Whitsunday Islands

P1010573

Anchored in Fitzalan anchorage, Whitsunday Islands

Time has flown by. Today is our last day in the Great barrier Reef that fringes the Queensland coast of Australia.

Since I last wrote we have visited Darwin in the far north, wound our way over Cape Yorke, the northern most tip of Australia, come south into the port of Cairns for an overnight stop, further south into Townsville and today we are in the Whitsunday Islands.

P1010559

Our electronic ECDIS chart showing part of our track through the Great Barrier Reef. We are the black circle with arrow.

Our reef pilot is Captain Alistair Heron. He is a veteran of these waters with years and years of experience.

The Whitsunday islands are a little slice of paradise. The water isturquoise blue, the sands are bleached white and all around us are outlying islands keeping the waters calm. The tide sluices among them rippling the waters gently. It is an idyllic setting.

We started our Australian adventure in Darwin. That was very hot and sticky. Our pilot was an ex pat Scotsman by the name of Captain Alistair Logan. A very convivial fellow. Heassisted us to enter the port and dock the ship. Once alongside we loaded fresh produce, local fruits and sent our guests ashore to visit the local area. I on the other hand hid in the air conditioned interior of the ship.

P1010568

Darwin Pilot Alistair Logan and yours truly.

On the way to Cairns we wereunfortunate enough to be the sole ship in the area upon which a passing squall line dumped its contents of rain in a windy and unpleasant fashion. Looking out of the bridge window you would be forgiven for thinking we were on the North Atlantic in the autumn. The thunder cracked overhead. The lighting flickered and the ship had a thorough wash down. Theguests took shelter from the rain that sluiced and gurgled its way to the sea via our scupper pipes. It lasted for about 2 hours. It left the sky very dark and heavy well into the evening.

P1010564

Not always sunny in Australia!

Next day we docked in Cairns and the weather was fantastic.Clearly the squall has swept away all the remaining rain in front of it leaving us with blue skies and warmth. Leo went ashore for the day and came back drained by the humidity. I do like Cairns. The overnight stay gave them a chance to get ashore for some supplies, a stretch of their legs and a bit of R&R.

P1010571

A beautiful day in Cairns Harbour.

Next port was Townsville. The run south took us past fringing reefs lying just below the surface. Even though they were underwater they could clearly be seen as areas of bright light blue patches in an azure coloured sea. The Reef pilot guided us through the navigable channels and handed us over to the port of Townsville pilot.

We docked in the port which is a busy cargo port but the town itself is lovely and only a short hop away from our berth.

Today is our last day among the Reef as this evening we will weigh anchor and head south for 2 days toSydney.

P1010574

Not a bad view from an office window would you say?

Finally, on the theme of introducing you to crew members here is another one for you. The words are from Jack, the ships Personnel and Training Manager:


Anita van Staden

Anita is 24 and comes from Namibia. She says most people are unfamiliar with her country and often has to explain where it is.

It is her first time at sea and acknowledged that she felt overwhelmed by the mass of information that needs to be absorbed as soon as you board. Anita initially anticipated to learn about Housekeeping service standards and procedures. She quickly realised how tightly regulated the ship environment is and the importance to learn about Health/Environment and Safety rules too. She greatly appreciated the College program as it helped her a lot to adapt to her new home and understand the Seabourn Standards of service.

Anita, like most of our crew members, had heard of Seabourn through a friend who used to work on board and highly recommended to apply.

She is still learning every day and enjoys how special life at sea is. She is amazed to be able to see the world in such a beautiful environment and being paid for it!

Mark Dexter 2015