|Beautiful sky at sunset, taken from our veranda.|
|Tom’s shot of a stunning sunset.|
It’s about 10:00 am Saturday, April 22nd, on this side of the International Dateline. We’ll cross back to the opposite side of the International Dateline during our upcoming cruise, gaining a day. We’ll post this peculiar phenomenon when it occurs on May 1st during the upcoming cruise.
|The Sydney Opera House at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.
Saying we’re excited is to minimize the extent of our raging enthusiasm. It’s not that we’re anxious to leave the South Pacific after almost two years. It’s simply that we’re excited about what is yet to come.
|A Cockatoo visitor in the yard.
In reviewing how much time we spent since arriving on land in Australia on June 11, 2015, is shown below using the online “date to date” app at this link: “From and including Thursday, June 11, 2015
Result: 681 days
It is 681 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date or 1 year, 10 months, 11 days excluding the end date.”
|Hand-feeding Kookaburra in the yard.|
|The interior of the Sydney Opera House as we waited for the performance to begin. In a short time, almost every seat was occupied. We had excellent center seats four rows from the stage.|
Wow! We’ve been in this part of the world for a very long time, although the diversity of our experiences have been vast. We won’t take the time to list them all here today but feel free to review our archives during these above dates.
|The cafe where we had a beverage the morning of our final appointment at the immigration department.|
Now, packed and ready to leave for the port at noon today, our hearts are filled with joy and satisfaction for the time we spent in this part of the world. Even with the fact that I’d been “under the weather” since a spine injury on June 1, 2016, which followed the exacerbation of the Helicobacter Pylori infection I acquired in Fiji in 2015, we still had a great time.
|The scene in Manly near the ferry.|
|Offseason bloom on the grounds of Fairlight Gardens.|
Nor did we ever get on one another’s nerves, not for a day, not for an hour. Mr. Overly Grumpy never reared his ugly head. Then again, Ms. Overly Bubbly made fewer appearances than usual. So now, we’re both in the Overly Bubbly mode with plans to stay that way in the future.
|Ken and Tom drinking beer.
|St. Patrick’s Estate in Manly, a popular event venue.|
Of course, no experience compares to the daily sense of comfort and companionship we spent with our kindly landlord, Bob Reed. This morning, Bob sent us the following email as posted below. It warmed our hearts to develop such a fine relationship with this kindly man, now a lifelong friend. There’s no doubt we’ll stay in touch.
|The grounds at St. Patrick’s Estate were prepared for a wedding.|
Bob wrote the following:
“Good morning Tom and Jessica, welcome to your new adventure upon the high seas and continuing adventure that most of us only dream about.
|Tom in a pub with me for dinner in Circular Quay.
Reading Bob’s thoughtful message brought tears to our eyes. How did we get so lucky to become friends with yet another extraordinary person? We truly are blessed.
|Giant surf at Manly Beach on a gorgeous day.|
|Bob and Tom at Dobroyd Head.|
|Bob and I a Dobroyd Head.|
There’s no doubt in our minds that Bob will ensure an equally exceptional stay for our readers as well. If you have any questions, you can be assured he’ll reply promptly.
|Bob, Bev, and Colin (a popular name in AU and UK) when they joined us for dinner at our apartment.|
As for our final expenses, current to the last expenditures of two days ago, are listed below. Again, we’ve found Australia to be more expensive than many parts of the world but have found staying in holiday homes is much less costly than staying in a hotel.
|Christine, Tom, and I at dinner two nights ago.|
With the excellent public transportation services in Sydney and surrounding areas, including buses, trains, and ferries, it’s unnecessary to rent a car. We managed very well, taking advantage of the affordable public transportation and, of course, Bob’s frequent insistence on driving us on many occasions.
|Expense||US Dollar||Australian Dollar|
|Vacation Rental||$ 4,564.08||$ 6,053.92|
|Airfare||$ 217.00||$ 287.83|
|Taxi||$ 105.01||$ 139.29|
|Ferry (OPAL Card)||$ 140.00||$ 185.70|
|Shipping||$ 460.00||$ 610.16|
|Groceries||$ 1,014.25||$ 1,345.33|
|Dining Out||$ 361.43||$ 480.24|
|Entertainment||$ 102.06||$ 135.38|
|Medical & Pharmacy||$ 1,230.26||$ 1,534.68|
|Average Monthly Cost||$ 6,233.20||$ 8,282.22|
|Avg Daily Cost – 40 days||$ 204.93||$ 272.30|
In less than two hours, we’ll be out the door and on our way by taxi to the Sydney Cruise Terminal, arriving in about 45 minutes. Our next post will be uploaded aboard the ship tomorrow, with photos for the next 24 nights.
|Out to dinner with Christine and Colin, who we met on our last cruise, which ended 40 nights ago.|
We hope our readers will continue to travel along with us during these upcoming 33 nights at sea, plus an additional two-night gap while staying in a hotel in Vancouver. We plan to share many new stories and exciting photos along the way.
|Cruise ship in the Sydney Harbour.
While still dark at 5:45 am this morning, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, entering Sydney Harbour. What a sight! We can hardly wait to board!
|A bunny we posted on Easter Sunday, spotted on a walk with Bob.|
Happy day to all!
Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2016:
Due to poor signal aboard the ship one year ago today, we didn’t include a photo. Instead, we posted a list of some on the freebie on the ship, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas. Here they are:
Some of the “freebies” included on this particular cruise are:
- Fitness center to include a few free classes and activities
- Trivia games
- Daily Mass
- Men’s Shed
- Water aerobics
- Mensa challenge
- Movies are shown daily inside the large theatre and outdoors on a giant screen by the pool.
- Dance lessons
- Mini-golf tournament
- Lectures and seminars
- Singles gatherings
- Bridge lessons and tournaments
- Shuffleboard, ping pong, video games
- Napkin art workshop
- GLBT meetings
- Ice Skating and skating shows
- Rock climbing
- Paper airplane making
- Drama class
- DreamWorks characters on display in Promenade Deck
- Voyager Scavenger Hunt
- Karaoke auditions and eventual show in the theatre
- Shows in the main theatre in the evenings at 6:45 pm and 8:45 pm, different each evening
- Live music at various bars both during the day and in the evenings