Much excitement for a day on land? Not really as life on the ship is so full on that the day on land was seen almost as a day off! Needless to say, we managed to wake just before berthing and joined the hundreds up on deck to witness it – many clutching video cameras of course.
Afterwards, a quick breakfast before joining the queue to disembark. Speed of the line is dictated by the speed at which one control point can accept your cruise card popped into the machine. The sniffer dog didn’t take long to find the banana in the bag of the old boy who obviously never listened to the very clear and precise instructions about not taking ANY food off the ship.
A pleasant walk up to Darwin city was easy enough, helped by the lift up to the 5th floor and the only tricky bit for the physically challenged was a flight of about 20 steps. When you consider that each deck of the Dawn Princess means a climb or descent of 16 steps and we seem to spend half the day travelling between our starting point on deck 11, to deck 5 – the lowest we normally access, or deck 14, this was a piece of cake. As has been mentioned before by previous bloggers, we were not surprised to find that the Princess map was rubbish...
Tip 2012: Grab the free Darwin guidebook when you disembark, find the street map, remove it and use it. Bin the Princess map.
We opted to book the 11:30 “Duckabout Tour” on the croc bus – an amphibious DUKW. We missed the 10:00am tour by 1 minute. Cost was $40 each but had we not looked so young and beautiful, maybe we would have been offered the senior’s rate, saving us $2 each.
A wander up the Mall and back then onto the croc bus, whereupon Paula was told to board, then a previous passenger decided to get off so Paula stepped back, grabbed the wobbly rope and banister pole and fell backwards, crashing to the ground whilst hanging on by her bad arm and badly grazing her good elbow... Her first attempt at pole dancing deemed a total failure.
The tour was part land and part sea and apart from driving up a sandbar (all OK) then crashing back down into the water without warning, sending us 3ft in the air on the other side, (not so good) and not being able to hear most of the commentary as we sat at the back, well worth the money.
A decent coffee and a freshly made chicken wrap between us from Cafe 21 followed by a trip to the liquor store for a six pack of cider ($18) and a bottle of port for Paula (about $20), a news paper and a magazine and a steady walk back to the ship.
It got interesting here, as those who were in the queue for the land based x-ray scanner all had their wine confiscated and those who were scanned on board didn’t! Needless to say, there were some very unhappy campers that evening, with talks of petitions, alcoholic drink boycotts, lawyers letters, mass demonstrations, mutinies, sabotage etc. Fortunately, the powers that be realised that there had been confusion and apparently the Princess rules had been changed the previous month (good luck on that...) “and as an expression of goodwill, all confiscated alcohol would be returned that night.” I fear that we have not heard the end of this saga...
A relaxing soak before getting ready for the 6pm sailaway into the sunset, with many of our group congregating on the rear of deck 11 for a drink.
Dinner that night was hilarious but we didn’t have a camera, but fortunately other’s did, to record Arnold’s animal magnetism and once again, the other’s may well have posted blog photographs, so if you haven’t seen them so far, you may well find them on there.
The Vista show afterwards was a juggler who may have started off a bit slowly, but once we pushed Garry and Joanne on stage as his helpers, it improved considerably. So far, we haven’t seen any duff acts at all.
So off to bed late again, even with another 30 minute clock shift and I am still struggling to catch up, though at least the shoulder has improved.
Email in from brother Dave in the UK: “Sorry to hear about the bad shoulder. Ask the captain if you can have a couple of days off the rowing.”