Earth World Circumnavigation - Sector Three P & O Cruises

23rd February - 16th March 2013

Itinerary: Sydney - Brisbane - Cairns - Rabaul - Osaka - Nagasaki - Xingang - Shanghai - Hong Kong

Just click on the thumbnail to get the photo full size. Close window when finished, Home Page is still open.

February 23. At sea. The weather and sea conditions were bad today. The wind was force 10 gusting to force 12/13. The sea conditions were rough. I wasn't sea sick. The conditions meant that Aurora was travelling slower than anticipated.

February 24. Brisbane, Australia. We arrived late because of the sea conditions yesterday. The port is about 45 minutes from Brisbane but as it was a Sunday, the journey wasn't as bad as it might have been. I had booked a river cruise and city sights excursion. It was originally due to leave at 8.30, but had been rescheduled for 11.00. We boarded a paddle steamer, the 'Kookaburra Queen' and travelled both up and down stream. Brisbane is very much a high rise city. We were given scones, jam and cream at lunch time. After we disembarked there was a short tour of the city, before returning to the ship. We had no time on our own in the place. I wasn't even able to find wi-fi to send and receive emails or upload my blogs.

February 26. Yorkey's Knob, Australia. We arrived late and then had to wait for over an hour in the theatre to board our catamaran for a snorkelling trip. It took an hour and a quarter to reach the pontoon anchored on the Great Barrier Reef. I saw a lot of jellyfish and a tiger shark on the way. After lunch, I got into a stinger suit. I needed to wear them because at this time of the year small jellyfish, about the size of a small fingernail, are about. They sting and hurt like hell. I snorkelled for a while and after getting changed went on the glass-bottomed boat. There was also an underwater viewing are on the pontoon. After feeding the fish we returned home, tired but happy. One of the best days of the cruise, all the more so, as I nearly didn't book it, because Angie and I had done something similar when we came here. On the journey home, I happened to mention that I was thinking of a South American cruise in 2015. I was told in no uncertain terms, that I wasn't, I was going on the world cruise instead. Watch this space!

February 28. Sea Day. Today I went through quite a moving experience. Nicky, one of the P&O forum girls, had come on the cruise in memory of her husband Michael, a US marine who died in a car crash a few years back. They intended to travel the world. She was on the cruise with mum and 2 year old son, also Michael. She had wanted to scatter his ashes in Australia, but in the event, they were scattered en route to Papua New Guinea. It was a brief service and there were seven of us as well as the three family members, a piper, she had met on board, the Captain and two crew. We went down to the crew area on deck 4, for a brief service, before going back up to the Pennant Bar for a drink.

March 1. Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. PNG is a country I never thought I'd visit. We arrived before I woke up. Rabaul is built around a water filled caldera. There is an active volcano close to the entrance of the caldera. It last erupted in 1994, when only one person, a Chinaman, died. He refused to move. The ash covered part of the island to a depth of 10 - 12 metres. Underneath the ash is the old airport, an industrial estate, houses and shops. The six of us got off and went into the town, which is extremely small and scruffy. We negotiated a price for a tour with a local taxi driver. He drove us past the local courthouse, up a hill past some Japanese tunnels that were built during WW2, to a lookout above Rabaul. The whole of the caldera could be seen. An amazing sight. We were allowed to look in the local volcano observatory, where no one stopped us going in. Then we drove back down the hill, through the town to the other side and along the ash from the last eruption to get within a couple of kilometres of the volcano. Then it was back into to town for a quick look at the market and town. I spent the afternoon back on board. At about 15:30 the volcano belched out black rather than white smoke. Apparently, it was a small eruption.We should have left at 16:30, but a lady had been taken ill and had to be removed to the airport for a medical flight to Darwin. A couple of the medical staff had to go with her to the airport and consequently we didn't leave until gone 20:30.

March 07. Osaka, Japan. This was an early start. I had to present myself for immigration between 7am - 7.30 am. I joined the queue at 6.50am and it was already over half the length of the ship. It eventually stretched the whole length. My excursion was to the ancient Imperial capital of Kyoto, about 15 miles away. Osaka is pretty soulless. It was firebombed during the war and was rebuilt on a grid. There are highways on flyovers all over it. There appeared to be no discernable change between Osaka and Kyoto. The excursion visited three temples, two Buddhist and one Shinto. Our first visit was to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shinto Shrine. On the way, we passed a small roadside shrine. The major selling point of the Shinto shrine is the fact that there are over 1,000 gates that have been donated. The shrine is protected by spirit foxes. Our second visit was to the Ginkakuji Temple. This is set in gardens with lakes and areas of raked stones, including a pyramid. It is a serene place. This was the first place that I saw women in traditional costume. I saw many more later and I even saw one young man in his costume too. We went to lunch in a restaurant. We had to remove our shoes. It was a traditional Japanese lunch, which I enjoyed, despite not being a fan of fish, raw or otherwise, nor of sushi. If you wanted to visit the toilet, then toilet shoes were provided, similarly if you wanted to see the gardens. After lunch, we visited the final temple. This was the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. The Temple of Pure Waters. It has two claims to fame. The first being that no metal was used in the main building's construction. The second is that if you drink a glass of the water, you will live 10 years longer. All three temples were worth the visit and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. The ship was moored alongside a 100 metre ferris wheel. Which is lit in different colours depending on tomorrow's weather. It was lit up in red which meant sunny tomorrow. Finally we had a show in the theatre by the Shien Drumming Group, which was excellent. A really enjoyable day.

