I am writing this second blog from the Seven Seas Voyager, on a sea day heading from Bali to Borneo. So much has happened I hardly know where to start! But I will do so with the destinations…. Thursday Island, Darwin and Bali.
First Thursday Island – to be honest there isn’t much to say about it except blink and you’d miss it. A walk about town was quicker than the tender ride over, which took about 20 minutes to the strong current, and although the best thing to was either swim or hike, both of which weren’t possible. Swimming was risky due to a recent croc sighting, and with the temperature hovering around 33C and very high humidity, hiking the hill behind town was reserved for the hard core only.
Speaking of crocs, that was undoubtedly a highlight of our day-long tour in Darwin. We’d booked an excursion to the Adelaide River and a jumping crocs cruise – you go out in a small cruiser, a member of crew dangles raw meat into the river and the crocs appear and wow us all by jumping right out of the water for it! I have some great footage which I will add to this blog at a later date – it would take about 3 hours to upload using this satellite internet! The only downer on the day was the rain.
Typically it started as we were disembarking to go to the tour buses, and brought new meaning to the phrase “raining cats and dogs”. It was torrential, and umbrellas were useless due to the wind. But I might have started a new trend. Regarding myself as somewhat intrepid, I wrapped myself in Regent beach towels – big, nice and fluffy – and walked off ship looking like a mummy much to the amusement of fellow cruisers and Ted the driver of our bus!
On to Bali, our third visit here and still hawker central as soon as you arrive at the pier. This cruise we opted to take an unusual tour, a village cycling tour, which was great fun if a bit more strenuous than the brochure described. Headed up by a lovely Balinese guide called Tomato (yes for real), about 18 of us donned helmets, picked a mountain bike and we headed off out of Padang Bai into the countryside. We saw temples, school kids, paddy fields, a few landmarks, a typical village and finished up at a traditional Balinese home. There were a few mishaps including a cut leg and one guy completely coming off his bike, but there were no serious injuries and a great time was had by all.
Back to the ship and it continues to be hard to fault it, especially where service is concerned. We’ve dined at the steak restaurant, Prime 7, which reminded me of the fabulous Lawry’s in the US. They even had the totally evil but extremely yummy creamed spinach! And courtesy of our delightful Indian butler, Bejoy, we have also been treated to a private Indian banquet in our suite…..chicken tikka, lamb curry, veggie curry an home made nan bread and pappadums included.
The service is at such a high level on this ship I am hard pressed to say I’ve seen better. Everyone greets you with a smile, the bartenders get to know your favourite tipples quickly – yes mine’s a cosmo – and pretty much anything you want within reason is attempted. And yesterday, we asked for a wine bucket and ice to finally open the champagne which has been sitting in our fridge since day one, Bejoy not only brought it up immediately but it came with a plate of caviar treats….now that’s class!
The epitome, however, was perhaps last night. A fabulous deck BBQ and party was planned for our departure from Bali, but Mother Nature was set to spoil the show with impressive rainstorms and lightening like I haven’t seen in years.
The party went ahead regardless – tables were moved under cover, the Veranda Cafe was opened up for comfortable seating, the band played on…..and a team of crew armed with giant umbrellas escorted you from buffet to your table. As for the seafood….I think I have become addicted to crab claws and legs, though…..Happy Cruising!
Want to see some jumping crocs in the flesh? Then check out this video….. Jumping Crocs