February 15, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 41

Day 41 Townsville, Australia. This port was not on our original itinerary, it was added after we were unable to stop at Mooloolaba due to the seas being too rough, which resulted in the port officials closing the port. The temperatures are in the low 90's, bright sunny skies and a very light breeze. Fortunately the relative humidity is low at 45%. In the shade it is comfortable, but in the sun it is hot. My hat is giving me my money's worth, same for sunscreen.

We dock at the pier where sugar is normally loaded. Waiting for the shuttle bus into town, a local radio reporter is interviewing passengers on the pier and moments later a TV crew arrives. On the bus, they are playing the radio and the top news story is the visit of the "Amsterdam". After a 10 minute ride to the town center, I find the local paper is distributing free newspapers, on the back page is a headline "Amsterdam In Town Today". It is very obvious the locals are doing their best to make us welcome, and our presence is a big event.

During our drive we pass what I think is going to be a cruise terminal pier. It appears to be complete, but there is no signage and no activity. It also could be a ferry terminal, I'm not sure.

All of you have probably referred to some boats as being "cattle boats", especially some packed tenders from the larger ships. At the pier next to us is a true cattle boat. It is being loaded with live cattle. I have no idea where they are being shipped to, but the boat looks a little like a cruise ship with four decks of balcony cabins, but instead of glass doors there are cattle gates. At least they have a nice view on their voyage, in fact a better view than I have.

There are also at least 3 smaller freighters in port. One ship is loading nickel ore, the other two container freight. The only active workers are two barges dredging the harbor, and several workers busting up concrete on the pier. It is possible today is some sort of Holiday, or maybe Monday isn't a normal work day, I haven't heard.

I take a walk around town. There is not too much here. Several gardens, a long water front, 2 large public salt water pools and a large granite mound that sticks up hundreds feet in the middle of town. There is a walking trail to the top, I decline even though there would be a nice view from the top. The store fronts are typical of any midsized city. There are a number of hotels, banks, cafes, etc. The city is very clean, and traffic is almost non existent. I can see why they are excited to have 1000 visitors dumped into the center of town for a day.

After a couple of hours I return to the ship. It is still nearly deserted. I take the opportunity to do laundry, all the machines are empty. After the laundry is complete I go to the medical facility to retrieve some of my drugs they are storing for me. After 10 minutes, she is unable to find them. I don't panic, but do volunteer to help. A full sized refrigerator is full. I quickly recognize my zip lock bag at eye height right in front. She tells me that the next time I come back to tell them they are on shelf two and it will save a lot of time. Maybe that would have been a good idea for every passenger six weeks ago? I thank Chris and say nothing more.

As the ship is preparing to leave, I am paged to call the front desk. They think I'm on shore even though I have been on the ship for hours. I call, and they act surprised, really suspecting I'm not on the ship. Later I did have a thought. What would happen if I didn't call? How long would they "wait" for me? How much trouble would I be in if I then check off the boat tomorrow morning? Probably not a process to mess with. Just laugh that they missed me even though they scanned my card. Stuff happens.

I go to the Lido for a turkey dinner, listen to Debby for an hour, then go to tonight's show. It's an alarm clock day tomorrow in Cairns as I have a tour first thing in the morning. A 20 mile train ride, followed by a cable tram over the rain forest canopy. So far the weather forecast is clear and sunny, but with temperatures in the upper 90's.