March 08. Sea Day. Our one Japanese sea day. Today was the final of the boat building contest. Since we left Australia people have had to make a boat. 5 teams took part. There were three tests. It had to float from one end to the other of the pool. This was repeated with passengers (6 cans of drink). It had to survive a tsunami (Carl jumping in the pool). A ship called Noah's Ark won.

March 09. Nagasaki, Japan. Another early start and another good day. My excursion started at 7.00. First we drove over the Megami Ohashi Bridge, past the Mitsubishi Shipyard and then over the Asahi Ohashi Bridge to our first stop at the Peace Park. There is a large statue of a man representing peace there. His right hand is pointing to the sky, where the bomb came from, his left is held out for peace over the world. There are also a pair of arches with a lot of paper cranes in each. Paper cranes are a peace symbol. Within the park there are 15 statues donated by countries and cities around the world. A prison used to stand where the park now is, all that is left are some walls. After the Peace Park, we visited the Atomic Bomb Museum. There are lots of things that were found after the bombing, a melted clock, 6 fused bottles, some rock with hand bones fused to it. There is also a replica of the atomic bomb known as 'Fatboy', it is really quite big. There are also lots of photographs and the like. We then went to the Hypocentre, which is where the bomb exploded 500 metres above. On the way there we passed a flame which is only lit on the 9th of each month, as the bomb was dropped on the 9th August 1945. Our final stop was at the Glover Gardens. This where a Scotsman called Thomas Glover used to live. He was involved in the origins of both Mitsubishi and Kirin Breweries. It is up a steep hill. At the top are his house, some gardens and also a statue of Puccini and Madame Butterfly. Madame Butterfly is set in Nagasaki and the Glover Gardens. After lunch on the ship, Barabara, Rob, Linda and I went back ashore, to stroll about the town. On the dockside at the sailaway was a group of young Japanese drummers. The oldest couldn't have been above 16. They were excellent. My guide on the excursion told us that the visit was big news in Nagasaki and that it would make the evening news. The weather was excellent and I had a great time. Nagasaki is so much nicer than Osaka. I really enjoyed my visit to Japan.

March 11. Xingang/Beijing, China. This tour started at 6:30. First of all we drove for an hour into Tianjin to the railway station. There we boarded the Fast Train, better known as the Bullet Train. This took 33 minutes and travelling at up to 295 kph we were in Beijing South a minute early. Then it was on to another bus for a drive through Beijing, past Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City, hence the name. This is a huge area, that used to be the home of the emperor and the common people were banned from it. It took us about an hour to walk through it. We never really had a chance to go into any of the buildings, except the Dragon Lady's House. Even there, we only were able to enter the courtyard. I think I'll have to go back and spend a lot longer there, sometime in the future. We then went to a restaurant for a Chinese meal before boarding the bus to go to one of the highlights of the cruise. We drove for about 20 minutes and the landscape changed from flat to very hilly. Finally we arrived at the Juyong Pass and saw the Great Wall of China for the first time. Amazing! It snaked up and over the hills on both sides. I walked up about 600 metres, but the wall went on for many more kilometres. The steps varied from between about 5 inches to the best part of two feet. We spent about an hour on the wall and then it was a three hour journey back to the ship. A long, tiring and very worthwhile day.

