Friday, February 13, 2015

We Have Arrived At Island Time

Map picture

We Have Arrived At Island Time

Ile des Pines, New Caledonia

The incessant rolling of the ship has finally, and thankfully, stopped at least for now. Lisa and I both were just about out of good humor, and I personally felt as if I had been a tennis ball being tossed about the ship.

Overnight we crossed the Tropic Of Capricorn and officially entered the sub-tropics. Today the outside temperature is much warmer than we have experienced along with being quite humid. With the sun shining brightly, sunburn is only a few minutes away. It is not yet at the “extremely” uncomfortable phase, but they tell us that it is only a matter of day as we approach the equator.

Also, during our transit north, we have now moved from the South Pacific Ocean into the Coral Sea, and also entered the huge lagoon which surrounds the Islands of New Caledonia. It is this lagoon which is providing us shelter for now. One last change has also occurred: we have entered the zone for “island time.” Gone is the efficiency with which you associate Australia or New Zealand, only to be replaced by “island time.” Things here may happen when they happen, equipment may not be as advertised, and a guide “fluent” in English, may only marginally know a few words; all in all “island time!” Our schedule calls for us to visit only two islands in New Caledonia, the Ile des Pines, and Lifou. Today, Feb. 13th in our part of the World, or the 12th where you live, we have visited the Ile des Pines. New Caledonia is currently part of France, but is on a path towards independence. Because of the presence of nickel in large quantities, the Islands, in fact, have a chance at an economic independence and a referendum will be held by 2018.

The Ile des Pines is quite beautiful, and is home to around 2,500 people, mostly natives. We drove most of the way around the island, and except for the natural beauty there was not much to see. The roads were OK, the people extremely friendly, and overall the place seemed clean and safe. I was really surprised to learn that the island has high speed internet throughout, so the world does indeed grow more connected every day. What has captivated most of our passengers is the first opportunity to go snorkeling. While Lisa and I both intend to participate in snorkeling on this trip, truth be known, we did not sleep well the last several nights, and so after our tour of the island, we came back to the ship for a quick lunch and a badly needed nap. Tomorrow we will visit the Island of Lifou, and I will give a quick summary of that experience. Since every day from now until the end of this cruise, we will be making a new stop, my opportunities to write will shrink and thus, I am going to combine several stops into each blog. I hope I can make it clear enough and that you continue to enjoy.


Feb 13, 2015

Lifou, New Caledonia

You simply will not believe what I am about to tell you – I freak’in suffered a fall during the night, and now find myself grounded for a few days!!!!!!!!!! So here is what happened; around 2am I got up with some mild reflux from our overly rich dinner. At that time, the ship had gone outside the lagoon on its way to the Loyalty Islands, namely headed to the island of Lifou, and we were back to rolling around once again. I turned on the lights in order to see if I could find a pill for my problem, and being cautions decided to sit on the little stool in front of the vanity mirror. Only one small problem; just as I sat down, the ship took a sudden roll backward, and I promptly slid right off the stool and fell onto the floor, landing mainly on my right hip. Bam – pain! It was all we could do to get me back into bed, and even then, I was so uncomfortable that I could not sleep the rest of the night. All night long I tried to convince myself that I would be fine in the morning, but when morning arrived it was so painful just to sit up in bed, that I quickly realized that I was not going anywhere today except to the infirmary.

At this point, I was both angry at myself, and also feeling sorry for myself. I had visions of being sent off the ship once again, and get this – the doctor on the ship is the same one who had me off loaded from the NW Passage cruise. After breakfast, it was a painful journey just to get to the infirmary – but to my surprise, the Doctor tells me that I have just sprained my back and that in a few days, I should once again be up and around. I am now full of medicine and icing the spot, and frankly, while it is still really painful, I am at least up and sitting.

So sadly, all that I can tell you about the Island of Lifou is what I gleaned from our briefing last night, and of course, there will be no pictures. The island is home to over 27,000 people whose primary occupation is the growing and production of vanilla products for export. That’s it folks!

To everyone, I am sorry for the gap in our travels, but this is a good time for a few reminders. First, the pictures from our trip to date are all up and posted at the following link: The album for which you are looking is SS 2015.02 Coral Sea. The photographs have been geotagged so that you should be able to see where they were taken. Second, please remember that all of these e-mails are posted to our web page at With each posting, I try to put a map showing the area about which I am writing, and also to insert some pictures. All of my blogs going back several years are also available there.

So for now, I’ll “sign off” so to speak, and hope to be back soon.


February 14, 2015

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