S: Sydney to LA April 14 - May 14, 2008
BC: Island of Islands A Place to Revisit
FC: Sapphire Princess Transitional Cruise 14th April - 14th May 2008
1: After making arrangements to climb the bridge. we went to an open market in "The Rocks". Pat, Ken & I then prepared to climb the bridge. | Left home about 2:30 pm April 10. Had a 3 hr layover in LA and then flew to Sydney, a 14-1/2 hr flight. Arrived in Sydney at 6 am on the 12th and had to wait for our rooms until 3 pm. We were tired but decided to check out Sydney.
2: WE DID IT!!! WE CLIMBED THE BRIDGE!!! The summit is 435 feet above Sydney Harbor.
3: The next day, we ate in the quay and went shopping (looking) at the Galleries Victoria, a high end shopping mall. | There were aborigines and mimes on the quay. Next - board the ship.
5: We had to have sour luggage ready for the ship by 7:30 am on the 14th. Boarding began at 2:00 pm. They always | Our sail-away was scheduled for 9:00 pm, but we did not actually leave until 10:00 pm. | take a picture when you board. We found Sydney to be very expensive. The drinks at the hotel were $18 each. | The city of Sydney, the Harbor and the Bridge were all lit up and the city was beautiful. | We got our luggage late afternoon, then went to dinner and the welcome aboard show. . | Tomorrow we have a day at sea and the next day we will be in Melbourne.
6: Downtown Melbourne | Pat, Bob & Ken on the bus | Healsville Sanctuary Animal Hospital | Wallaby | Koala | Ken at entrance to animal hospital
7: Kangaroo | Geese in our path | Wild Turkey | Wombat | Tasmanian Devils | Shy Tasmanian Devil
8: We went to two wineries. At the first,we had lunch and a tasting. | McWilliams Lillydale Estate. | The second winery was more sophisticated and | not as much fun. It was Domaine Chandon.
9: Two day as sea, one of them being formal for dinner. During the day we worked out, played bingo, shopped and just hung out and relaxed. We crossed the Tasmanian Sea which was rough.
10: Hobart-Tasmania 1st stop - Apple Museum in the Huon Valley, then to the Stonehouse Gardens. The owner has spent years developing her gardens. Look at those crazy shoes
11: We stopped at the Tahune AirWalk in the Tahune Forest Reserve. It is the longest treetop walk in the world. It was too high for Bob and it had quite a bit of motion as you walked. At the highest point, this was 156 feet above the forest floor.
12: We stopped for morning tea at the Huon Manor Restaurant in Huonville. It was very good. Pictures of signs are from Huonville. | Later we stopped at a small town with a forest museum. The bus with the funny decal was parked outside. Ken and Bob enjoyed a Tasmanian Beer.
13: We had a great time in Hobart. We particularly liked the first winery. It was casual and lunch was good.
14: Two days at sea! Things to do: Sit on deck and watch the ocean go by; play bingo; do laundry; suntan on deck. | Days at sea, the pools are alway crowded. Lots of sun bathers on board. Have to get there early to get a good spot. | We always managed to get in a game of Bingo. Pat was usually lucky and won something. | Cocktails before dinner were at various bars. To reach this one, there was a staircase at the rear of a show lounge. It was quiet and remote.
15: Fjorland National Park New Zealand We cruised through Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's majestic natural wonders. It was rainy and cloudy so the pictures turned out dark, but it was still beautiful.
16: City of Auckland New Zealand Ken and I took the Antarctic Encounter Tour. It brought us to Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, where we saw a replica of an Antartic Hut from the early 1900"s, went through underwater passages to view fish, and rode a snowcat into the penguin area.
17: Bob and Pat chose for their tour the City of Sails. They said they had a lot of fun, but it was quite chilly out on the water. | The second part of our tour took us to the Sky Tower. We went to the top and looked down through the glass windows. We were really surprised when jumpers appeared outside the windows. The sky tower is 1,066 feet high.
18: Suva, one of the Fiji Islands We went to see the firewalking spectacular. There were several dances by men and women before the actual firewalking. | Later this day, we crossed the International Dateline. One of the great things about this cruise is the time changed an hour at a time and did not cause jet lag.
19: Pago Pago on the Island of Tutuila, American Samoa Tour buses on the islands were a lot less formal than the on main lands. Leone Church is a landing site of the first missionary. We experienced the traditional Samoan welcome ceremony
20: RAROTONGA COOK ISLANDS Known for snorkeling, diving and sportfishing
21: We took the 4WD vehicle into the interior for a close-up view of Te Rua Manga --the peak known as "The Needle". Notice the condition of the roads. Nice to visit, but not live.
22: bora bora | Our favorite island | Bloody Mary's Bar
23: Celebrity Fences where the attendance of celebrities were noted. | However, we were not asked our names to be included on the fences. | We arrived early morning; the bar wasn't open yet. There was a pier across the street and we took pictures, etc. waiting for the bar to open. | Note the floor is all sand Check your shoes at the door..
24: In the afternoon, we had signed up for the Lagoon Sail by Catamaran. They had so many sign-up that they went to a larger boat. We cruised out to the middle of the lagoon where it was shallow and we swam with the stingrays. They would slither right up your arm. Some people even kissed them, including Bob. Then we went to an island for some refreshments. Probably one of the best tours we have taken. On the way back we passed the cottages over the water. They said they cost $1,000 a night.
25: Papeete is the capital, chief port and trading center of the Tahitian Islands. | Our excursion explored the east coast of Tahiti Nui. At one point, we stopped by a river and saw a large eel swimming. We chose not to take the opportunity to swim (eels).
26: Beautiful sunset | Waiting for the show to begin. | The halls to our rooms were long. | One of our favorite watering holes.
27: One evening we chose to go to the Sterling Steak House for dinner. Normally you have to pay extra, but it was a gift from our travel agent. We had a wonderful steak dinner and a change of pace. | Above left: One afternoon I took a shower and did not realize that the water was backing up. It flooded the hall and into our bedroom. They had to replace the carpet.
30: Honolulu, Hawaii | Spent some time shopping and had lunch at Dukes on the beach.
31: Our last stop was Hilo, Hawaii. It was cloudy and cool and stayed that way all the way home. While in Hilo, we went to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea's Crater's Rim. We were restricted because of activity in the volcano. We walked through a volcano tube and stopped at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory.