrived shortly before dawn, and when I went to breakfast I heard we were greeted by a high school band. I missed it though. We are in the large Subic Bay, which was once the US naval Base and Clark Air Force Base.  Now the Phippine Government owns it as of 1992, and they are slowly developing it for container ships and cruise ships.  The tours they offer are rather limited, but my tour managed to cover most of the port and near outlying areas.  (Three tugs are on their way to assist us away.)

When we came from the tour of the city; air base where Fed EX has a giant distribution depot, virgin forest, survival training center; hanging bats etc. plus the shoreline with giant 94 foot flag pole and flag.  I ate lunch in the Lido with the Lees.  We three then spent the afternoon on Port Boat Deck observing, reading and stitching, plus people watching as they dribbled in, especially the reluctant Filipinos who had to leave their families. Some dancers and bandsmen entertained us from the dock at least an hour.  When the crowds gathered at the railing, I left.

The whistles blew the warning and tested individual ones and then the stream of returning crew members picked up.  I was quite tired of looking over the railing so decided to dress for dinner and reappear on Starboard to see us move from that side.  The two tugs were pulling us away equally, until the stern tug slackened the tension and went forward to push the hull, or should I say, steady the stern as the pivot, while the bow turned starboard.  I looked to the channel and harbor exit surrounded by distant mountains on both sides and toward sunset.  A plane (maybe a Fed EX one) was poised to land.  At that time I headed inside to watch the movie “Superman 2” while we finished turning and headed out without my presence!!

I had dinner in the Lido on my own, passed through the Grand Lounge while the show was in progress, then on my way around the corner at stairway C on 3 Deck, Annemie and I nearly collided.  To the cabin around 9 o’clock.  N14˚ 48.9′ x E120˚ 17.0′

Friday, 25 February – South China Sea

Another smooth sailing day.  We haven’t experienced any rough seas since before Honolulu.  After breakfast with the Lees and Jenny, I headed for the travel office to book two more tours, then to Boat Deck where I settled on port side away from the sun, which eventually found me and passed me by just before noon and the navigational information.  N20˚44.7’x E121˚21.6′    Course: 27˚  Speed: 23.4 knots.  Slight seas and low swell.

On the way to lunch I turned in my Japan application and cashed a $50 for Yen (6,000).  At the Lido I chose a table by the port bar and was joined by Elaine McKay, her Mother, and Del.  Our conversation was very animated, covering card fraud, computer programs, Cunard inside information and different changes to QE2 from Columbia Restaurant, Cunard office as part of the restaurant, Kosher – Britannia (Elaine called it Columbia annex) and lots more fun ship talk.

I went to the Japan lecture and stayed for the movie “Plots with a View,” a hilarious Welsh production.    There is no one at my dinner table this segment so I ate alone conversing with the Lees and new neighbors.  I had two crème caramels and beef.  Sat with the Lees and Gisele for the duo pianists, Katzenjammer, who were very funny and had a video camera showing their hands on the keyboard.

On my way back home on Boat Deck I had to face the strong forward wind.  Tin was enjoying the trailing wind and water as well so we chatted a bit.  Both she and YoYo are from Singapore!  Clocks forward an hour.

Saturday, 26 February 

From evidence on the bridge cam view, it is rainy and rough.  From my cabin there is only a light pitching feeling.   I had breakfast in the Lido gazing toward the rough seas, and was alone most of the meal but Ivan Pell stopped briefly.  After leaving a message for Valerie Hujlich with Margaret and Eric I wandered a bit.  Margaret steered me to catch Valerie in the Lido and we sat together – joined by her friend Margaret and also Valerie Noonan.  At eleven I attended the Japan lecture.

Noon report:  N27˚55′  E126˚14′   Temp: 51 F – Wind: North at Force 8 or 37 – 50 knots on the deck.  I stopped briefly in the Board Room with Peter Garland and Perle, and headed for lunch with the Lees in the Lido.  I also read for a short time in the Grand Lounge.

I had a nice long nap in the cabin until time to anticipate dressing for dinner.  However, I had time to knit one more yellow chicken for the charity.   Since it was quite chilly, I dressed warmly in my navy trousers, camisole, blue Sag Harbor knit top, blazer and Hong Kong scarf to see the movie “Cold Mountain.”  It was very long and I left just before the end to have dinner in the Lido.  Valerie Noonan had waited for me as well as Lucille, a very nice lawyer who got her law degree as an older woman.  We lingered till Peter Garland came for a chat.  We all parted around 9:40, I to my cabin and the others for the classical concert.

