Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our 115 day World Cruise, day 50, Albany Australia

Today is another one of those uneventful days.  It was so crowded in Starbucks that we were forced to go next door to the Bagel Shop.  I like the tables and chairs there better than at Starbucks.  After coffee we went to QT and then to the bank and on home.

Vicki is not feeling well so she is taking a nap and I am going to work on the quilt.  We are not going to go to San Diego so I will not be dropping off the quilt at my sisters.  I will finish it up tho next week and then drop it in the mail by the 4th.

Vicki and I are going to have an adventure this week.  On Wednesday we are going to go down to Chandler and play in the area for the day.  We will stay over night and will be trying out a Sleep number bed at the Raddison  Hotel.  This will be fun and give us a good idea about these mattresses.  It does not take much to entertain us!  lol!

It is cold here today that it made me think of Alaska.  There is quite a wind and it feels icy.
These pictures were taken when we went to Alaska on a cruise.  It was September, the last cruise of the season and it was not really cold.  The day we went to the yukon they were out of everything at the general store as they were closing for the winter as soon as we left town.
I thought that there was snow in the disappointing
               I can't believe that we are sitting here and you are planning our next cruise!                                                              

                             Yes!  This is what I would like to be doing....sailing off into the sunset!                          

Where we did not go today ....but the Amsterdam did!

Albany, Australia,  Postcards from Paradise!

 Albany, Western Australia February 24, 2013 Sunday

Albany, founded in 1827, was a military outpost and the oldest permanent settlement in Western Australia. It was important for being the only deep water port for the Eastern Goldfields and the whaling industry. In fact, much of the tourism revolves around the story of this now long gone way of life for many settlers. Before the 1950's, the Whale Station was one of the major employers for the local population. Today, this station, called Whale World, offers tours of its museum and a real authentic whaling ship, the Cheynes. Other industries include fishing, agriculture, and sand used for cement. And to add to that, Albany and the outlying areas are really scenic and not too crowded with about 22,000 residents.

We visited here in 2005, taking the tour to the whaling center. Today we chose to spend our time in town, leaving the ship around 10am. It sure was overcast, although not really cold. The daily newsletter stated the temperature was going to be 66 degrees and partly cloudy. However, Captain Mercer had mentioned rain in the forecast, and we tended to believe him more than what was printed.

So we packed the umbrellas and found we needed them as soon as we left the ship. The local port authority had kindly provided free buses for us today. They ran from 8:30am to 4pm, and took passengers up the main drag, York Street, a 10 minute ride. While we waited for the next available shuttle, some friends came by and said to be sure to check out the Sunday craft fair nearby the drop-off point.

We did find it easily, because that was where most folks happened to be. A local band was playing Aussie tunes, despite the increasing flow of rain. Vendors were quickly pulling their crafts under cover so the water wouldn't ruin everything. One of the artists had some very interesting jewelry, priced very nicely, that was made from a resin used in space shuttles. A few years ago, we purchased a large butterfly pendant in Freemantle made of this resin. Brilliant colors of blues, greens, and turquoise are polished on the front surface of this unusual substance. Since the rain was getting heavy, and the grass was getting mushy, we decided to come back here after shopping at the local supermarket. The plan did not work, because we found out later that the folks pull up their stands by 1pm on Sunday. When we came back in the afternoon, they were all gone. Oh well, we are certain to find these items in Freemantle.

At the top of the hill, we found Coles and Kmart. Several other mall-type stores were in this minimall, but most were closed. Coles provided all the items we were shopping for, especially the soda we prefer, something the ship does not carry. And for a change, it was on sale. Twenty-four cans for $13. That was a good deal for this part of the world, and way better that the ship's prices on the other popular brand. With four bags full of groceries, we hiked down to the waiting shuttle. No sense getting wetter than we had to.

Unloading our stuff in our room, we dried off and went right back to the shuttle. We thought we would be able to find a suitable place for lunch, but the biggest places seemed to be McDonalds, KFC, Subway, which really smelled good, and many take-away bakery style eateries. We wandered through Kmart, which had everything you might be looking for and more. We scored with buying more yarn for days at sea projects for one of us, you know, something to keep busy while watching movies for instance.

By now, it was after 2pm, and most eateries had closed for the day. A few pubs were open, but all they had to offer were not what we were looking for. Strolling down both sides of the street, we took photos of the old buildings and churches along the way. Before we knew it, we were down to the bottom and across the railroad tracks. All aboard time was 4:30pm, so we had plenty of time walk back to the ship via the harborfront road. A small boat harbor housed some whale watching boats, although this is not the time of year to see them. We were told that when the whales come here to breed, the bay is teeming with them. Must be quite a sight. Anyway, the rain had stopped by now, and the walk did not take as long as we thought. Felt good to be strolling on firm ground after the night of rocking and rolling.

Our sandwich maker in the Lido made us excellent ciabatta bread sandwiches with crispy dill pickles and fresh potato chips. They were not exactly the pizza we had hoped to find, but hey, the price was right, and we didn't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time. We chatted with friends Pauline, Mike, and Kween Karen, sharing stories about our visit on Kangaroo Island. They had pre-booked an independant tour there, which took them to every attraction to be seen on the small island. It's obvious that they spend lots of time researching these tours well before the trip, and so far, they have had good luck. Sometimes it pays to be a bit more adventurous.

Bill had a 4:30pm appointment to get a haircut at the spa, and really got a nice one. He was back in time to still make it to the sailaway and get some excellent photos, since we did not get up early to watch the sail in. Actually, the sun had come out later in the afternoon, and the blue skies made the photos that much better.

During dinner, we all noticed that the seas had become really rough. Captain Mercer had mentioned that until we sailed around the southwest tip of the country and started heading north, we could expect some more rocking and rolling. This is just the way it was while sailing on the Prinsendam back in 2005, the last time we were here. Only it was much worse.

At dessert time this evening, The Captain hosted a special table for a passenger lady that turned 99 years old today. Bruce announced her celebration over the loud speaker and had everyone sing her Happy Birthday. After that, a raspberry filled five layer cake was served to everyone in the dining room. That's how big her cake was. We all agreed that it was amazing that she was still cruising at 99. Good for her. Hope we can all be that lucky.

Mary Ann & Bill

PHOTOS from Jeff's World oAdventures

Today was pretty exciting for me since it was a rare visit to a port for the first time.  Despite being a fairly small town Albany has a certain charm about it.  I really loved all the old buildings in town.  We ran into Brad & Gloria in town and we decided to join a local tour to see the Albany Gap &  Natural Bridge, some amazing geological rock formations.  There were other stops along the way but the rains came and pretty much put a damper on the last half of the tour.  It still was a delightful day.  The people here were very nice which made for a nice visit…..

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