|Cherries Jubilee being flambeed - Pinnacle Grill|
We all went to the Pinnacle Grill for dinner to celebrate my birthday. I had the seafood skewer and a Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Both were flambéed at the table, which is pretty special. It was a nice way to spend my 58th birthday - aboard ship and at sea in the South Pacific.
|Underwater Aircraft wreck at Luganville, Vanuatu|
We drive through Luganville on our way back to the ship. This is not a particularly nice place…in fact it is a rather run down little one street town. We go to the Lido for dinner. I have a New Zealand salmon dish that is really nice – tartar sauce, veggies, and rice complete the meal.
I check my email and post my blog for Fiji this evening from my room. One of the emails is from Epeli Naua, my Fijiian friend. He is in Kuala Lumpur on a course, so that's the reason he couldn't meet me in Suva when I was there a few days ago. I have created a DVD commemorating our two families since 1960, which I had prepared onboard over the last few days. It contains still photos from the 1960s, and my visits in 1975 and 2004, and some 8mm home movies my parents took in the 1960s when his father was a crew member of the Lakumba lumber freighter at the time. I will send Epeli and his brother Iniasi a PAL format DVD, so they have this nice keepsake of our two families.
|Nemo on the reef at Paradise Island, Port Vila, Vanuatu|
Port Vila is much more prosperous than Luganville, and is such a pretty location, with the harbour surrounded by a series of small islands. There are lots of upscale resorts and homes built around the harbour, and some very exotic yachts are to be found in this harbour. There is no rain today while we are in port, but it continues to be overcast the whole day, with the sun peeking out from the clouds for brief moments.
As with yesterday, it is nice to return to the comforts aboard ship after our shore excursion. Hot showers, good food, air conditioning, clean surroundings, and warm greetings from all the staff make for such a welcoming environment.
Oct 16, 2010 – Saturday – Kotu, New Caledonia – We cruise by the southern tip of La Grande Terre, the largest island in New Caledonia this morning on our way to Ile des Pins. Volendam anchors in the bay of the little town of Kotu at noon. The scenery is strikingly beautiful, with the Araucaria pine trees this island is known for visible all around the bay. The water is a beautiful tropical blue colour; the weather is warm without being too hot – there are a few clouds in the otherwise sunny sky. We are at anchor from noon to 8pm this evening, so we have lots of time to go ashore.
|Baie de Kanamera, Kuto, Ile des Pins, New Caledonia|
|Welcoming dance troupe on dock at Noumea|
I quickly decide during our little excursion to the market this morning that it is too hot to bother with any tours. I return to the ship and have a swim in the Sea View pool. There is lemonade being served poolside, so I soon cool down. I go out on the Promenade deck and sit in a lounge chair in the shade and work on my journal and photos – watching the world go by. There are huge numbers of sailboats moored in the harbour…almost to the point of it being crowded. People in power boats scoot alongside our ship, waving hello before taking off again.
A local dance troupe Temonoroa Dance Group puts on a terrific show of Polynesian dancing in the show lounge aboard ship this evening. They get some audience participation going, with both the men and women in the audience appearing on stage. The Volendam departs right after the show, once the troupe goes ashore with all their costumes and gear. She creeps out of the harbour dead slow past all the sailboats that are moored for the night.
Once again, the ship's clocks turn forward one hour tomorrow morning, so we lose an hour after gaining all those hours as we sailed westward across the Pacific earlier in the cruise.