Sunday, 27 February – Nagasaki, Japan

I awoke as we were coming up the channel between the two major islands, Nagasaki to starboard and the naval yard to port.  A new suspension bridge is nearing completion.  A fire tug was spurting for our benefit as we sidled to the dock, which is situated by the step-overpass at the pedestrian hill to Glover Gardens.

I had breakfast with Vernon and we reminisced about our tablemates two years ago.  That came up because I saw the two gentlemen businessmen who sat with us on one of the segments. Richard Clay and Bill Greenwood.  I then went to Queens Room to await the welcome ceremony due at nine forty-five.  I chatted with Evelyn and Marge (from Rochester, formerly from Falmouth).  The entertainment was very vigorous drumming by five young drummers who beat those large and small drums like the world needed to hear them!

I then headed off the ship for a walk up the mountain past touristy shops to the Glover Garden Park, where I saw all the assembled western – colonial-type houses and gardens, including a statue of Puccini in commemoration of his opera “Madama Butterfly.”  After a couple of hours there and shopping, I bought two handkerchiefs and returned with Marie and Frank to the ship for lunch.  Sylvia joined me and we talked about Hawaii.  Sat a bit with the Lees as well.

Not really wanting to head out again, I simply went to see Harry Potter all afternoon, then put another layer on and stood by the railing to see the kids set up and play their band pieces for us while everyone returned from their tours.  The temperature became very cold as we pulled away from the dock at six o’clock with three wonderful blasts of the whistle and did the 180˚ turn around with a stern tug nudging and bow tug pulling.  I stayed up top to watch and photograph our passage under the partially completed suspension bridge.  Just as we went under, my batteries gave out.  With very frozen fingers I went inside via the Funnel Deck entrance and went to dinner on my own at Mauretania.  My neighbors introduced themselves as Margaret and Cynthia.  After the magic and comedian show, by Mel Mellers, I headed for my cabin.

Monday, 28 February, – Inland Sea of Japan

This is another cloudy, rainy day so, after breakfast with Vernon and the Sopers, I spent most of the morning reading my book “All the Rivers Run” while sitting on Starboard in the Grand Lounge.  I had delivered my RSVP to Elaine’s office as she arrived for her work.

At eleven I walked through the Golden Lion pub where the Oscars ceremonies were being broadcast, and up to the Theatre to attend the Mason Lecture on Chiaro House in the Japanese hills.  After lunch with the Lees I sat with Larice who had done a nice painting of Lenny as a character in “Madama Butterfly.”  An Englishman in a Thames Yacht Club sweater, joined us and we two had a nice conversation about nautical collectibles and gifts.

Presently I am back in the cabin for the Noon Report:  N31˚18.1′ x E 133˚ 37.6′:  Course: Rhumb line 090˚  at 18.9 knots.  Wind: 9 knots, 20 knots on deck.  51˚ F and slight seas and low swell.

I napped most of the afternoon, and when I awoke, I knitted until time to dress formally for the Captain’s Cocktail party in his quarters.  Annemie escorted me up by the A lift and I joined the queue of guests who signed his guest book and were introduced by Elaine.  I sang him a line from the “Capital Ship” with QE2 Tandem crossing lyrics, and told him I would be singing it for him if he could make it to the talent show.  He politely showed interest.  Meanwhile, I went on in to stand in a corner.  The Purser, Jan Christiansen came to converse and we shared bicycle stories – of Amsterdam where he is living.  I also had a brief time sitting next to Eric and Margaret plus Marie and Frank.  When discreetly possible, I said thank you to Captain McNAught and headed for the eight o’clock movie “The Black Book.”

After ten I had a Horlicks and returned to the cabin via the Queens Room where the Cherry Blossom ball as in full swing.  Took a photo.

Tuesday, 1 March – Osaka, Japan

While I was eating in the Lido we sidled to our dock right next to the huge Ferris wheel and ships’ terminal next to the Marine Museum.  The big suspension bridge is off our bow as we face up the river or “canal” toward Kobe.

I joined the Ensemble World Explorer tour for Kyoto, and we drove along the big semi-tunneled freeway for about one and a half hours.  We visited a Buddhist Temple, Shinto Shrine and garden, and had a traditional Tempura lunch and a tea ceremony at a teahouse and confectionery shop before heading back to Osaka past castles and a pagoda.  Back near five o’clock.  Just a few cherry trees were budding, and the air was quite crisp.

I sat briefly with the new Australian Margaret and Doris in Queen’s Room while we awaited our departure.  I noticed we were moving away from the dock and crowds of Japanese were waving and watching us.  I had to go outside to see the operation first hand, and found we intended to back beyond the little jetty to starboard.  There were tugs astern off starboard pulling and aft port ready to push, and then the aft starboard left and went forward to start pushing.  The forward port tug continued to pull till we were 90˚ turned when we started forward to complete the 180˚ necessary to head out.

The Ferris wheel and all harbor and city buildings were well lighted by this time.  I ate dinner alone again and the maitre d’ asked if I want to change tables.  More people will come at Hong Kong so I’ll remain at 255.  I attended the last show of the QE2 Singers and Dancers, then headed to the cabin.

Wednesday, 2 March – at Sea

After my usual breakfast with Vernon and the Sopers I simply headed aft to check in with the Lees.  However, I didn’t stay long.  Peter Garland filled me in on the Pattaya Orphanage tour and I have decided to do this one.  The deal is that one makes a donation during the tour (minimum $40).  I will attend a meeting tomorrow at three thirty in the Chart Room for further details.  At ten o’clock I attended the lecture on tours, then chased down Valerie Hujlich in the Lido.  She told me of her experiences in Keelung with very helpful Chinese individuals. 

I then decided to try the open deck situation after Sue from Adelaide said it was nice up there.  The upshot was that I sat on a deck chair quite alone enjoying the somewhat cool air for over an hour.  I heard the noon whistle and recorded our position for verification.  A lot of Korean and Japanese port way marks showed on the GPS screen.   N30˚ 5.7′ x E 132˚ 24.7′   Speed: 15.7 knots.  Course: 235˚ (southwest.  Temp: 60˚ F  Wind: NE 5 knots. 15 knots on deck.  Slight seas, low swells.

At twelve forty-five I entered the Lido teeming with diners, including numerous Japanese in a long queue for their special food between the stairs.  For refuge, I quickly retreated to the Lee’s table and joined them as they finished up.  A lady from Sydney came later and we agree the place is a madhouse.  One meal like this and a hasty retreat to peaceful Mauretania will be welcome tomorrow!  I went back to my lone chaise on deck by D doorway and finished, ‘”All the Rivers Run” It got a bit cool, so went to the cabin at three o’clock.  I knitted a while, showered and went to the movie, “Vanity Fair,” followed by a Lido dinner on my own.  However, I joined Lucy and Jeanette for a good old natter.  On my way along Boat Deck, I noted a series of lights to starboard, two blinking and two constant.

Wednesday, 3 March – East China Sea.

This is a rather stormy day.  As I walked up A stairway I passed a gal coming down who was dripping wet from running on deck.  The wind is a very strong gale force, but since we are going downwind with a following sea, the wind doesn’t feel all that strong.  I stayed inside attending the lecture by the BBC producer, Terrence Hughes, and then Peter Crimes talk on Taipei and Hong Kong.  I emerged on deck in time for the noon whistle and report.  As I looked over the railing the water was quite churned up with flying spray, deep swell troughs and rough seas.  The ship occasionally rocks and subtly pitches and as I looked forward I could see the bow was outlining a circle as she tries to keep on the exact course.  N 27˚ 35.5′ x E 126˚ 14.9′  Wind: North. Force 8 (37k).  Rough seas and heavy swell. Temp: 58˚ F.

I spent some time facing aft at the taffrail watching the pitch up and down.  An Aussie and I enjoyed it since we both are sailors.  Lunch with the Lees in a moving Lido with the little signs on the cafeteria lines, falling over often.  Rice pudding. 

While back in the cabin a repairman came to check my A/C.  I suspect it may have been related to a Priority One  call earlier in 3 Deck Fan Room 10, wherever that is.

I chose a book from the Library to read.  Captain Arnott’s autobiography. “Capt. Of the Queen”.  After the three thirty charity meeting, I read it by a starboard window in Grande Lounge.  The rising waves, swells and white spew were fascinating to watch!

Dinner in the Mauretania was enjoyable for several reasons, First – I looked out at the rough seas till dark, had good conversations across the tables with the Lees, Margaret and Cynthia, plus we had Beef Wellington and the baked Alaska parade.  We held hands across the table abysses while we all sang “Aulde Lang Syne,” and waiters and chefs held their sparklers.

A cellist presented her show and tried to appeal to all tastes.  I felt unsatisfied and upon discussing it with Gisele, we agreed the “show” would have been better in a recital format.  The seas have abated slightly.  Clocks back an hour.

Friday, 4 March – Keelung, Taiwan – NOT

Nope!  We are still at sea and will continue to be since we have to skip Taiwan altogether.  The Captain announced there is a five-meter swell pushing into the mouth of the harbor (15 foot swell.)  This and just getting the ship through the narrow entrance and around the corner would be much too dangerous for the ship.  So, we are bypassing and at present only going 14.3 knots in the not so rough seas heading straight for Hong Kong.  We will be docking there tomorrow – one extra night! 

