The haves and the have nots. . .

We sailed from Thailand for Vietnam’s southern main port of Ho Cha Minh (used to be called Saigon), and once again we couldn’t get too close to Ho Cha Minh city because of our size. We berthed at Phu My, which is a 90 minute drive from Ho Cha Minh city via the fleet of buses waiting for us.

This time I took more care of dashing from the cabin to the balcony and the sudden change of humidity. Phu My is a ‘working’ port and it brought back memories of my time at sea in the ’60s.

DSC05349r

Just before sunrise as we approached our berth.

DSC05351r

The start of a new day.

DSC05353r

DSC05355r.jpg

The ‘giraffes’ have woken up, and are watching us arrive.

DSC05358r

The port is waking.

DSC05359r

A local barge waiting to go alongside.

DSC05361r

As we swing around in the middle of the river to face seaward for our departure I notice that the opposite bank is undeveloped. Using the ship’s thrusters we are able to turn on a sixpence (five cents for the younger readers) without the help of tugs that stood by just in case.

DSC05369rWhile we turned in the river I watched a ship coming down stream and getting closer and closer (I took a set off pictures just in case), as she rounded the bend in the river she gave a long blast on her whistle and altered course to starboard to pass down our starboard side as we had completed our turn. The one long blast is the international signal that a ship is altering course to starboard so that everyone in the area is aware of that vessel’s movements.

Because my wife and I had been to Ho Cha Minh during a previous holiday we did not return to that city on this trip. The local council offered a free shuttle service from the ship to the local town.

After we left Phu My on our way to Singapore I noticed the high number of local fishing boats, which brought the title of this blog home to me.

DSC05331r

DSC05332rcThe sea was calm, the Diamond Princess had 2900 privileged passengers who dressed for dinner, while those fishermen that we past hung their washing on a long rod attached to the stern of their homes.

I wondered what they would do if the weather changed for the worse – I doubt that we would feel the change. Our twenty seven foot stabilisers would help keep our 115,000 gt vessel steady, so as not to upset the fortunate passengers.

The following day we arrived in Singapore, just before dawn.

DSC05400r

 

A foggy day in Thailand

Arriving at Laem Chabang, which is the port for Bangkok, around 6.00 am, I rushed out with my trusty point and click camera.

DSC05294r

As I clicked the shutter my glasses fogged, as did the camera lens – I hadn’t allowed for the huge change in humidity from our air conditioned cabin to Thailand’s humidity even at 6.00 am.

DSC05295r

Taken a few minutes later as we edged towards our berth.

DSC05297r

When I first saw the buses as we approached our berth I thought they were new and waiting for export, until it dawned on me that all 64 were for the Diamond Princess to take passengers on various excursions – plus a shuttle service (USD $8 / person / way) to Pattaya which was about a 40 minute drive. Bangkok city was close to two hours due to traffic.

Because of the size of the Diamond Princess we could only get as far as Laem Chabang, which is the closest port to Bangkok city.

Maureen & I took advantage of the shuttle because we’d visited Bangkok a number of times, but we hadn’t been to Pattaya, which is the ‘seaside’ town for the citizens of Bangkok on long weekends.

DSC05300r

Traffic as we entered Pattaya.

DSC05304r

Overhead electrical cables for the locals in Thailand.

DSC05302r

The beach looked OK, but all along the beach front one had to contend with hawkers & stalls.
I am glad that we visited Pattaya, because I’d heard so much about the place, but I doubt that I’d return. Perhaps it is all due to age . . . .

Pollywog to Shellback

How to turn a pollywog in to a shellback.

On the 5th April we crossed the Equator on the way to Bangkok.
Many passengers had not crossed the ‘line’ before, so according to tradition they are Pollwogs. A ceremony was required to satisfy King Neptune and turn them in to Shellbacks. Fortunately I had crossed the line while at sea and Maureen has a certificate stating that she crossed the line when flying in a B 707 in the 1960’s, so we were Shelbacks and in the audience.

DSC05248r

Neptune and his wife’s throne.

DSC05252r

Jelly, cream, spaghetti and other slippery food waiting for the Pollywogs.

DSC05253rNot all of us have a point and click camera.

DSC05258r

Neptune and his wife arrives.

DSC05259r

DSC05262r
Courtier opens the ceremony.

DSC05264r

Each Pollywog kisses a fish in respect of the sea. (I am not sure what kind of fish was used, but it was a large one).

DSC05265r Various coloured food was thrown at the Pollywogs.

DSC05267r

The heat on deck grew too much for these two Shellbacks, so we went for lunch in the air conditioned restaurant..

I doubt that we can do the four minute mile

Two and a half times around the deck equals one mile (1.66 km)

DSC05235r

Yesterday we thought we’d do the mile before breakfast, only to find that the deck we wished to use was ‘closed’ due to the crew washing down and they didn’t want anyone to slip and hurt themselves.
We climbed to various other decks, but they did not give you a smooth area where one could walk, but we still had our exercise.

DSC05246r

At least we get plenty of exercise to/from our cabin.

DSC05278r

We have just stepped out of the lift and our stateroom is at the far end of this corridor.
We deliberately use the lifts furthest from our stateroom to force us to exercise.

Sunrises at sea

Sun01r

Sun coming up behind us as we cross the Great Australia Bight.

Sun02

Sun03

Above sunrise as we approach Fremantle.

DSC05214r

Sun04r

Above a day out of Fremantle in the Indian Ocean heading for Bali.
As the sun came up it seemed to produce an outline image of Australia.

sun05

Another sunrise as we approached Bali – as the sun came up it reminded me of a lighthouse as the sunbeams flashed across the water.
I only wish I was a better photographer because the sun scenes and the movement of the ocean is fascinating.

After dinner shows

The trip across the Great Australian Bight was uneventful even though this Bight has a reputation for bad weather. It was cool. but not cold and people till managed to swim in the ship’s pools.

11

A quiet peaceful day followed by a very nice dinner and we were just in time for the evening show.

15.jpg

12.jpg

Oops forgot to zoom

13

14

The whole theater production has been very professional from the lighting, choreography, through to the trap doors & sliding parts of the floor to enhance a scene in a show.
We have watched three musical – all different – plus a show by a female comedian from Yorkshire, Jo Little (very funny), another show with a female flutist and the other evening a male comedian who did some very clever conjuring ticks.

Yesterday evening a Kiwi singer, Chris Powley, with with a great voice and the ability to sound like Elvis, Roy Orbison, Tom Jones etc as well as his own voice when he sang opera.

16

Overll I couldn’t fault any of the productions, they have all been first class.

Easter and leaving Adelaide.

Easter Sunday in Adelaide –

It is a pity that the meaning of Easter has failed to break through the chocolate ceiling –

07

08

09

Sailing from Adelaide -next stop Fremantle 06

05

A gentle breeze as we leave Adelaide to define the flags.

10

National flag of Australia flown as a respectful courtesy, Princess Cruise company flag and the Red Duster of Great Britain, because the Diamond Princess is registered in London.