Disneyland California

18th November 2022

We spent the last couple of days of our trip visiting Disneyland. Most of you know me by now and that I’m just a big kid. and here I was in my element!

The newest “land” in the park was Star Wars……. Kevin and Val are big fans so that is where we headed first!

Wow…… a couple of REALLY great rides here to start our day!

And just around the corner was something a little more traditional!

Kevin met someone who he felt had the same physique as him……He wished he had put on his tights that matched his T-shirt, then you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference!

Jane and Val were less than amused with all the posing for photos!

Meanwhile I was hanging on for grim death on one of the more scary rides!

Ahhhh a Disney queue…..this must be something really special………..

It was…….It’s A Small World………..highly recommended……..unless you are over 5 years old!

It was great to be amongst all this fun and to see everyone having a really lovely time!

And plenty of time for the obligatory picture of the girls with a bear behind!

And at the end of each day there were plenty of fireworks and light shows to leave you wanting to come back again another day!

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Helicopter Airlift at Sea!

15/112022

The captain made an announcement over the tannoy to say that one of the crew had had an accident and was going to be airlifted off the ship……

As we were so far off shore they were going to have to send two helicopters and two planes so that the helicopters could be refuelled along the way and to ensure there were no other problems………….

This caused a lot of photographic interest amongst the passengers …….. me included!

With a zoom lens I managed to get some interesting shots…..

One helicopter winched up the patient whilst the other watched over the scene ready for action incase of problems……

The bigger planes circled at a distance awaiting the 5 hour return journey, ready to refuel the helicopters!

The captain updated us the next day to say that the member of crew had reached hospital safely and was doing well!

Last evening at sea watching the sun go down and having one final cocktail!

Sunrise in San Diego. Time to disembark the ship and head to Disneyland for the last couple of days of the holiday!

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Nuku Hiva

9/11/2022

At last the sun!!!!!!

It was great to see the sunshine again, this is how I thought the South Pacific would be!

We were serenaded when the tender docked………..its a shame I haven’t got it recorded………..it was something that would be hard to describe ……..let’s say it wasn’t one of my favourite tunes!

Everything looks so much better when the sun is shining, and these flowers looked stunning!

Jane was amazed that there were so many statues that bore a striking resemblance to me……….I can’t see it myself!

oh……maybe in profile!

We took a stroll along the sea front; there were very few cars……more horses than horsepower!

Our walk was very peaceful and warm, such a change from the previous couple of ports of call!

We paid a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Taiohae, it was about a mile from the tender port so not too many of the older passengers managed the walk in the heat!

We came across some interesting artefacts along the way, some old and some not so!

A panoramic view of the bay at Taiohae.

Maybe next time I’ll take one of these canoes out for a spin!

It makes a change to be sheltering from the sun and not the rain!

If you want Jane to take a picture of you….you really have to stick to your guns!!!!

Well I’ve had my picture taken in some interesting places…….but this has to be amongst the strangest!

The rain kept off for the sail away party……we had never seen so many people at one of the ship’s do’s…I think it might have been the free drinks!!!

Woe betide anyone that tried to get one of Kev’s selection of drinks!

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Fakarava

7th November 2022

Fakarava is a 37 mile long atol which is so narrow in parts that you can easily see from one side to the other!

This is the main road that travels along the spine of the island. You can see the dark sky in the distance about to bring us the heavy storms. This place looked like it could be paradise……..if the sun was shining!

The day we visited, the weather was not great for sight seeing as there were occasional very heavy showers, and when I say heavy showers I mean that the raindrops actually hurt when they hit you! The best place to be was in the sea snorkelling!

Or sitting on a swing in the sea!

So you either wore beachware or a poncho (or both)!

Or a snorkel of course!

As I said before, the best place to be was under the water were it was so peaceful and tranquil and you were unaware of all the heavy rain falling above you!

This photo gives you an idea of how heavy the rain could be when you got a sudden heavy squall. The visibility was also greatly reduced when this occurred, so much so that the tenders back to the ship were cancelled on numerous occasions!

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Papeete, Tahiti

5th November 2022

This movie clip sums up our stay in Tahiti!!!!

I thought I would start this edition of the blog with a little video clip taken on our tour of Tahiti, safe to say this was not the weather we were expecting when we booked this cruise all those years ago!