For a while I didn’t have any definite ideas what to do, so I wandered around making a stop briefly at the Lees and Fran’s grouping in Queens Room.  There was no available chair so I continued toward Lido where I sat with Valerie, Margaret and eventually English Valerie (Woods).  We commented on the lack of structure we felt as well as references to some of their experiences.  Valerie Hujlich was sad! She was unable to see her new Taiwan friends.

I eventually left them in favor of a quiet spot in  the Grand Lounge.  However, before I settled in a group of crew was waiting for drill instructions.  Elaine was also there and upon my mention of ashtrays on the non-smoking on starboard side, Elaine responded with action, namely collecting the six or more little trays, one with two butts. She took them away mentioning they weren’t even QE2 property!

I stayed there reading and knitting as well as gazing at the sea with its gray, agitated waves and foam.  After faintly hearing the noon whistle, Captain McNaught came on the Tannoy with more apologies about the most recent port cancellation.  He also announced he will not be leaving in Hong Kong after all because Captain Bates is unable to take over till Singapore.  N 25˚ 1.3′ x E 120˚ 29.4′  Speed:  14.9 knots.  Course 237˚  Temp 58˚ F.  Wind NE Force 7, thirty knots (5 K over deck).  Rough seas and heavy swell.

Again I shared lunch with the Lees.  When I recognized Andrew the ‘cellist of last night, I initiated brief conversation of cello talk.  I returned to the cabin and spent the afternoon watching television, and listening to Sue’s lecture on diaries and knitting.  I chose to watch the movie “Princess Diaries” then ate in the Lido.  Had a brief chat with Lilian and Valerie H. by stairway E on my way back downward.  The seas have calmed down substantially so there is very little motion.

Saturday, 5 March – South China Sea and Hong Kong arrival.

Although it has been mostly sunny all day, a haze has hung around most of it.  The following cool wind persists, and since we are constantly fleeing its brunt, the white caps persist everywhere on the moderate seas and moderate swells.

I had breakfast with Vernon and the Sopers, and then had a cool and pleasant sojourn under boat 9 until eleven o’clock reading and enjoying the outlook.  I then had to retreat inside for a few errands and the talent show rehearsal behind the stage.  I chatted with the Lees and Doris, and then joined them for English pub lunch in the Crazy Lido.  Peter Garland came by briefly trying to get a rise out of Eric!  Oh yes, earlier I chatted with the two Australian Valeries, Valerie H. in curlers and bandana!

I returned to my deck chair right after lunch to read until two thirty when I headed downward to dress in black for the talent show.  We had twenty acts including singing, harmonica, fiddle and spoons, and piano, opera, my ditty to QE2 and Lenny plus guess who!  Diva, who else?  People snicker as usual but I must give her credit for guts!  She had two good notes at least!  Warren said the Captain was in the balcony, but I don’t know for sure.  The whole thing took over an hour and a half.

Noon readings:  N21˚53.3′ x E 115˚ 51.2′   Course:  285˚  Rhumb line.  Speed: 17.1 knots  Temp: 51˚ F  Wind: NNE Force 6 – 26 knots,  30 knots over the deck.  Moderate east and moderate swell.

So – when we were abreast of all the little outlying islands to Hong Kong, I went on Starboard and moved along and up to the various decks in order to see all around as we passed by the successive peaked and apartment laden islands, past marker buoys, sampans engaged in hauling the lobster pots, tankers, ferries, cranes, barges and so on.  Twice QE2 sounded her whistle one long blast presumably to signal passing to starboard.  Dusk came and gave way to night and all the lights of the city lit the buildings as a fireboat spurted its water jets, rowboats scurried out of the way, and everything afloat lit up all bright and dim anchor lights or running lights.  Also the air was hazy all along and this added to the atmosphere expected of this famous and busy city and waterway.

When three tugs pushed us sideways toward our accustomed Pier, I went inside for dinner at the Lido.  I met up with Richard and Bill of two years ago and we enjoyed ship talk till they left for the night market.  I simply sat in the Grand Lounge relaying the recent news about QM2, which the men reported.  Refit to make more crew cabins.

Annette Wardell sang her lovely arias, looking coquettish and regal in character.  Before going downward I strolled along Starboard Boat Deck admiring the night-lights and traffic on the water.  I met Sheshank and friends on their way out, and I gave him his tip and he hugged me.


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.