Cherry Mistmas!

Seasons Greetings! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten! We are back on the ship after visiting Mauritius and Reunion Islands. We went scuba diving in Mauritius, first to a shipwreck, then a reef. And our new underwater GoPro camera was awesome! We wish we had it from the beginning of the trip. Afterwards we explored the city markets and we were obviously tourists (read: white) so people were trying to pull us in different directions and sell us everything they could. We got scammed trying to buy our customary souvenir fridge magnet. The guy was trying to get $36 from us for it ($1000 rupees). I’m not even going to tell you what we paid. It was ridiculous! I don’t mind paying the “tourist tax” here and there, but I really don’t like being hustled out of my money. But other than that we loved Mauritius. We had an awesome experience at the hotel Le Suffren. We were meeting the dive company there and we were early so we went to the restaurant for a coffee while we waited. (We were running off of two hours sleep after partying at the disco the night before so we were pretty haggard, which by the way the only thing missing on the ship are the 2am dirty nachos, and all our friends and family of course, ah those were the good times). Anyways we went to settle the bill, and our server (whose name was Lovin, a distant cousin of McLovin I assume) gave us our drinks on the house! Then the front desk and security were also super helpful to connect us with the dive company who were late and went to the wrong meeting place. Anyways, we would stay at/recommend that hotel in a heartbeat!
Next was Reunion island which is actually a part of Le France! You have to say Le France and with a big grunt because that’s how they do it and it’s awesome. Anyways, Le France has been paying them handsomely since the 70’s because they didn’t want to be associated with an island in poverty. As a result, the island was beautifully built up and maintained. The roads were a bikers paradise, beautifully paved winding up steep volcanic mountains, with gorgeous views of the cities and ocean below. We need to go back so we can rent motorcycles. We went on a full day tour up the volcano instead which is still an active volcano (although it hasn’t erupted since 2007 so we didn’t see any liquid hot magma) but the views were breathtaking and the craters were massive!
We sail past Madagascar today so we might have to rent Madagascar 3 on the pay per view to celebrate (Polka dot circus! Polka dot circus!) then we have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at sea which should be interesting. Our next stop is AFRICA! We cannot wait to go on safari! Keep your fingers crossed that we get to see lots of animals! We hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas! Drink lots of rum and eggnog in the moose mugs for us! We will be thinking of you all and look forward to the next time we can talk and hear about what’s been going on at home! Love and hugs!
PS. I’ve been trying to upload pictures for over an hour now and it’s not working. I will upload some in a later post.

The Tasmanian Devil and Kangaroos

Ok I’m a bit behind here. Still talking about Australia… Melbourne was our next stop. Unfortunately that day was a complete write off for us as we had to deal with our 2nd broken camera lens issue all morning. Then it poured rain for the rest of the day and before we knew it we had to be back on the boat. So we pretty much missed Melbourne which sucked.
Then we had three days sail to Perth. The first day we sailed past Tasmania through a storm that was the roughest seas we have ever encountered! It sounded like the ship was going to snap in half! The captain said it was 8 meter swells, and 60 mile/hour winds. It was like bad airplane turbulence for 36 hours straight. Our ship is big, but not big enough to skip across those waves. Fortunately it got better closer to Perth, but because of the storm we were arriving 6 hours late, so we missed the city again as Perth is a bit of a drive inland still. We did get to see a bit of Freemantle which is the suburb where the ship docked and it was lovely! We want to go back and spend more time. We didn’t get enough time in Australia! That’s the one big downside to taking a cruise. We’re bound to someone else’s schedule.
Anyways, we had originally booked a tour but because we were late we went instead to Caversham Wildlife Park with 600 of our closest friends. OMG It was like the circus showing up to a meditation garden! The highlight for us however, was the kangaroo enclosure. They were so sweet they came right up to you. We found one guy that was just like a puppy. We had a handful of food but were giving it to him one at a time, so he went straight for the hand with all the food and was sniffing around and nuzzling us for more. Then when Bryan walked away he stood up and held out his arms like he wanted a hug. I felt bad for the poor kangaroo. I don’t like when Bryan leaves either. 😉
Other than that so far we are surviving the 7 day stretch over the Indian Ocean. It’s been too cold to hang out outside for the past couple weeks so there’s not much to do. On the plus side, most of the banana hammocks have gone into hibernation so my nightmares have subsided for now. But I really hope it warms up soon! It’s supposed to be summer here! We are not looking very “sunbitten” anymore! But I’m not changing the name to Frostbitten just yet! Hopefully it doesn’t come to that…
PS: Mom and Dad don’t worry about the rough seas. We are safe.
Also, the crib tally is now Bryan 63 – Char 61. Bryan is not so safe. He should be afraid. Very afraid….
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Today!

We are at the half-way point of our cruise today! Every day on the ship they give us a newsletter which has since become known as the “book of words” because that’s what David calls it and we like that better. So if you’ve ever wondered what a day onboard the Costa neoRomantica looks like this is it! We don’t do many of the ship activities unless there’s a fun party at night. The other night was a 70’s theme party so we danced all night, and a few nights before that there was a juggling act from Australia’s Got Talent (James Buster) which was the beginning of Bryan’s 15 minutes of fame on the ship because they called him up on stage to do part of the act. It was so funny! He was such a good sport! Anyways, that’s our daily life. Also, we are Pearl point club members now so we get discounts and free stuff. I don’t know how we got that on our first cruise but somehow we did!
Only 10 days until Christmas! It just doesn’t feel the same here without the snow. But they’ve decorated the ship up and they play Christmas carols, otherwise we wouldn’t even know. Hope everyone at home is getting excited and getting lots of time off to visit with family. We will miss you all, but will be celebrating with our friends here:)
I’ve got more pictures to share from Australia soon too once I can get them uploaded!
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Maybe the dingo ate your baby!

