Cruising down the coast from Cairns, our ETA at this coastal and most picturesque town by the Whitsunday Islands was 11:00. It is another tender port, requiring a 25-minute tender ride to reach the shore.
At breakfast, we experienced really heavy rain and about 30 kt winds, which aren’t the safest condition to operate the tenders. Read on to find out if we made it ashore.
Waking bright and early, I was up on Deck 8 by 05:30, where we had fresh E’ly winds of 20 to 25 kts, but no rain. Walking down the stbd side was easy, but on the port side I was walking against a significant head wind. Just before 07:00, we were hit by what I initially thought was a squall, with winds freshening to 30 to 35 kts and heavy rain. Unfortunately, this was more than a squall.
After stretching, I headed down to the cabin, grabbing the dirty laundry and throwing a load in the washing machine. This works well, as few people are awake at this time and even less are out and about.
Our daughter and grandsons are currently in Regina, Saskatchewan, for our son-in-law’s graduation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police training depot. Yes, tomorrow he officially is sworn in as a “Mountie”. For Christmas, we purchased a mini replica red serge uniform for our grandson, to wear at the graduation. This morning our daughter sent pictures of the pre-graduation ceremony, where all the cadets report to the parade ground, by troop for inspection. The senior cadet of the graduating class performs the inspection, which is our son-in-law. As he was marching through the assembled cadets, he was accompanied by his son, also wearing the red serge uniform.
After checking out the photos, we just had to call and chat.
Barely made it to breakfast before the MDR closed, so I missed the 10:00 lecture. At breakfast, we were on the lee side, but at times I estimated the winds at 40 to 45 kts, so mentioned to Judi that tendering was in doubt. After breakfast, I headed down to the Living Room with Judi, where Von brought me a pot of tea.
A little before 11:00, we headed to the Theatre, meeting Bevan in the queue for the lifts, who mentioned he was off to the Bridge to see the Captain. I mentioned that the announcement that was impending, probably wasn’t going to be good news.
Tobias had just started with the Trivia, when we heard the dreaded “Bing Bong” and our Captain’s dulcet tones. He explained that the winds were currently 35+ kts, with some recent gusts being as high as 60 kts. The seas were about 4.5 feet, which is not overly safe conditions in which to operate tenders and it would have been a rather uncomfortable 25 min run ashore. Therefore, he was cancelling our anchoring at Airlie Beach and heading directly to Townsville, with a 21:00 ETA.
Once trivia started, we were on a roll this morning, scoring a very respectable 13/15, which was a winning score. Took a few days for our new team to warm up and gel, but finally back to our winning ways.
After lunch, we chilled in the cabin, while I got caught up with photos and the Cairns blog posts completed. At 16:00, I headed to the Theatre for a presentation from the Reef Pilot, who boarded in Cairns. When not required to assist the Bridge Team, he is available to make some presentations. Originally from India, he outlined his journey from first trip to sea, to his current position as a reef pilot. Showed lots of photos from aboard various ships and of the shore facilities at each pilot station. A most interesting presentation.
At 18:30, the Chef had steak dinners delivered to the cabin. These were Porterhouse, with good sized fillets along with the sirloin. For sides, they prepared grilled asparagus, roasties and mushrooms. They were well seasoned and cooked to perfection. Judi enjoyed a couple glasses of wine from our Hunter Valley tour, while I had an IPA from my private stash. Yet again, the crew on this great ship just blowing us away with exceptional customer service.
This evening’s performance was guest entertainer Cath Alcorn, an Australian vocalist, accompanied by the Viking band. She is an amazing vocalist, but between each song she chatted extensively. Personally, with that quality of vocalist, my preference is a little more singing and less chatting.