Day 15…Circumnavigting the Australian continent…Port Hedland, Australia…Horrific earthquakes in NZ, exactly where we’re headed…

Most major resource areas and populated cities in Australia are close to the sea.
“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”
Unusual decanter.
Yesterday, when the ship docked at Port Hedland we were enthused to get off the ship to check out the world renowned port, the largest bulk tonnage export port in the world. 
As appealing as the port itself is, tourists aren’t allowed to wander about to explore. All our pictures were taken on a bus. 
Port Hedland is a mining town.

With little sightseeing in the mining town, we decided to take the free shuttle bus to the last stop, along with many other passengers to stop at a shopping mall to see what the town has to offer.

The mall was comparable to that found in many small towns; market, pharmacy, salon, computer store and hardware and appliance shop. We’d hoped to find a men’s and women’s clothing store to purchase a few items since after unpacking I began to realize I just don’t have quite enough of the right clothes needed for the second leg of the cruise. Tom needs some shirts, too.
The shipyard.

Having tossed a number of old and worn items, we’re both getting down to the barest of bones in our wardrobes which became more evident during this cruise, especially unable to freely wash our clothing. Every evening its a “social event” and we just don’t have enough variety for this lengthy 33 night cruise.

There wasn’t a clothing store in Port Hedland so tomorrow when we disembark in Geraldton to head to town, it appears we may have a more luck in finding a few stores there with a population of twice the size of Port Hedland. After looking on the Internet, we found two shopping malls.
                        When we got down the steep ramp, we walked towards the buses.

As for Port Hedland, we were surprised that we had never heard of this major export port. Here are a couple of things about Port Hedland, Australia:

    • Known as Marapikurrinya by the local Indigenous people
    • Has a population of approximately 20,000, with a growth rate of 5.5%
    • Is the world’s largest bulk tonnage export port, exporting 372.3 million tonnes per annum, an increase of 29% from last year’s throughout contributes 14% or $4 billion to the Pilbara’s Gross Regional Product
    • Is a melting pot of over an estimated 72 nationalities and cultures.

As much as we’re enjoying each day aboard the ship, it felt good to find ourselves on land. Many passengers were commenting about how hot it was but we found it only noticeable while standing in the sun as we waited to make our way down the very steep gangplanks to the waiting area for the buses. Have we actually become used to the heat after all these years? 

We were surprised by the steep level of this gangplank when so many passengers are disabled seniors.  It took a while to get the passenger off the ship. Thank goodness, my back is completely better. Only weeks ago, I’d have had trouble maneuvering this steep ramp.  Yesterday, it was a breeze.

As it turned out we spent more time getting into and out of the buses than we spent  on the bus or in the town. We’d shopped in the Woolworth’s market for baking soda and coconut oil, which were hard to find in Bali, both of which we use for dental maintenance.  Once we arrive in Tasmania, we won’t have trouble finding any products we use regularly.

Returning to the ship by 1:00 pm and with no movie playing we wanted to see, we languished in the coffee shop, chatting with our shipmates while browsing for future travels with the good Wi-Fi connection we’ve had on this ship.

It was obvious we were docked in a very busy and important port.

Last night, after happy hour and dinner with our friends, we played pool once again. Now, Tom is ahead by one game. Both highly competitive I can’t wait to try to beat him tonight. His learning curve seems to be much more advanced than mine. I’d better pick up the pace.

After playing pool we found good seats in the Centrum area for the evening’s dance party. Since we both prefer “dance” music as opposed to loud rock and roll, we didn’t dance. 

There are a number of modest mobile home buildings near the port.

Neither of us hesitates to get out on the dance floor  when our favorite types of dance music are playing. It seems the Aussies are more prone to dance to rock and roll. By midnight we wandered back to our cabin where we both had a decent night’s sleep. 

Just as we were about to upload this post, we heard about a huge earthquake in New Zealand, where we’re headed on the next leg of this cruise. We’re scheduled to sail to Wellington, NZ where two people were killed in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Our prayers for the families of the lost souls and the safety of our New Zealand friends.  Click here for details. 

A flea market type area set up for cruise passengers where trinkets are sold. With no interest in these types of items, we didn’t get off the bus at this stop.

Most likely, today, we’ll hear from the captain on a possible change of itinerary when we doubt we’ll be heading to Wellington after this devastating event. We’ll keep our readers updated. 

Be safe.Photo from one year ago today, November 14, 2015:

In Fiji, a creek with hand made rafts used for transporting locally grown produce and for fishing. For more photos, please click here.

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