At Anchor Off Busselton – 07:00 to 18:00
Busselton, for Margaret River, is our first tender port of call on this Grand Adventure. Since the anchorage is open to both northerly and westerly winds, it was good to note the wind last evening backing towards the south. Sitting here in the anchorage a few miles off-shore, we have a light chop of about 1 to 2’ created by the off-shore easterly winds. Big improvement over the previous 3 days and nothing the ship’s tenders can’t handle.
Temperature: High 17C/63F, Low 7C/45F
Wind/Weather: E’ly winds of about 10 kts. Partly cloudy
Clox: Z+8 (no change)
Distance: Melbourne to Margaret River: 1,604 miles
In the early hours of the morning, Sea Princess maintained a northerly heading after rounding Augusta, heading towards Geographe Bay. On entering the bay, Sea Princess altered to a SE’ly heading for the approach to the anchorage about 3 to 4 miles off-shore. On completion of tendering operations, Sea Princess departed the bay and set generally northerly courses towards our next port of call, Fremantle.
Sunrise over Busselton, Western Australia
The Busselton pier, which is more than 1 mile in length
The small town of Margaret River is located in the SW of Australia, about 170 miles South of Perth. Named after the local river and valley, it first appeared on local maps in the late 1830’s. European settlers started appearing in the 1850’s, with logging of the bountiful forests starting 20 years later. In the 1920’s the Western Australia Government introduced the Group Settlement Scheme, by creating farms to entice settlers. The town grew slowly, with the railway arriving in the mid 1920’s.
One of the local beaches
Climate is humid and consistent with the Mediterranean, which results in an excellent region for growing grapes. The region has over 20 square miles of vines and about 140 wineries, most of which are boutique-size wine producers. Although this region only produces 3% of Australian wines, it accounts for over 20% of premium wines. In addition to wineries, Margaret River has numerous caves and excellent surfing along the West Coast, although shark attacks are a detriment to enjoying water sports.
While we planned on attending a ship’s tour this morning that comprised a drive around the bay, visit to a lighthouse and wine tasting, we elected to forego the tour and remain aboard for a quiet and lazy day. With only four tenders and a considerable distance to shore, at the end of the tours, I anticipated huge queues on shore awaiting return to the ship. With her wonky back this would have caused Judi significant discomfort for a number of days. Therefore, best to forgo 1 day to enjoy the next few days.
With the change of plans the following daily activities are planned:
- AM – few laps of deck 7 followed by relaxing reading
- 11:30 – Brunchtime trivia
- 12:30 – Lunch
- 18:30 – Showtime with juggler Justin McGinley
- 19:45 – Dinner
- 21:45 – Showtime with Mark Anthony
After a quick breakfast in the buffet, we headed down for a few laps around deck 7, spending some time watching the tendering operation. It is actually rather pleasant watching the operation when knowing that I have no involvement. With only 4 tenders, fairly slow loading and a good distance to shore it looks like being a slow process. Fortunately, I believe we only have 2 tender ports and the next one is Easter Island, which the ships normally have to cancel due to weather.
Our lazy day continued in the Vista Lounge, where other than various crew members we were the only people in the lounge. Very quiet and peaceful and I note that they seemed to have cured to temperature problem, as since Sydney this lounge has been an ice box. Passengers wrapped in blankets or winter woollies isn’t an uncommon sight these past few days.
Yesterday they speculated the tender rush would be over by 09:30, but after that we heard a few announcements providing updates and requests for understanding. They explained it takes 25 minutes to reach shore, so each tender round trip takes an hour. Therefore, with 4 tenders operating that equates to about 300 pax to shore each hour. The announcement of general tender boarding, which means the rush is over, did not come until Noon, so it took almost 5 hours to get everybody ashore. Ouch!!! It will also take that long to bring everybody back aboard. Late morning the wind picked up to about 20 – 25 kts, with a consequential increase in wave height. Back aft in the Vista Lounge we heard the stern thrusters operating, most likely to create a lee from the waves for the tenders on the Stbd side.
Tender on final approach to the Sea Princess
Attaching the headline, which they use to bring the tender alongside
Tender alongside and discharging.
The pre-dinner entertainment this evening was billed as Spotlight Showtime, starring juggler Justin McGinley. After a painfully slow beginning with way too much chatter, Justin finally provided a short demonstration of his juggling abilities, using 3 clubs resembling bowling pins. For most of the remainder of his show he dabbled in the sleight of hand, as a magician. At the finale, he rode a mono-cycle and provided another short demonstration of juggling. Not one of the better shows we have seen on this or any other ship.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember much about dinner, since yesterday was a busy port day, and I am 2 days behind. The memory isn’t as good as it once was. However, after dinner we headed to Princess Theatre for the Elvis impersonator, Mark Anthony. He is definitely a reasonable impersonator, with an excellent voice, but possibly a tad over the hill with the gyrations. In addition to Elvis, he also sang numbers from Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel. All in all we enjoyed a good show.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.