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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Moo who?

Day 57/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. A sea day.

We decided that since it was such a nice day out that we would have breakfast on the Aquavit Terrace, on Deck 7 (off the World Cafe) this morning, but things didn’t work out as we had planned.

The Viking crew were washing the deck of the Aquavit Terrace. I noticed that on the blue coveralls of the Viking crew most of them had ‘Able Seaman’ stitched on their chest. I wasn’t sure what an Able Seaman was, so Richard googled it and and Able Seaman is part of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years experience and considered “well acquainted with his duty”. One of the crew though had ‘Deck Boy’ on his uniform so he had not reached two years of experience and was of a lower level than Able Seaman. Cool! I learned something over breakfast as we sat inside by the window so I could watch the very busy activity of cleaning the back deck, over breakfast.

After breakfast Richard went and made an appointment through Guest Services to speak directly to the officer in charge of the Internet on the ship. We have had poor internet service since reaching New Zealand, and frankly it has gotten worse since we hit Australia. We needed to understand what exactly is going on with the internet since we were of the understanding that we are on Starlink and because we are on Starlink, it should be a lot faster than it is.

I decided to do some research on our next destination after breakfast since we missed the port talk for our port of call tomorrow. I determined that the included excursion which we had originally signed up for meant we would be out for 3 hours, and of that time out, we would be on a bus for 45 minutes to our destination, have about 1 hour and 30 minutes on our own, and then would be back on the bus for 45 minutes, to get back to the ship. I really didn’t want to be on a bus for that long or have such limited free time, so I started looking at other options for tomorrow’s port of call.

Tomorrow we are in MOOLOOLABA which I have never heard of before! Moo Who? Is what I’m saying because the town’s name is frankly difficult to pronounce. It looks like Moo-Loo-LABA would be how you pronounce it, but in fact it is pronounced MOOL-OOL-ABA. Crazy eh? Australia really does have some funny town names. Today I was looking at a map of Australia and these town names really caught my eye: ‘Blackbutt’; imagine having to tell people you come from Blackbutt with a straight face! How about this one: ‘Gympie’! Yes I live in Gympie and no I’ve not got a bad leg, I just live in Gympie! Strange names. I mean Canada has some funny names too. The Province of Newfoundland really has funny names such as: ‘Come by Chance’, ‘Blow me Down’, ‘Goobies’, Witless Bay’, ‘Joe Batt’s Arm and ‘Cow Head’, so I guess each country has funny names which make us laugh when we hear them.

While Richard was off finding out what is up with the ship’s internet, I was up in the Explorer’s lounge still looking out for what we could do in MOOLOOLABA tomorrow. I was thinking we might go hiking at Point Cartwright Lighthouse which looked kind of interesting on Google maps, but then trying to figure out how to get across the water to the Lighthouse looked a bit daunting, or meant a very long walk around on land to get to the Lighthouse. As I zoomed out of Google maps a bit more, I found something that looked more interesting for us! A golf course called Headland Golf Club. I googled how far the club was from the port and it turns out the course was only a 13 minute drive from the port. Perfect. Now to go on the club’s website and see if we could get a tee time for tomorrow. I easily found a foursome available at 9:30am tomorrow so I booked two spots for me and Richard with a power cart! No more walking golf courses in the heat for me while we are vacation! While I was finalizing our tee time, Steve who we have been recently dining with at Chef’s Table and who Gene and Margaret call “Brits on the bus” because they met Steve and his wife Sue on the bus from the airport in Ft. Lauderdale, to the ship back in December. Anyway, as Steve was walking by (he is a golfer) I asked what he and his wife Sue were doing tomorrow. He said “We’re just doing the included tour”. So I said “I’ve just booked us for golf tomorrow and there is space at 9:30am, would you like to join us!“. He checked with his wife Sue and sure enough, I was able to book him in with us and get him rental clubs and a driving cart too and Sue will come and ride in the cart with him. Perfect!

Richard came back from his meeting with the head of the IT department while I was doing all this golf booking and the head of IT told Richard that Viking deals with a 3rd party who has the contract with Starlink. So while Viking has been complaining about the internet, the 3rd party is busy dealing with everyone else’s concerns about the internet. Starlink was supposed to be fully operational in Q4 of last year in Australia, but it has been delayed so Starlink is really operating on a ‘beta testing’ basis in Australia, the best internet by Starlink in the United States and our Internet will be poor and get worse until we finally get to Europe when the internet should improve. Great. That means that it will be difficult to post photos in the blog unless I’m able to go on shore with my ipad and try and upload photos from hopefully a faster internet connection. UGH! At least we know, but it doesn’t make things any better for us with regards to Internet.

