It’s been a week of high drama on the high seas for a variety of reasons! First I had to see the doctor on board Seven Seas Voyager; only the second time I have seen a ship’s doctor in more than 20 years of cruising, but my second visit in six months! It’s a long a and boring story surrounding a stitch which was left in my back from minor procedure five months ago….all is good now but with a bill of almost US $800 it reinforces the need for good travel insurance!
I left off last weeks blog ahead of a stop in Bali, where we spent a full day at anchor in Padang Bai, and we embarked on an unusual cycling tour of the area. It was fascinating riding through the countryside, up hill down dale and through the winding village streets meeting the locals. To say it was a contrast to our life back on board would be a major understatement! That night we also had our deck party in a massive thunderstorm…soggy but great food and the crew went to huge lengths to make it fun.
The real dramas unfolded after we sailed late due to the late arrival of some new guests….what it resulted in unfortunately was that Sandakan had to dropped from the schedule, as we couldn’t get there before the low tide in order to safely navigate a major sandbar to get into the port. For the second time for us, no visit to Sepilok to see the orang-utans.
Our loss was the crew’s gain, though. Extra time was scheduled in Manila and with the majority of crew hailing from the Philippines it meant more time for many of them to snatch precious time with family and friends. There we took a tour to an old plantation about 100 kms away…Villa Escudera…..complete with a police escort!
We were told it was to get us back to the ship on time -we were due to sail at 6pm – but in reality it was probably a reaction to the terror attack on a taiwanese tour bus last year. All the same the two cops on motorcycles did a sterling job, waving traffic off both sides of the road so we could hurtle through the countryside at time ploughing down the middle or opposite side of the highway!
On our return to the ship the dramas continued…..first the appalling scenes after the massive earthquake from japan, then the captain announcing that we and Manila were on a tsunami warning, and later that our refueling barge hadn’t shown up that morning and we would be late leaving port again…1am became 5am.
As the tragic events unfolded north of us in japan, the mood on board was sombre, but the predicted 30 cm tsunami we were told to expect either didn’t materialize or Voyager didn’t feel it. Which is more than you say for others in the region.
After leaving Manila we enjoyed our lat hot day at sea – as we venture further north the temperature is dropping – then we we spent most of the next day at sea also cruising up the coast of Taiwan to our next port of call….Keelung. From here we take a day-long tour to the capital of Taipei, so stay tuned next week for my fourth and final blog covering this, Seoul and finally China. Happy cruising!