Still we did have a nice time and some lovely wet memories!

We were greeted by the Tahitian youth orchestra (!!) when disembarking the ship……… some lively music to start the day!

The driest place in town was the indoor market so that was our first stop……….

Jane treated herself to a poncho…………..

So I got my jacket back!

What a lovely couple…….

If we had thought about it, bin bag chic would have been a good look and a lot cheaper!

Jane had said she wanted to have some chicken for lunch but couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for!

When we finally did get some food Jane ever so slightly over indulged!

I was slightly dubious about going in to this show but I did manage to get what I wanted……..a packet of crisps to take back onboard (along with all the other contraband I was trying to smuggle back on the ship stuffed up the front of my gilet)!

Funnily enough the driest part of the day was when we visited the water gardens………

I certainly would have loved to see this island in the sunshine as I don’t think we will ever venture this far again…..but who knows?

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Bahia d’Opunoha, Moorea

3rd November 2022

The sun was just rising as we dropped anchor in the bay. Light cloud cover with a smattering of blue, it looked like we were in for a nice day!

The views from the front of the ship were stunning, we were very much looking forward to exploring the island of Moorea. We had dropped anchor in the middle of the bay so we had to tender ashore………

and when we arrived we were greeted by a lovely young girl giving away flowers

Jane thought that they wouldn’t suit me so she had mine to stick behind her ear!

Here on the left we have a couple of poseurs taking the mickey out of a young girl who was having her photo taken before us like she was on a glamour shoot for a magazine! On the right is George Clooney….heavily disguised !

This is our guide who took us around the island. He was hilarious and not at all politically correct ……..best tour of our trip!

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Raiatea Uturoa

3rd November 2022

This picture says all you need to know about our visit to Ultroa. We were lulled into a false sense of comfort when we got off the ship and it wasn’t raining, so we decided, as the sun was shining, that we would take a boat trip. We were to stop at a pearl farm, then take a trip up a jungle river, finishing off with a snorkel by a small atoll.

This is the view of the harbour from our ship, and you can see the style of boat in which we were to take our trip. You can also see in the background that the French supermarket giant Champion has got a store here…….very handy when you run out of tonic water!

These guys were playing their hearts and souls out as we passed them en-route to our boat trip!

And then no sooner than we got on the boat……..the heavens opened……….

In addition to the rain, the boat was going so fast that the waves were crashing over the bow and we were getting soaked!! It was just as well that I had remembered to pack my waterproof jacket so that Jane didn’t get wet! (I still got soaked, right down to my underwear!!!!! – J)

Other passengers had taken the precaution of bringing along a poncho…….we will now never leave home without one!

When we got to the river we slowed down to navigate safely, but by now we were thoroughly soaked through so even though the waves were no longer crashing into the boat we couldn’t get any wetter!

The coconut vendors looked a bit cheesed off with the weather as well, still the coconut was very welcome!

The last stop of the day, the snorkelling, was the warmest I felt all day as the sea was lovely……….this was certainly a day to remember…..for all the wrong reasons!

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Bora Bora

Swimming With Sharks!

2nd November 2022

Our trip today on Bora Bora was titled “A Land & Sea Combo” so I knew we were going to do a bit of snorkelling and that we would be having a meal on a beach followed by a 4×4 tour of the island……..what I didn’t realise was that I would end up swimming with sharks…………..

The weather wasn’t looking promising again today. This wasn’t what we signed up for, another day of dodging rain showers!

It seemed very strange to be in the middle of the Pacific and to come across a mini France, there was even a queue outside the local supermarket early in the morning as people picked up their baguettes!

I can’t understand why Jane asked me to take these pictures, It looks like the chap in the middle has forgotten to put his pants on!

So far so good. Jane was keeping a look out for sharks and whales, and keeping her eye on the weather as she didn’t want to go snorkelling if it was raining!

Well, what an experience! I have to say I was slightly nervous to start with but after we were told several times that these sharks were harmless and after I had waited until everyone else had gotten in, and that that they hadn’t been eaten, and then I joined them. Unfortunately it started raining so Jane didn’t come in, she stayed onboard to ensure the boat was ok!

I used my iPhone with the underwater case to take this short movie clip!

