Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia
Wow, September is now upon us and it is hard to believe that on my first blog posting I typed May, it seems like an eternity since we excitedly boarded this ship in Sydney, full of great expectations. Well our final port is well and truly behind us as we rock, roll and slam our way across the wild and more than slightly windy Tasman Sea, towards the magnificent natural harbour of Sydney. Today was actually a rather busy day with a multitude of interesting activities on the daily schedule.
Temperature: High 15C/59F, Low 10C/50F
Wind/Weather: NW’ly winds at 35 kts. Short/moderate NW’ly swell. Partly cloudy.
Clox: Z+12 (no change)
Throughout the early morning, Sea Princess maintained a NW’ly course parallel to the coastline of New Zealand’s north island, at a distance of at least 10 –12 miles. At about Noon, we altered to port around North Cape, setting a W’ly course across the Tasman Sea, at a speed of 17 knots, towards our final destination of Sydney.
Waking up this morning, the ship was working hard punching into the head sea, with considerable pounding. With the pitching, rolling and pounding I figured the outer decks would have been soaked, which I considered unsafe for walking. Therefore, I flashed up the laptop and got to work on yesterday’s blog post and then learning the new features of Windows 10. I subsequently met a couple of the regulars, who confirmed the decks were unsafe, so they walked a couple of laps inside.
Today’s schedule had a few things of interest, so I was actually rather busy. After breakfast, I headed down to Vista Lounge for the 2nd Culinary Demonstration, hosted by the shore based supervisory Master Chef, Commendatore Alfredo Marzi. He must be one of the longest serving Princess employees as he discussed the days when Princess Cruises was purchased by P&O. In the mid-1970’s he mentioned that the ships only had 2 nationalities – British and Italians, when actually back in those days I was but a young 3rd Officer, we did have a few more – the seamen were Indian/Pakistan, Officer’s stewards were Mexican and some shoppies were American. Whereas in current times, I believe he mentioned that Princess currently have 87 different nationalities represented as crew members, with the Philippines being # 1 (9,000 crew fleet wide). The first dish was a prawn and chicken stir fry, with rice noodles. Using oodles of garlic, the smells wafting up to the rear of the Vista Lounge certainly rang the pangs of hunger.
I left after the first dish and headed up to the Princess Theatre for the Cruise Director chatting with Captain Bill Kent. Shortly after I arrived, friends Bill and Jo came and sat next to me, so we chatted until the show started. This can only be described as a brilliant almost 90 minutes, as our Captain is definitely one of the best, being very relaxed and down to earth. He discussed his early career, progressing up to his many years in command. It is certainly very refreshing to find a Captain with a great sense of humour and that talks freely, as per his daily announcements. Turns out his first ship was exactly the same as mine, the P&O cadet training vessel Otaio. He joined her in October 1974, remaining aboard for 9 months, while I joined her in August 1975.
On completion, I returned to the cabin, before heading back to Princess Theatre at 12:15 for the science lecture, which is the first in David’s Science of the Kitchen series, with today’s topic being microwave ovens. He covered the power source, or magnetron, which is exactly the same device that generates the electronic waves for radar systems. We then learned how the electronic radiation from the microwave heats the food, or more specifically the water content in the food. Hence the reason you should always leave food to rest after heating in a microwave, to permit the non- water content of the food to be heated by conduction. A most enjoyable lecture.
With afternoon tea in the Vista Lounge, we skipped lunch, spending some time in the cabin with the door open enjoying the sounds of the ocean. At 15:30 we headed down to Vista Lounge for a few cups of tea served with warm scones. Of course, the scones were accompanied by strawberry jam and whipped cream. Yummy. After a pleasant hour listening to music we headed back to get changed, as Bob & Christine were hosting a pre-dinner social. Wow, Bob had a couple bottles of Guinness Porter he picked up in Dublin, which we enjoyed. A very pleasant evening, followed by dinner. The evening show tonight was the singers and dancers, so not really impressed with previous performances, we all headed back to our cabins for an early night.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.