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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Our seventh stop was supposed to be Rarotonga.......

                                                                              Christmas Island

We were supposed to go to Avatiu, Rarotonga, but there was a medical evacuation, so we had to go to Christmas Island.  We waited there all day for a plane to come from Honolulu, and therefore lost the port of Avatiu.

We could not go ashore at Christmas Island. This made for long sea days - we were on the ship for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

Because we were not going to Avatiu, I would have liked to have gone ashore at Christmas Island.
However, I think if you are going for 34 days, and you are travelling with an older group, then you had better be prepared to miss at least one port.

Christmas Island was discovered by Captain James Cook, in the ships Resolution and Discovery on December 24, 1777.   It is on record that  they stayed until the following 2nd of January, to refresh the men; obtain coconuts, fish and turtles; and observe an eclipse of the sun.  Cook said, "As we kept our Christmas here, I called this discovery Christmas Island."

Photos belong to Phil Bianco and Google.

Jaro's bike ride to Le Volcan.......

A return to Le Volcan yesterday, only this time a bit more adventurous - I decided to try the last
5.5 km. of dirt road, inside the caldera, to the last of the three main lookout points.

Hated the dirt road, but the views were interesting.

Apparently the last eruption was in 2010, so the lava beds look fairly fresh....

Never get tired of bike rides above the clouds - heavenly......

Comments by Wikipedia:   This is a major tourist attraction on Réunion Island .  A high quality forestry road, followed by a good track, connects the highway of the plains in Bourg-Murat to the Bellecombe Pass, where a parking lot and a snack bar are available to visitors.  

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Jaro's bike ride to St-Pierre.....

A little bit of beach, a little downtown St-Pierre, and a little souvenir shopping... 
That is just the harbour area - beaches elsewhere.

A bit too warm here for me - about a kilometre up, the temps are just perfect...

The historical downtown part is, regrettably, very small - basically just the buildings around this square.

This one is a zoom from a bridge.....

Probably the best bike shop on the island.  Quite well stocked with hi-tech bikes of all kinds.

They are pretty much out of the nice yellow ones - the blue one is the new stock.  It's XXL but fits me really well.  The one on the left is not really a cycling jersey - no rear pockets and no zipper in front.
The one on the right though is a nice windbreaker - full length zip and three pockets.
Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Our sixth stop was Fanning Island.....

There is no electricity or indoor plumbing on Fanning Island - so you are only going to be here for 3 or 4 hours, because after that, you need a bathroom.  One of the nicest houses here....
The water was very clear, but the ship told us not to go swimming because there are no bathrooms
so everything washes into the ocean.

The truck costs $10, and takes you around the town - very bumpy ride.  Fortunately, you only go about 5 miles.  The economy is seaweed and coconuts.

I heard that they had two computers, wifi, and I did see some solar panels. Another cruiser told me that he entered their password, and was sending out e-mails.

All the houses looked like this - and this is a store....

When we got back to the tender, they had lemonade and iced water, but no bathrooms.  You would think that they would have a porta-potty here because there was a market, and you want to keep the cruisers here as long as you can.

Well water... picture taken from truck so a little blurry. 
When I was getting back on the ship, a woman got on the elevator and her leg was bruised and bloody.  She said that she had been invited into a house and when she went to leave, there was no steps, and the man put out a plastic pail, which she fell through.

Interesting to see for about 3 hours, but nothing spectacular. 
Photos belong to Norm Burgoyne and Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Jaro biked to Les Forets (cont'd)....

Continuation of ride to Les Forets de Bebour & Belouve, with a grand view of Hell Bourg at the end of the road.
With a preview look in the direction of Foret Bebour.  

Approaching the mid-point of Reunion island along route N3, near Bourg Murat, elevation 1600m, looking north towards Piton des Neiges.

Looking down towards the Plaine-des-Palmistes, after cresting the midpoint of Reunion island and heading down the east side of route N3 in the direction of St. Benoit.


Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Our fifth stop was Hilo, Hawaii.....

On Friday, we docked at the town of Hilo, from the big island of Hawaii.  When you left the ship, there was a bus to take us downtown.  But the bus had already gone, and there were lots of people waiting.  I jumped in with another couple, and took a cab back and forth - $5 each way.

I walked up to McDonalds to use the computer.  Then I walked down to their farmers market.  Due to the over 125 inches of rainfall annually, lots of flowers, and you could take a bouquet back to the ship.


I bought some lemon butter - $6 for a small jar.  At home, I put it in pastry shells - very good.

Then went shopping, bought some postcards, and went to the Post Office.  I had lunch at McDonalds, walked back downtown, and then caught a cab with another couple back to the ship.
The town had lots of old buildings.

If I come again to Hilo, I might check out the bus schedule, and take a bus trip around the island.

 Photos belong to Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cyclone Dumile on January 3rd at Reunion Island....

A nice parting shot of Dumile, with Réunion Island near top centre of image, and Mauritius a little to the right of that.

We had an island-wide Alerte Rouge - nobody allowed outside homes or emergency shelters except emergency personnel and cops.

I did see a few houses damaged by fallen trees.  Consider though that unlike the US Eastern Seaboard, which is evacuated when a hurricane is approaching, on an island like Réunion, there is no place to evacuate to - people have to ride out the cyclone no matter how powerful it might turn out to be.

No problem with the house, which is actually almost new.  No windows rattling.

The big problem was really the long interruption in water supply, caused by a landslide that knocked out the main supply pipe to the whole town.  It took several days to fix that, and even today we lost it again.   And even when it does resume, they say its not potable unless you boil it for at least 3 minutes. But at least we can flush the toilets without bringing in water in bottles.

First bike ride since Dumile today !  Great to be out on the road again - and to be able to take a shower upon arrival.....

Photos belong to Jaro Franta and the local newspaper.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Our fourth stop was at Honolulu for two days.....

When I first got on the ship, I went to the Greenhouse Spa because my roots needed to be dyed. The spa quoted me about $80 to dye my roots plus the costs of the hairdo, so about $115 without the tip.   I thought this was lots, and we were going to Honolulu, so I decided to get my roots dyed in Chinatown.   However, I think that many women, especially older ones, have their hair washed and set at the Spa.

I got off the ship, crossed the lights, and walked north about 4 blocks in a shaded walkway. You come out besides Macy's and Ross store, and Chinatown is right there. I picked a hairdressing shop, had my roots dyed and my hair done for $45, which included two $5 tips.

I went to Macy's for lunch. Then shopping at Ross and Victoria Boutique.

I then took the bus out to Waikiki and walked around.   Then I took the bus back to the ship.

The next morning, I was eating breakfast with a couple from Saskatoon. They wanted to buy a camera case and I suggested that they go to Chinatown. I was walking there anyway, so I walked with them, and ended up spending the day with them. We did a little shopping, had a drink at McDonalds, and sat on a bench in the walkway before going back to the ship.

Two very relaxing days in Honolulu.

sewer sign
Photos belong to Phil Bianco and Dorothy Lloyd.