Jane did a good job of making sure that we didn’t lose anyone, and all too soon we were on our way to another diving site!

We got to see a lot more varied and colourful fish and a tour guide blowing bubbles!

There was a bit of excitement when a rare white whale was spotted……and then they realised it was me!

Time for lunch……..and the rain had stopped………what a lovely place for a meal!

Time for Jane to slip in to some dry clothes……..they didn’t stay that way for long!

The smart Canadians had brought ponchos with them……..(something which has now been added to our packing list!)

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AITUTAKI, COOK ISLANDS

31st October 2022

It was touch and go as to whether we were going to be able to get off the ship at Aitutaki, as the weather had been terrible and we we going to have to tender ashore as this island doesn’t have a pier big enough for cruise liners to berth alongside.

We were lucky with the weather and were able to land. A short stroll took us to the Pacific resort where we based ourselves for the day.

Jane wanted to get to grips with snorkelling and this was an ideal place, shallow water, coral and no strong currents to contend with……..

Before coming on this holiday I bought a case for my iPhone so that I could take some underwater photos……….these are my first attempts…….

After an hours swimming it was time for a walk along the beach back to the hotel for some lunch…..

After a low-calorie burger we headed out for a bit more underwater exploring!

I thought for one moment I had bumped into Jacques Cousteau but on further investigation it was only Kev with his new hat on!

Time to go back to the ship, it looks quite close………..maybe we could swim?

Jane and Val thought that would be a stupid idea so we started walking back to the tender port…….Kev had wandered off as usual, we don’t worry anymore as he normally finds his way back…….I heard a car horn honking behind me……….Kev had cadged a lift from someone in the shop were he had been buying beer…….so we arrived back in style!

I took this photo of where we had spent our day from the back at the ship……..not long afterwards the heavy rain started again……how lucky were we!

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NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA

27th/28th October 2022

One of the first things you see from the ship on arrival in Tonga is the Royal Palace. This wooden structure was built in 1867 and with its white walls and red roof is quite a striking sight!

Welcome to Tonga…….. that was one thing that was guaranteed. I think the Tongans must be the friendliest people on earth (well certainly amongst those that I have met). People would stop you in the street and say “hi, welcome to our country”, cars would slow down and the passengers would give you a wave. We had received lovely greetings on some of the other islands but this was on a whole other level!

Whilst we were having a walk around we saw these children, who had just come back from a wedding, sitting on a bench having a picnic while their parents looked on trying to get a good phot of them!

We decided to take a local bus to explore this part of Tonga. We walked along the seafront to the bus station and asked the driver of the first bus we saw where she was going and when was the bus leaving. The answer to the first question was to the middle of the island, and the answer to the second was “when we are ready! So we left straight away and the driver pointed out points of interest along the way. The bus had a fixed route but not a timetable, it just seemed that if anyone wanted it to stop they just raised their hand!

This bus was back at the bus station on our return, its not often you can say a bus has a nice smile!

Continuing with the theme of how lovely the Tongan people are………..I saw this tent next to the bus station with the 4G banner on the outside. There wasn’t a sign advertising WI-FI so I popped in and asked if they were selling a connection. They said they were going to later but they were just testing it at the moment and to come back later that morning………they asked if I wanted to give it a go for free to see if it was working, and so I managed to catch up with all my emails and managed to download a few audio books and e-mails. I thanked them and said I would come back in the evening and pay this time, as I had some other stuff I needed to update. I returned later to be told it wasn’t working as well as it should be but I could use it if I wanted. Whilst I was there it was their dinner time and they brought me over a plate of fried chicken……what a really nice gesture………I hope you guys there get to read this post as you were all so lovely!

Walking back to the ship past the bus station these girls were waving to us and saying hello and asking where we were from…………..

The next day we passed a secondary school just as it was home time and the whole place was heaving with kids. We both thought we were in for the normal teenage grief you would get in the UK, but again everyone was so lovely. We even had one lad come up to us and ask for a selfie………

The ship at night……….

We departed from Tonga with the loveliest of memories of such nice people. They put on a show on the dock as we were about to leave………

This young girl was giving it her heart and soul!

Thank you Tonga…….. I’ll leave you with this picture of Jane and Val on the beach!

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