An 8000 nautical mile cruise with stops in Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia
This cruise on Holland America Line was special since the ship crossed both the International Date Line and the equator. After five days at sea we spent a day in Hilo and a day in Honolulu before another five sea days until we arrived in Apea, Samoa.
While there we rented a cab and took a seven hour tour stopping to swim in an cave and then at a beach. The scenery is beautiful and the island is relatively unspoiled. Before returning to the ship we stopped at the home of Robert Louis Stevenson which has been perfectly maintained. He is revered by the people of Samoa for writing stories about their myths. Both here and in Tonga, our next stop after another sea day we found the local people gracious, helpful and very friendly.
In Tonga we kayaked to a small island for snorkeling and a beach lunch. I don't know the name of the island but apart from the restaurant it seemed virtually uninhabited. Tonga is the only south sea island to have never been colonized which sets it apart.
Then after two more days at sea we arrived at the French possession of New Caledonia. Our first day was at Easo, Lifou where the facilities are very basic but interesting. We took a cab to tour places of interest and walked up to a church high on a hill. Also we snorkeled in a little cove which some of our group thought was the best they had ever experienced. On this island the ship had to anchor and use life boats to ferry us to the rickety landing. Then our ship started dragging anchor and came within 50 feet of a bed of coral. It was the first time the Oosterdam had come to this island and the captain was on shore to receive some sort of plaque. But it all ended well and neither the ship nor the coral was damaged. The next day we docked in Noumea, New Caledonia and it was a shock to be in this modern resort. We did visit a great museum there, the Tjiabou Cultural Centre designed by Renzo Piano who also designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris, showing ancient village life of the original inhabitants.
Then another two days at sea and we sailed into Sydney harbour early in the morning. With a fire boat spraying and the sight of the Opera house, skyline and the famous bridge it was really a sight to behold.
We had a very busy couple of days in Sydney, attending the opera for Lucia di Lammermoor, walking through the Botanical Garden and going to the Art Gallery. Also we shopped and went to Darling Harbour where we visited the Aquarium and the Wild Life Park. So we saw what the Great Barrier Reef is like without travelling to Cairns and of course the Australian animals and snakes are unique to that continent. Then we took the ferry to Manly Beach where we had dinner on the beach and watched people surfing. Australia is a wonderful place to visit and we wished we had more time there. All of the following photos are courtesy of Heather Donaldson.
Hilo Hawaii 2011
Daily workout aboard ship 2012
Our cabin MV Oosterdam 2012
Our veranda MV Oosterdam 2012
Crossing the equator 2012
Samoa 2012 #2
Samoa 2012 #3
Samoa 2012 #4
Samoa 2012 #5
Samoa 2012 #6
Samoa 2012 #7
Samoa 2012 #8
Samoa 2012 #9
Samoa 2012 #10
Robert Louis Stevenson's home Samoa 2012. #2
Robert Louis Stevenson's home Samoa 2012
Special dinner on MV Oosterdam 2012
En route to Australia October 2012
Graveyard Tonga 2012
Snorkeling in Tonga 2012
Tonga 2012 #2
Tonga 2012 #3
Tonga 2012 #4
Tonga 2012 #5
New Caledonia 2012
New Caledonia 2012.jpg #2
New Caledonia 2012.jpg #5
Snorkeling in New Caledonia 2012
Snorkeling in New Caledonia 2012.jpg #2
Arriving in Sydney 2012
Arriving in Sydney 2012.jpg #2
On Mrs MacQuarrie's chair Sydney 2012
Sydney Art Gallery 2012
Visiting Manly Beach, Sydney 2012