Monthly Archives: November 2022
We are now heading back to Brisbane, having weighed anchor and set off a little after midday out into Port Phillip Bay. It takes a couple of hours to slowly navigate around the Bay and out into Bass Strait, past the lighthouse on Point Lonsdale. Despite it being uphill it is only two and half day’s cruising back to Brisbane, the same as when we came down. Of course, allowing for the hour of day light saving we pick up going home. The weather also improved going north and the seas calmed down.
It is also pretty much the same on board too. Food, entertainment (including trivia) and sleep. The health and wellbeing seminars also get a re run. It is quite relaxing sitting back with not much to do, makes you tired though, and an afternoon laydown is useful.
Allthego mentioned at the start of the cruise that it was a party boat, or ‘ship’ as is preferred. It did not fail to live up to the anticipation, everyone though was largely well mannered and considerate. The music was mostly loud and seeped out into the corridors. Some of it was very pleasant though and had toes tapping along with the tunes. The nightly production shows in the theatre were also good. Allthego and Homealone gave the sit-down comedy ones a miss though, non-stop dirty jokes and comedians who laugh at themselves are not our favourites.
Friday night was a real humdinger show though! It was a forty-minute medley of all our favourite songs from the 60s and 70s, few of which we recognised! A full-scale assault on the senses. The backing group was louder than the singers, who then proceeded to shout and screech in order to be heard above the band. A kaleidoscope of coloured lights flashing in the background accompanied all this mayhem. There must have been at least ten dancers gyrating around the stage among the two or three singers, getting our full attention. Homealone thought Allthego somewhat severe in these comments, failing to recognise the great choreography, the energy and enthusiasm of the singers and dance troupe. This reality check didn’t help the throbbing head and flickering eyes. Now, Allthego remembers back in the late 60s and 70s his appreciation of all this action and visual. He seems to have mellowed in recent years and now likes crooners and lounge music. Enough said.
There was also a lecture on the demise of the Titanic, coming at the tragedy from a different angle by looking closely at the people involved. The owners, crew and passengers. The guy who did it was one of Pacific Encounter’s officers. A Canadian who lives in Halifax, where many of the dead are buried. He is an expert in the subject. Plenty of film clips, old photos and tales of the time. It was entertaining too, like the film!
Couldn’t get away from the horses though, Q & A sessions with a jockey, trainer and broadcaster. Allthego listened in on the chat with Greg Miles, he called the Melbourne Cup 36 times before he retired a few years ago. Quite a raconteur, entertaining chat about all the ups and downs of race calling!
Like most of the cruises we have been on we found the food really good, particularly in the specialist venues Albertos (Italian of course!) and Dragon Lady (Asian fusion). No complaints at all. It appears Allthego’s tee shirts are a little tighter than when we set off a week ago!
Before disembarking the ship this morning at 7am Allthego couldn’t resist a plate of bacon and eggs, a piece of tomato and sausage thrown in as extras. Won’t see this again for some time I suspect. Very tasty start to the day!
We are now home and looking forward to some quiet time in the run up to Christmas. What will 2023 bring? Hopefully, peace in Europe and elsewhere and more stability in the world for all. Of course, Homealone is pressing and wants to be out and about somewhere soon and Allthego is having a look at those maps!
The night before the Big Race is full of anticipation for those aboard Pacific Encounter. There is much excitement and chatter. Things are compounded a bit because it is Halloween and many are going along with the theme. Although many aren’t, wet blankets if you like!
Allthego and Homealone survive the frivolities and head to be bed for a relatively early night. We have an early start in the morning as our shuttle leaves for the track around 8 am. But first we need to have some breaky and apply the attire for the day.
The early morning weather is quite good as we head off in the buses. It is about a 30 minute trip to Flemington. During the night our ship has moved to a new birth out in the industrial area and we come back into town across the Westgate Bridge, quite a view to the cityscape.
The race track sits beside the Maribyrnong River, a small tributary of the Yarra. It is very full and seems to have flooded, very wet everywhere.
We arrive without hassle but frustratingly have to wait an hour before we can get into the P&O enclosure. But we are near the head of the queue and when the gates open we get a good seat under the umbrellas. This is a good move because the skies are becoming threatening and the forecast rain and storms are not far away. The first couple of races get away ok before the rain starts.
One of the first things to do at the races it seems is to check out the horses. We were fortunate to see some of the riders taking their mounts out in the mounting yard and get for a spin around the yard, showing off their skills. These are some of the outsiders.
The P& O enclosure is not bad but it is a bit overcrowded, just like everywhere of course. People milling around eating and drinking, trying to be seen etc. Quite a crowd despite the weather. Under the umbrella we at least stay reasonably dry, helped by ponchos. Others not so lucky and cop a drenching particularly trackside and in the open stands.
Have had a picture opportunity with the Cup, up close and personal like. Joined in it by Phillip, one of our table companions. Lives at Toowoomba.
The weather stabilises for awhile around lunchtime, but the rain returns and then clears for the Big Race. Homealone and Allthego have had some small wagers, just to be part of it all. No winnings.
After the race better judgement prevails and we head off track, before the storms return, to catch the coach back to the ship.
This morning, the Courier Mail celebrates the win by the Brisbane owners of the winning horse Gold Trip!
The ship sets sail for Brisbane around midday. It might be confusing but it is actually Wednesday now!
We have arrived in Melbourne in time to go ashore and into town for the Cup Parade.
It was a bit of a trial, an endless queue for the shuttle buses from the wharf into the city. Allthego thought the go was to walk to the dock front and catch a tram instead. This was a bit of a walk and there was an endless queue to buy a Myke tag, load it with some cash and head off. Four or five trams came by as we waited and progressed in the queue. It was clear that some people can work these ticket machines and some can’t, we where blessed with the later. It took ages, eventually one of the tram drivers just said get on the tram, so we did. It took 20 minutes or so to get to Federation Square where the Cup Parade finished.
We got a good spot right behind the barriers and could see all the race connections walking up the pink carpet. We also had to listen to a loud mob of protesters ranting about whips and horse deaths over a megaphone, free speech! The parade band soon drowned them out.
All in all it was a memorable event. Lots of people out and about. We got a Myke tag and headed back to the boat. Had a chicken Subway as we walked to the tram stop, tasted a bit like a Brisbane chicken Subway.