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2013 Voyage- Asia-Pacific WW II Holland America

2013 Voyage- Asia-Pacific WW II Holland America

2013’s Voyage was similar but heavily focused on the South Pacific and WWII stops.  We of course loved that.

September 23, 2013 – Dallas to Los Angeles

If I ever want a big event to occur in my life, all I have to do is schedule a long voyage, and it is guaranteed that a significant one will occur right before we leave. Last time, we sold our company 2 weeks before leaving on our World Voyage. This time, our home in […]

September 24-26, 2013 – At Sea en route to Hawaii

I don’t know why I have to learn the lesson over on each voyage, but it takes a few days to settle in to shipboard life. This cruise starts out with four days at sea on our way to Hilo, Hawaii, whereas many others have one sea day followed by a string of ports – […]

September 28, 2013 – Hilo, Hawaii

One of the lecturers on the ship had discussed different types of volcanically formed islands. The big island of Hawaii is formed by three volcanoes oozing lava out from the summit and other fissures, building up layers and creating a typical “shield” volcano, so named for its resemblance to a warrior’s shield laying on the ground. As we […]

September 29, 2013 – Honolulu, Hawaii

We arrived early in Honolulu, as dawn was breaking.  Honolulu is on the south side of the island of Oahu, so as we approached our pier, at Aloha Tower, downtown, Waikiki Beach, and Diamondhead were to our east, providing a nice view as we slowly edged in to the pier.   Aloha Tower has a […]

September 30 – October 3, 2013 – At sea, en route to the Marshall Islands

Very pleasant days and nights, sailing smoothly southeast toward the Marshall Islands – beautiful, balmy weather in the middle of the Pacific. Hundreds of miles from the nearest land.             1125 nautical miles from Hawaii, 590 nautical miles to Majuro, Marshall Islands. I have mentioned in previous blogs how much […]

October 3, 2013 – The day that never was

At 3:00 am, this morning we crossed the International Date Line, and went from Wednesday, October 2nd, to Friday October 4th. We have done this several times before, but it always befuddles me for a while. Last night we found out that ESPN (the only sports channel we get on the ship at sea) was […]

October 5, 2013 – Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands

The islands in this part of the Pacific, are actually atolls, instead of islands. The difference being that the volcano mountains that formed them have eroded over millions of years, the center peaks have collapsed into the calderas, leaving the rims of the volcanoes, where time and nature create coral reefs and eventually small islands […]

October 8, 2013 – Chuuk (Truk), Federated States of Micronesia

Micronesia is another country made up of widely scattered islands and atolls. The Island of Chuuk, which was formerly called Truk, is home to Weno, the largest community in Micronesia, but is not the capital. Prior to World War II, Chuuk was a territory of Japan, and in preparation for the war it was built […]

October 10, 2013 – Guam

Welcome to Guam!  Hafa Adai, is Chomorran (the indigenous people of Guam) for hello, but the guide says it is “half a day” for the length of time they work around here. Unfortunately, it is raining hard with no let up in sight – but we venture out to see Guam.  Guam was discovered by […]

October 11, 2013 – Saipan

Saipan is the second island we have visited where significant WWII battles took place.  Between Guam, Tinian (a mile or two to the South of here), and Saipan, 24,000 Americans and friendly civilians lost their lives retaking these islands.  The Allied commanders had, after early battles to retake Pacific islands, learned that they were better […]

October 14 – Day 1 in Kobe, Japan

Our first time in Japan and we are not sure what to expect, but really looking forward to the adventure. We had a day and a half scheduled here, but due to the following seas and winds from the Typhoon south of us, we arrived 10 am instead of 4 pm – bonus!  So far the late […]

October 15 – Day 2 in Kobe, Japan

Today we booked an all day tour to Kyoto to visit various shrines and temples, and return to Kobe via the bullet train – from 6:30 am to 4:30 pm, a very full day.  Usually we don’t book tours longer that a half day, so we have time to prowl around on our own, but […]

October 2013 – Japan

Maneki Neko Japan’s Beckoning Cat According to Japanese legend, long ago an Emperor was traveling on horseback when he spotted a small cat waving at him.  After the Emperor dismounted from his horse to get a closer look, the horse was struck by lightning and killed.  Subsequently, the Emperor pronounced that cats in general should […]

October 17, 2013- Nagasaki, Japan

Today we were scheduled to be in Okinawa, but due to rough seas we would have encountered getting there, the Captain made a decision to cancel that port, substituting Nagasaki instead, which is further to the north and west of Okinawa, on the western edge of Japan. I can imagine all of the ramifications of a decision like […]

October 19, 2013 – Shanghai, China

Shanghai sits on bend in a river in the delta of the Yangzte River, midway between Beijing and Hong Kong. By population, it is China’s largest city and the world’s largest city (population 23 million), and is China’s primary commercial and shipping center. Shanghai’s harbor, the busiest in China is a river harbor and is also the main […]

October 20, 2013 – Beijing, China – Part 1 – The Forbidden City

We packed for 4 days and left the ship on the morning of the 20th, meeting our guide Dennis Wang (Wang Xu), who would be with us the next 4 days, on the pier.  Dennis proved to be as much a highlight of the trip as the sites we saw – providing a wealth of […]

October 20, 2013 – Beijing – Part 2

After leaving The Forbidden City, we headed to Tiananmen Square, where Mao Zedong proclaimed the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 and where citizen protests against the Cultural Revolution were put down by the military in 1976, although they probably led to the reforms that have spurred China’s economic growth. This huge public square contains […]

October 21, 2013 – Beijing Great Wall

We headed to breakfast in the hotel, me with great apprehension, Sally with joyful anticipation.  To my surprise and joy, breakfast was a buffet of all types of foods including a great choice of American – eggs scrambled, over easy, sausage, bacon, toast, cereals, waffles, pancakes, pastries – whoopee!  Even baked beans for the Brits […]

