I mentioned last week that Shirley and I are currently on the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas, around the South Pacific.
And we have been having a great time – but that doesn’t mean that everything is going exactly to plan …
Even as we sailed from Brisbane, we knew there was a fair chance that a cyclone could develop in our path – but as it turns out, two cyclones developed in the South Pacific – Tatiana, and Winston.
Within two days of embarking, we were being told that in an effort to avoid the cyclones, our itinerary was going to be radically reshaped.
The first change was to abandon our second port-of-call altogether .. so, no visit to Lifou – one of the highlights of the cruise for me.
But that was OK – because given the choice of no-snorkelling or no-cyclone, I’ll take no-cyclone every day!
Instead, the captain decided to bypass Lifou and spend an extra day at sea, sailing instead for Champagne Bay – which was supposed to be our final destination, in an effort to ‘get behind’ the twin cyclones.
Form a personal perspective, that was a bit of a bummer – I’ve mentioned before that I am an ‘enrichment speaker’ on board – so it means instead of the 4 lectures I’d prepared, I’m now up for 5 lectures as specified in my contract. But you get that!
Anyway, that left us with Mystery Island (Inyeug) as our final port of call.
We headed there on Monday – but again, it wasn’t without incident.
The name ‘Mystery Island’ was given to Inyeug by Sitmar Lines as a ‘romantic’ alternative – but part of the mystery, apparently, was whether conditions would allow passengers to be offloaded onto the island.
Well, today, that uncertainty again raised its head.
Shirley and I headed over around 9am – and our tender pilot had some trouble docking, because of a quite sharp current.
In the meantime, the dock itself was literally falling apart .. it was a jerry-built job after last year’s cyclone – and it required some quick percussive maintenance (read ‘thumping it with a hammer’) to keep it together.
Well, within an hour, the ship’s officers had decided that it was unsafe to tender passengers in, especially as the tide was turning – so if passengers weren’t off by 10, they simply never made it ashore.
An those of us on the island? Well, we just had to wait to return – until services resumed around 1pm.
It didn’t worry Shirley and me – we were happy swimming, or snorkelling, or wandering around the uninhabited island … but for those with children, or who had to take lunchtime medication back on the ship, it was more of an issue.
Eventually, tender service resumed and the first thing to come across to the island was a shipment of water – crates and crates of it, to try to slake the thirst of passengers – some of whom had been queuing for 90 minutes or more.
And to top it all off, we are now (on Monday evening) sailing into the remnants of Cyclone Tatiana … so the ship is a bit rougher than it has been.
And that’s meant cancellation of the Aerialist performance – because its simply unsafe for them.
Which is a bummer for the large crowd who turned out to see them .. but again, safety comes first.
Now, I’m not complaining – but I know some others are.
Which seems a bit churlish – because after all, in the words of the immortal Forrest Gump: Ship happens. Or something like that!