March 13. Shanghai, China. A late arrival because of the local authorities unwillingness to allow us to enter at the alloted time. This was the first port day we had with poor weather. The temperature never got above 10 degrees, but with the rain and north wind it felt a lot cooler. First visit was to the Jinmao Hyatt Building. There is an observation deck on the 88th floor. The views were obscured a bit, because of the weather, but stunning all the same. The Pearl TV Tower was very close to us. We then walked through Shanghai Old Town, which has been totally smartened up for the tourists and included such well known Chinese stores as Starbucks and Dairy Queen. There was a tea room there, where the Queen took tea on her visit to Shanghai. Then we crossed a zig-zag bridge (it keeps out devils as they can only walk in straight lines) to the Yu Yuan Gardens. These mainly consisted of lakes and buildings, although there were a lot of trees and a few flowers. The rest of Shanghai, however, had lots of flower beds and was very pretty in parts. Lunch was then taken in the Sky Ballroom of the Shanghai Grand Theatre, before we went to the Shanghai Museum. We were supposed to have 3 hours free time for the museum visit and shopping, but the bus passengers agreed to make it 2, because of the cold. I spent a fair amount of that time in Starbucks, attempting to upload blogs and send/receive emails. We left just as it was getting dark, so we did see a little of the spectacularly lit buildings, but it was still too light to really appreciate them. On arrival back at the ship, the captain announced that because of the sea conditions, the fuel bunker had been unable to moor by us and refuel the ship. This meant that we wouldn't depart until 4am and the after hour we would anchor and the bunkers would refuel us then. We couldn't stay at the cruise terminal as the Queen Victoria was due next day. We therefore wouldn't leave until around midday, but this shouldn't delay our arrival in Hong Kong.

March 16. Hong Kong. Arrived on time to a warmish but overcast Hong Kong. We were moored at the Ocean Terminal at Harbour City in Tsim Tsa Tsui, Kowloon. The Star Ferry terminal was next door. The six of us took the ferry to Hong Kong Island and then the bus to Stanley Market. The girls went shopping (and met John Major, whilst there) and the boys went to a bar and drank beer! After lunch on board Phill, Yvonne and I went up Nathan Road to Jordan and then to the Night Market. I then showered and went out for the night. It's only about 5 years since my last visit, but it has changed a lot. There are a lot of new buildings about.



[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
View from port
153 kb
Brisbane
171 kb
Paddle
217 kb
Big wheel
166 kb
Bridge
158 kb
Customs House
195 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Flowers
152 kb
Great Barrier Reef
184 kb
Tenders
175 kb
Sand
149 kb
Aurora
157 kb
Keo & Carl
160 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Yvonne & Me
160 kb
The girls
186 kb
Helicopter
173 kb
Fish
196 kb
Sea
159 kb
Rabaul
150 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Volcano
142 kb
Dancers
200 kb
Me
146 kb
Cave
226 kb
Caldera
179 kb
Observatory
182 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Mountain
195 kb
Ship
169 kb
Ash
198 kb
Volcano
148 kb
Guesthouse
193 kb
Market
212 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Rabaul
190 kb
Shrine
216 kb
Gate
151 kb
Fox
154 kb
Shrine
177 kb
Gates
176 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Prayers
236 kb
Stones
231 kb
Temple
235 kb
Temple
193 kb
Grounds
260 kb
Grounds
250 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Temple
204 kb
Roof
157 kb
Kyoto
2313 kb
Grounds
251 kb
Ladies
207 kb
Lunch
178 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Tree
271 kb
Restaurant
242 kb
Pagoda
180 kb
Idol
168 kb
Praying
185 kb
Spouts
254 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Temple
178 kb
Water
213 kb
Mosaic
202 kb
Ferris wheel
183 kb
Atrium
208 kb
Boat
197 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Tsunami
186 kb
Statue
141 kb
Arch
213 kb
Cranes
225 kb
Walls
221 kb
Statue
276 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Clock
148 kb
Bomb
154 kb
Flame
221 kb
Hypocentre
227 kb
Tulips
254 kb
Bridge
166 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Clock
157 kb
Station
162 kb
Tianjin
147 kb
Station
177 kb
Me
171 kb
Our speed
139 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Train
167 kb
Building
182 kb
Tiananmen Square
151 kb
Forbidden City
167 kb
Forbidden City
161 kb
Forbidden City
171 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Building
186 kb
Detail
191 kb
Building
180 kb
Detail
173 kb
Building
152 kb
Statues
161 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Me
185 kb
Building
194 kb
Building
160 kb
Great Wall
150 kb
Buildings
178 kb
Great Wall
157 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Barbara and Me
165 kb
Aerials
152 kb
Great Wall
199 kb
Great Wall
196 kb
Notices
203 kb
Us
170 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Jinmao Building
145 kb
TV Tower
168 kb
Shanghai
186 kb
Decoration
199 kb
Old Shanghai
217 kb
Building
139 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Atrium
221 kb
Old Shanghai
177 kb
Old Shanghai
190 kb
Tea House
173 kb
Bridge
198 kb
Pond
227 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Pavilion
183 kb
Dragon
192 kb
Tree
243 kb
Lake
190 kb
Building
153 kb
Hong Kong
152 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Ships
156 kb
Hong Kong
166 kb
Statue
219 kb
Market
200 kb
Buildings
226 kb
Sea food
225 kb


[Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge] [Click to enlarge]
Rabaul
1 minute 49 seconds
Forbidden City
1 minute 36 seconds
Great Wall of China
30 seconds


Click here to return to top

Animated flag images by 3DFlags.com

Page created 5th May 2013