October 22, 2013 – Xian

We arrived in Xian in the evening and went straight to our hotel, a Hilton – like the one in Beijing it was first class.  My breakfast was still holding up, so I skipped the Chinese buffet, in favor of an early bedtime. Also like the hotel in Beijing, there was a giant picture window […]

October 26, 2013 – Nha Trang Vietnam

As we entered Nha Trang harbor, the pilot boarded the boat by climbing up a rope ladder hanging over the side while his boat driver kept pace with the ship.  Then the Vietnamese customs officers boarded, from this boat, in the same manner – all 10 of them!  I have seen many pilots board and […]

October 28, 2013 – Singapore

Singapore, like Hong Kong, is a terrific place to visit, particularly by cruise ship.  We arrived in mid afternoon, which is unusual – we hit most ports early in the morning.  Singapore, with its location at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, sits on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, as […]

October 29, 2013 – Singapore – Day 2

Up and away early.  We have to be back on ship by 1:00pm. For a 3:00 pm sailing – this two hour loss of shore time was caused by the Singaporean immigration officials, whom I suppose want to make sure we all leave.  We head back to the Singapore Flyer, and jump on as soon […]

October 31, 2013 – Muara, Brunei (Borneo)

Borneo, a large island at the bottom of the South China Sea, between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, contains three different countries: part of Malaysia, part of Indonesia, and all of Brunei.  I had always heard of Brunei since all conversations about rich monarchs eventually include the Sultan of Brunei – his palaces, his cars, […]

November 1, 2013 – Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (Island of Borneo)

Just east of Brunei, is the state of Sabah, Malaysia and the town of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. We are still on the island of Borneo – home of the “wild man of Borneo” – kind of like the Southeast Asian version of Sasquatch.  Borneo truly is a wild place – settled on […]

November 3-4, 2013 Manila, Philippines

We were originally scheduled to be here one day, but, much to the delight of the Philippine crew members, our stop at Cebu was cancelled due to civil unrest, giving us a two day stay in Manila.  Our greeting on arrival was over the top. Even the drug sniffing dog had a somewhat festive air […]

November 5-10, 2013 – Six Days at Sea

When we left Manila there was some talk of the coming Typhoon Haiyan – but we had no clue that it would turn out to be the largest typhoon ever!  At least that is what we are hearing on CNN.  The Captain announced that because of the approaching storm, directly in our path, we would […]

November 11, 2013 – Part 1 – Veterans Day – Armistice Day – Remembrance Day

No matter what it is called, the entire world celebrates it – it has morphed from a celebration of the end of the war to end all wars, WW1, to become a thank you to those who served,  a remembrance of those who gave their lives, and a hope for no more wars.  On board […]

November 11, 2013 – Part 2 – Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, sits on the eastern most island of Papua New Guinea, and was a major Japanese facility during the war.  The Japanese, based here, planned on using Rabaul as a springboard to take all of New Guinea and eventually invade Australia, just to the south.  They, the Japanese, were in the process […]

November 13, 2013 – Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Last night, just as the sun was setting, we passed this volcanic island, Kolombangara, which is the island near which John F. Kennedy’s PT boat was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer, running at high speed, lights out, down “The Slot” (New Georgia Sound) which ran between the parallel chains of the Solomon Islands.  […]

November 15, 2013 – Luganville, Vanuatu (Island of Espiritu Santo)

This is probably the last of our ports with any significant tie to WWII.  Known simply as Santo during the war (and today), this was a major island for gathering troops and materiel on the way to and from battle, for R & R, and for repair of ships and planes.  It was more of […]

November 19, 2013 – Pago Pago, American Samoa

Happy Anniversary to us! Forty eight years ago today, in La Marque, Texas, at the First Presbyterian Church, Sally and I were married.  Our reception was at the local Elks Club, and we headed to my new job with IBM in San Jose.  It seems like just yesterday.  Most of my posts are edited by […]

November 22, 2013 – Bora Bora

This is the first of four French Polynesian Islands we will visit in the next five days. Those of you who have followed our travels are aware that Bora Bora is my favorite island in the whole world. It is a most unusual piece of geology – with a mountain in the middle, surrounded almost […]

November 23, 2013 – Papeete, Tahiti

Papeete, among the places in French Polynesia, is the biggest, busiest, and most “city” like. Buses, taxis, motorcycles, cars shops, and lots of people, but somehow it still maintains its beauty and “island” feeling. It is always a good place to stock up on toiletries and miscellaneous stuff you have run out of, provided of […]

November 24, 2013 – Moorea

I can tell when I have been too long in Polynesia – whether it is Hawaii or Tahiti – because I find I start pronouncing their words correctly. For example, yesterday I called this island mo – ray – ah. Today I pronounced it correctly, sounding out ALL the vowels, mo – oh – ray […]

November 25, 2013 – Rangiroa, French Polynesia

This is again, a completely different type of island. Rangiroa, which lies about 150 miles northeast of Tahiti and Moorea, is a circular chain of flat coral atolls, with no volcanic mountains at all. It is a part of French Polynesia, so the language and culture is that unique blend of Polynesian and French and […]

November 27, 2013 – Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia

Nuku Hiva is our last stop in Polynesia, and indeed our last port of call on this cruise. It is located in the far northeast area of French Polynesia, in the Marquesas Islands. This is the fifth French Polynesian island we have visited in six days, each of them so far has been quite different […]

Epilogue

We made our way up into San Pedro Bay to the Long Beach Cruise Center, which is adjacent to the permanent berthing of the Queen Mary, now a major tourist destination for events and tours. We tied up next to the great old ship at 7:00 am, enjoyed our last breakfast on the ship while […]