At Sea then visiting Burnie and surrounding areas

Trip Start Oct 24, 2011
Trip End Nov 07, 2011

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Where I stayed
m/s Volendam
What I did
Pioneer Village Museum
Wings Wildlife Park
Gunns Plains Cave

Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Friday, November 4, 2011

Notes from Alice's Diary

Wednesday 2.11.11 On Board MS Volendam – At Sea

Weather; Partly cloudy skies, westerly winds 9 Deg C

The seas are rough and the weather is cold as we sail along.  Quite a few people sick on board but we are amusing ourselves with reading, going for walk along the deck just to let the cobwebs blow out.  It can get a bit stuffy inside so good to get out side for some fresh air.

As we came out to go for a walk along the deck we were stopped by the crew.  All they said there is an emergency so of course being the sticky beaks we are we stopped to have a look.  Very quickly and efficiently a lifeboat was made ready and crew dressing in waterproof gear etc.  We then in the distance saw what was thought a sailboat turned upside down.  After a while it was realized that the upside down boat in fact was a dead white whale drifting on top of the water.  Although that was sad to see such a majestic creature gone it was a relief not to have people in trouble.   

Tonight we dressed up for our formal dinner that was very nice and after seeing we had the glad rags on went to Casino for the first time and played the pokies.  At 10.30pm I had enough and by this time the ship was well and truly rocking.  We have been warned of 4 – 5 meters waves and to be careful walking around.  I think bed is the safest place.  The wristbands are working very well and have not been sick again.

Thursday 3.11.11 – On Board MS Volendam – At Sea

Weather; Cloudy Skies with Rain, South Westerly Winds 13 Deg C

What a night.  At one stage I thought lying down in bed I was standing on my head.  We were woken by an enormous bang at 6am and we told later on that a huge wave had hit the ship side on and moved it off its course.  The waves were up to 8 – 9 meters high during the night with gale force winds of 40 knots.  I am very glad we were in bed.  Things have settled down a lot but still very rocky.  The captain did tell us that we are sailing more North than usual, as he didn't want to take us through 12 metre high waves and also to protect his ship.

Mac and Kevin went to a virtual bridge discussion with first officer who told them about how the ship runs.  Its power plant are 5 x V12 Diesel/ Electric Engines each 11,582 HP (8.640 KW) providing a total power of 43.2 MW for people who might understand that.

Friday 4.11.11 – Burnie Tasmania

Weather; Clear Skies North Easterly Winds  15 Deg C

Woke at 6am, looked out of the window and oh my goodness was I glad to see land.  We were just coming into Burnie.  Bright blue sky and the forecast 19 degrees C.  We really needed after being at se for 3 days in rather wild weather.  Needed to get up and get organized and have breakfast because by 7.45am we had to be in the lounge to go through customs and immigration.  Once that was all over we left the ship to go and have a walk through Burnie. 

The Mayor was there dressed in his royal robes and we were all shaken by the hand to welcome us to Burnie.  I didn’t think that any of the kids would believe this so I had my photo taken with him.  We then all got a badge and shuttle busses were waiting to take us into Burnie.  I was quite surprised at the size of the city, I always thought that Burnie was quite small but in fact is a very busy port and has a population of 20,000.

We were dropped of at the first point, as we were very happy to walk the boardwalk into the city centre.  Just walking on solid ground and breathing fresh air was great.

Bought my Take Five and That’s Life magazines and once again were really made to feel welcome.  Had a look at the shops and then went to a café for a cup of coffee.  While we were drinking our coffee a lady came up to us and welcomed us to Burnie and hoped that we would really enjoy our stay.  I have a funny feeling this is not going to happy in Melbourne.

From there we walked to the Museum, we watched this lady making lace by hand.  That is something you would need a lot of patience for so I have decided that I’m not even going to try and do something like that.  Other ladies were sitting there weaving and then I spotted a hand knitted cable jumper.  I put it back but Mac picked it up again and bought it for me.  We went through the little museum which also had about 8 shops done up from the time of the 1900.  The Blacksmith, Dentist, General store of course a pub etc.  A lot of photo’s and stories about the 2nd world war. 

After that it was time to get back on the shuttle bus and back to the ship for lunch as we were going on a tour at 12.50pm

Getting back to the ship Mac had a look at our tickets and much to our horror the trip was at 11.50am.  Never eaten so fast but got down to the coach in plenty of time, well with a few minutes to spare.

I know we saw beautiful countryside in New Zealand but as we drove through Burnie and up into the ranges south of Burnie the countryside was fantastic.  Everything is so green and lush.  We got to a wild life sanctuary, which is privately owned.  We actually saw 2 baby Tasmanian Devils, which have been hand, fed to try and keep them tame.  We were allowed to pat them.  A lot of the animals there have been hurt in the wild and have been brought there to be looked after.  It was a great place.  The Americans went quite crazy over the kangaroos and koalas.

From there we went to the Gunns Plains Cave.  The guide met us, a very happy fellow, has been there for years together with his wife who as a girl of 13 helped to build the stairs inside the cave by carrying sand and concrete into the cave.  They obviously love their job. 

Once again it is so hard to put into words what we saw.  Going down into the cave along very narrow stair and sometime having to bend low or else you would loose your head.  Sometimes when people say our earth has been here for million of years it is hard to believe but today we saw evidence that this is true.  A lot of the stalactites are so big and yet they grow only a centimeter in a year.  We saw what was called the wedding cake.  I hope the photos will tell a better story.  In the Cathedral we had to sing so somebody starting singing "Old Macdonald had a Farm" The guide thought that was hilarious but after 2 lines told him he didn’t need to continue in other words shut up.  The last part was where the glowworms were.  Here we weren’t allowed to take any photos.  All the light were turned of and we had a show of all these little lights all over the ceiling.

Back to the bus and then went for a great drive through the ranges and along the coast.  We drove through Ulverston and Penguin on our way back to the Ship.

Got back once again just before the ship was ready to leave and the pipers were on the wharf playing as the Volendam left heading out to sea, Bass Strait on our way to Melbourne.

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