We had a terrible showing at Team Trivia today. I mean who knows which of the guys in ABBA had a beard? Really? I wouldn’t know their first names if my life depended on it. I did get which song did Dusty Springfield write for Aretha Franklin and she turned it down? “Son of a Preacher Man”. Anyway, Team Trivia really does focus on some minutiae some days, rather than real trivia in my opinion.

Today our new art classes were to commence at 2pm in The Restaurant where we had taken our other art classes with painter Deb.. A new teacher boarded in Sydney, and Patricia Moody is an accredited calligraphy teacher who currently serves as the secretary of the Australian Society of Calligraphers. Patricia holds calligraphy exhibitions and has been commissioned to produce works for private collections in Australia and the UK. I was sitting with Sharon and Linda (from Canukus snowman contest fame) and Linda’s husband Lyle. We were told to ‘play’ with the calligraphy pens and given an instruction sheet of calligraphy to try and copy after we watched Patricia demonstrate how she created her strokes. After about 30 minutes of play we were then given some sheets of letters to try and create, keeping the pen at a 20 degree angle. I could not understand the 20 degree angle at all. Me and math just did not compute, until Patricia’s assistant came and drew the graph with the 20 degree angle on it on my page, and then told me to keep my pen nib at the same angle as she had just drawn in the graph. Well that computed for me since I’m a visual learner and actually being able to put my pen on the line that was the correct angle worked for me. It still was a frustrating day of trying to copy strokes and keep them between the lines which we had to draw based on 4 pen heights stacked like stairs. Patricia said quite a few people might actually drop out based on their introduction to calligraphy class today. I am not planning on dropping out because I think it is good for me to challenge myself to do something I am not comfortable with, rather than say it is too hard and I cannot do it. I think as we progress through writing the various letters, I will get better with practise and it is a good way to spend an hour or so on a sea day. If I like it once I’ve worked at it a bit, it would be a nice touch to be able to write with nice lettering! Frankly, I almost failed Grade 6 because my handwriting was so bad ( I skipped grade 3 where we were taught cursive). My Grade 6 teacher (who was an art teacher) sent me to the library to work with the librarian on my cursive, until it was more legible and then of course I passed Grade 6. By being able to go to the library by myself though, the librarian and I became good friends and she would recommend books for me to read, and it developed in me a life long love of reading. So sometimes things turn out differently than expected, in a good way! Let’s hope calligraphy class is much the same for me!

During calligraphy class I mentioned to Lyle that we were golfing tomorrow and if he was interested there was a 9:38am tee time for 2 people right after us. Lyle and Linda were also supposed to be on the included tour, but they were not interested in another long bus ride after doing a 9 hour excursion yesterday to the Blue Mountain from Sydney. I left it with him to see if he wanted to book a tee time.

After calligraphy we had about 30 minutes before our ship building meeting with the team. Sharon and Mike graciously hosted all of us right next door to us, while Lyle and Linda surreptitiously brought the ship into the cabin for us to start working on decorating and putting the finishing touches on it. All 6 of us had a role, and we worked until 5:45pm to get as much done as possible, since the contest judging is on the 27th of February. Lyle told me he had booked he and Linda for golf tomorrow, so now all have to get off the ship tomorrow on the first tender to be able to make our tee times and figure out transportation to the golf club! It sure is nice when a plan comes together!

I worked on decorating something for the shipbuilding contest in our cabin until about 6:35pm. Finicky work, but I think the extra effort on the finicky stuff is worth the effort and will definitely bode well for us in the end. Dinner was with the gang as well as 2 new people from Australia at Chef’s Table this evening and the menu was California, which we have had before, but really enjoyed. Steve and Sue were hosting as they made the booking for us.

We were in the private dining room at the Chef’s Table this evening which holds 10 people. The dinner was fantastic and quite rowdy at times, so it was a good thing that we didn’t disturb the other guests in the The Chef’s Table restaurant during dinner! Me and Richard will be hosting the next dinner at Manfredi’s in about 10 days or so and Richard made a booking for us while we were having our dessert this evening. It is fun to be able to have friends on the ship to enjoy meals with from time to time. It makes sea days more interesting knowing we have a dining experience booked, rather than going to the buffet in the World Cafe for dinner. And since the internet is not allowing me to upload any photos, I’m going to have to publish without photos in the blog, but hopefully photos on Facebook and Instagram. I’m looking forward to golfing again tomorrow and in a cart! The weather is supposed to be 27F/82F which should be just perfect for golf. Back on board time tomorrow is 4pm, so we may even have time for lunch at the club after golf, or lunch in the beach town of MOOLOOLABA.

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