Goodbye Bali, for the time being … I’ll be back for sure.
The first day out from Bali Roland predicted we were going to get some big seas owing to a low-pressure area moving into the south of Western Australia. We watched some amazing sunsets. I think this cloud looks like an astronaut – or the Michelin Man.
According to the Captain’s Log (which I have to use to refresh my memory … lucky I got a print out before we left the ship), the first day out from Bali the seas were ‘Slight’ but already passengers were starting to feel the rock and roll of the swell. The Sun Princess “… followed a South-south-westerly course back across the Indian Ocean towards the Australian mainland”. One morning we saw flying fish for the first time.
Australian Customs/Border Patrol Officers, who had boarded the ship at Benoa, now took the passengers through passport control. The Princess line must have the best organisational skills I’ve ever come across. Almost 2,000 passengers were processed with minimum upheaval. The ocean, however, was beginning some upheaval itself.
The next day, nets were put over the swimming pools and spas. As the ship rolled on the ocean, so the water in the pools made waves and slopped out – sometimes making a loud crashing noise. That night we hit some really big swells and all the emergency lights in the corridors came on. Sick bags were placed strategically all around the ship (and were all used up by the next morning). Sun Princess has big stabilisers which were put into action.
Our next port of call was meant to be Geraldton – ‘Gero’ to West Aussies – and I think the Customs officers were meant to have disembarked there. In the event, the ship didn’t dock there. The Captain explained that because the wharf at Gero was not configured for passenger liners, we would have to use the tenders to go ashore. He said that, while we would probably get ashore fairly easily, getting back to the ship would be problematic. I overheard one passenger having a whinge about this …
I took this photo from the balcony of our stateroom on Deck 11. You can get some idea of the size of the swell and how the seas were churning. For myself, I loved the rolling feeling. At night when I went to bed it was like sleeping in the branches of tree swaying in the wind. I slept like a baby (a good, sleepy baby)! I definitely had my sea-legs.
In the evening of the second last day, we rounded West Point which is the western most point of mainland Australia.
The ship sailed into Fremantle in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I woke up and went out on the balcony as we moved past the Maritime Museum and the warehouses to our berth. I saw all the new cars on the dock, the car-carrier trucks moving in at 3.30am to load them up taking them to wherever it is they take new cars too. There were also huge trucks destined for the mines. I felt so happy to be home and anticipating seeing Kath and the girls again.
We disembarked earlier than expected. Strange coming home not in an aeroplane – no jet-lag this time; however, it took some days before my legs sorted out that the ground was not moving … I think I was rolling around like a drunken sailor.
Dean and Lily came and picked us up at the wharf. Lily was a little bit shy at first but soon relaxed and started chatting away in her usual fashion. Feeling a bit sentimental so I’ll can it for now.
So that was the end of the big retirement holiday! I’m still working through it all in my mind – the experiences, the people – everything. What goes through my head is a silly little ditty my grandmother used to say, “East, west, home’s best”.