01 Mar 2019

Reunion Island, 2019

We are on the other side of the world today in Reunion. The clock reads the same time here as home in Las Vegas, only it is PM instead of AM. 
Reunion is an island that is an overseas department of France, off southeast Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is the outermost region of the European union and has a population of almost 900,000 people.
It has famous for one of the world's most active volcanoes as well as an inactive one.
The only way to catch the astonishing beauty is via air which is why we chose a helicopter tour today. It was breathtaking. 
When we visited here in 2010 we spent an enjoyable day at a typical French beach resort.
Some fun trivia from that blog:
Trivia 1 – As part of France and in the Indian Ocean, Reunion was the first region in the world to use the Euro as legal tender. 
Trivia 2 – An area of Reunion has the world record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period. (Cilaos - 73.62 inches between March 15 and 16, 1952).

20 Feb 2019

Fremantle/Perth, WA, Australia 2019

Segment two of our 2019 World Cruise ended today in Fremantle (the port for Perth)with about a third of the passengers leaving and a similar number joining. Hopefully some will want to play in the fun little Hold'em tournaments. This segment is three weeks ending in Cape Town for several days. We start with a one-week crossing of the Indian Ocean. To say we are far from home would be an understatement.

Perth has over 2MM people, and is the largest city and capital of Western Australia. It is the country's fourth largest city. Since Allyn and I had a business lunch in Fremantle, we spent our afternoon walking around their beautiful waterfront.
Although it was only 190 years ago, this is where Western Australia's first public building and prison were. Whereas Allyn spent 60 seconds in the stocks and pillories, the average time was six hours - and they were not sitting - and people were throwing poop at them. It must have been pretty revolkting in this hot climate. I'm sure the flies enjoyed it. Yuk.
Now there is lovely sightseeing and a nice beach.
For years they had a cannon blast at 1 o'clock to benefit the sailors in the harbor. That necessity was ended when radios an other technology entered the scene. Recently they decided to renew the tradition. It makes for good tourism.

18 Feb 2019

Albany, WA, Australia 2019

It was another day of beauty in Australia. This time we were in Albany, Western Australia.

Seldom have I been so impressed with big rocks as this week.
When Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914 both Australia and New Zealand immediately jumped in although they existed in almost absolute isolation at the time. Thousands served in Gallipoli which unfortunately, after eight months, was a major defeat for the Allies. Many did not return home. This is where many sailed from.
Even the wind farm was beautiful, and utilitarian as well. Thse two adjacent wind farms can generate 80% of the community's energy needs. Each blade is 35 meters. 

14 Feb 2019

Kangaroo Island, Australia 2019

Wow, until I signed up for this cruise I had never even heard of Kangaroo Island and it turns out it was one the great tour days. We enlisted our friends Stanley and Linda Blend, and Tommy and Heather Schweiger to join us for a private full day tour.

First we went Seal Bay Conservation Park and visited Sea Lions up close and personal. We all felt the trip was worth the price just from that one stop. But it kept getting better.
Next, also up close, we stopped to visit koala bears in their natural habitat. We saw so many. Amazing.
The mother is carrying the baby.
It is extremely seldom you see them moving, let alone on the ground.
The tour company provided an amazing lunch for us exclusively, out in the wild.
The highlight of the day was next at Admirals Arch. The New Zealand fur seals were only surpassed by the magnificence of the totality of the sea beauty.
We finished at Remarkable Rocks which are some huge weather-worn builders sitting on top of a giant granite dome.

11 Feb 2019

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 2019

But for Antartica, Australia is the southern most continent on earth. Tasmania, the world's 26th largest island, is Australia's southern most state, and Hobart, its capital, is the country's southernmost city.

Not counting the 35,000 years of indigenous inhabitants, Hobart was founded in 1804 as a British penal colony. That is what we visited last time here.

This time we took a day trip to Mount Field National Park for a beautiful semi-strenuous hike to see tall trees, and water falls. 
Russell Falls was beautiful and a perfect resting point.
Horseshoe Falls was the highest point on our hike.
The Tasmanian eucalyptus tree is the tallest flowering tree in the world, second only in height to the California redwood.
The world famous Tasmanian Devil is a marsupial about the size of a small dog that only is found natively in Tasmania. It is ugly, has some odd habits and is quite disgusting actually, However it is in jeopardy of extinction, so that would be sad. We viewed them previously in a zoo environment.
Apparently they export timber here.