G’day mate! I reckon I may have to throw another shrimp on the barbey! We’re straight up Aussie now! Crikey! We just left Australia and are heading out across the Indian Ocean for 7 days to Mauritius. We did NOT have enough time in Australia.
We arrived in Sydney at 2pm on the 5th, but the cruise terminal was WAY outside the city so we had to take shuttle busses into town which was chaos with 1800 people trying to all go at once! So we quickly ditched that idea and grabbed a cab. Sydney is a beautiful city! We walked around a ton and visited the Sky Tower, China town, Jimmy Buffets in Darling Harbour, and we made our customary donation to the casino. It was so funny because after all the chaos to get on the bus into town, we ended up finding the spot where they were dropping people in town and at 5pm (yes, just 3 hours later) there was a line up of people wanting back on the boat! I heard that some people didn’t even get a bus into town for 2 hours! Why do these people need to be first in line for everything if they are going to leave in 3 hours! OMG they are driving me nuts! (Just like the pirate with the steering wheel in his pants! Arrrr!) The next day we visited the Sea Life aquarium and Wildlife park. The aquarium was one of the best we’ve seen for fish and sharks, they have tunnels you can walk through, and one tunnel even had a glass floor which was freaky cool! After that we played 18 holes of golf at Moore Park which is their public city course. It wasn’t the best round of golf we’ve played but there were some awesome views of the city and we got to chase the little white balls around again. Then because we hadn’t done enough yet, we visited the Rocks which is an area down by the Opera House with a bunch of pubs and they were having a street carnival festival so we spent the rest of the night there. Then day 3 arrived and we were exhausted but we wanted to go surfing at Bondai Beach so we dragged ourselves off the boat and that’s when the telephoto lens was broken. So that day sucked, but we sucked it up and went to Bondai still and Bryan was brave enough to go in the water, I didn’t, the waves were huge! Even the guy we rented the board from said it was a huge swell! Since we aren’t avid surfers Bryan fought through and paddled out past the waves to rest and wait for a good wave to ride in, but once he was out there he was getting sucked out further by the current and it took him 20 minutes of paddling to get back in “the zone”, so he had paddled for thirty minutes to catch one wave! It was not our day! Plus when we got back on the boat and noticed our new lens we bought was broken! So we solved the problem the only way we could by drinking a lot of wine and then we danced all night! And I’m pretty sure I made a complete fool of myself as I tend to do now and then!

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Not a good day mate

We’ve had a rough couple of days. Going through security at the terminal in Sydney our telephoto lens was dropped on the ground. So we went and bought a new one right away ($$$) only to get back on the ship and realize that it was also broken. Sucks being away from home when everything just starts going wrong. Just keep throwing money at it until it gets better! That’s our new motto! We might be home sooner than we thought at this rate… (PS sorry Laura…we are buying another one today!!). The good news is that we can submit an insurance claim when we get home and they will cover us for the broken one. It just sucks right now forking out more money.
Anyways, here’s some pics from Sydney. It wasn’t all bad;)

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Americas Cup in Auckland

Big news…we are being recruited to join the New Zealand Americas Cup sailing team! I mean, how could they not want a couple of land-lubbers from the prairies of Alberta? They were super impressed with Bryan’s knowledge of the port and starboard buoys (which are backwards here from Canada by the way) and my white knuckle grip on whatever I could grab. We have found our calling! Just kidding 😉 But we were the only two passengers tough enough to go out on the boat without a winter jacket so we definitely get bonus points for that. We went sailing on one of the old monohull Americas Cup boats, and yes it was absolutely incredible! The boat was about 20 metres long and the mast 32 metres tall, and we got to work on the grinders to raise and tune the sails and drive the boat. We put up the spinnaker for a few minutes too, it was huge! But they didn’t let us keep it up too long because it was a really windy day and the boat had a LOT of power. We had to keep a reef in the mainsail to slow it down for us newbies. Still, she heeled over pretty good, they had footholds to stand on which were totally necessary when the boat was tipped over. I think they said we got up to about 13 knots (which is about 25km/hr). The max speed for the boat is 18 knots. We buried the side rail in the water at one point too which was fun! It was such a cool experience! I cannot even imagine being on one of the new catamarans that can go up to 50 knots flying over the water. That is insanely fast!
Anyways, the city of Auckland is absolutely beautiful. We were both sad to leave. It’s a lot like Canada but instead of hockey they have sailing. We really wish we could have seen more of New Zealand, we didn’t get to see Middle Earth or the Shire. But we did spend a lot of time walking around the city, and we took a bus out to Davenport which was also beautiful. We both agree that we would love to live here…maybe someday:)
And we bought a new GoPro Hero camera too which has an underwater casing we can take scuba diving and it takes great pictures on land too! We are excited to try it out! I’m pretty sure it will be worth it for the rest of the trip!
Anyways, we are en route to Sydney now. The seas are really rough today, trying to walk upstairs on the ship is funny because you feel really really heavy, then you feel really really light, then really really heavy, then really really light again. And you cannot walk in a straight line no matter how hard you try! We are both used to the motion of the ocean now so at least we aren’t seasick. We like it!

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