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 be skipping the next stop, Yap Island, turning south, to pass on the “good” side of the Typhoon, and proceeding to the next port of call Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
But first we had to navigate the maze of islands between us and the Pacific. Manila is on the northern island of Luzon, Mindano is the southern major island, and in between are hundreds of smaller islands (there are over 7000 islands that make up the Philippines).
We turned south out of Manila Bay, and worked our way eastward through the islands for a day and a half, out into the Pacific Ocean, passing north of the city that was devastated by the storm – Tacloban which is on the east side of the Island of Leyte.
En-route to Papua New Guinea we felt little effect of the storm, although we could see it to our north and eventually to our stern.
Those of you who have followed our travels are probably aware that we love sea days with no tours or shopping trips to mar the day. If there was a cruise that left Galveston, sailed into the Gulf for 7 days and turned around and sailed back with no stops, it would rank up there at the top of my list!
Sleeping in, walking the deck, going to lectures, reading on deck, a movie every afternoon, poker tournaments daily, writing the blog – what’s not to like?
Also, I have time to write about things other than markets, mosques, old churches and skyscrapers, and most importantly, there are no Chinese family style dinners.
This ship actually has two full time flower arrangers on board, and while I am not into flower arrangements, even I have to admit these two are good. They are both from Holland, and were on the world cruise in 2012 also. Here are a few products of their work.
Last year the flower people held several tours around the ships, discussing each arrangement, how they did it and so forth – they were very well attended.
Cruise travel agent extraordinaire!
Sally and I have been on over thirty five cruises, every one of them, except for the first few which her father arranged have been arranged by the same agent, Bill Edwards, of Cruise Escapes in Dallas, and I have been meaning to give him a well deserved plug for all his work – I know he is paid for his services, but he goes so far beyond just booking the cruise, that he needs mention here. We have never sent someone to him, who wasn’t very pleased with his service and the prices he was able to obtain for them. In this day of on-line discounts and shopping for the lowest price, I am sure there are bargains to be had, but when it comes to cruises, you can’t beat direct contact with a knowledgeable agent who knows you and the ships and itineraries. You get a bargain at your own peril – just ask the folks on the ship whose cabins are right under the kitchen or next to the laundry. Bill has our unconditional recommendation when it comes to cruises – he is the best!
You can reach him at email@example.com or 1-800-288-1190 cruiseescapes.com
I am sure most are aware that almost always, whenever the ship is at sea, the stabilizers are out to smooth out the ride – but have you ever seen them? They are very hard to spot, much less get a picture of – the sea and sun need to be just right. On this ship, they are located right between the two large life boats (two of the life boats on each side are twin engine and double as tenders when we can’t dock). By shooting directly down the side of the ship and catching the wake just right, I was able to get this picture. If you look closely you can see the stabilizer extending out from the hull.
Last night we crossed the equator for the first time on this voyage. We will cross it again before returning to Los Angeles. As we crossed it, I shot this picture of the navigation screen in our room and I missed 0 degrees, 0 minutes, 0 seconds Latitude by just bit. It also shows our position on the map, just north of Papua New Guinea.
Time to go sit on the deck and read – tomorrow we hit Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.