Cooler temperatures greeted us this morning (Mid 60’s) with a high overcast, but good visibility, as we continue to sail west toward Melbourne. The Amsterdam continues its steady rise and fall, with an occasional pause and roll when the ship’s bow reaches its upper limit before starting down, only to rise again after pausing at the bottom. The midship Lido pool remains covered with a net, the sea view pool and deck are open but empty. Today is not very inviting for working on your tan but much better to stay inside and take advantage of the numerous activities available. A copy of every days schedule – distributed in the On Location guide – is posted on the blog at www.theinsidecabin.com.
The Wajang Theater was overflowing for this morning’s Good Morning Amsterdam as the On Location Ambassador Dhinawan was the scheduled guest. Dhinawan will be giving Didgeridoo lessons and other demonstrations of Australian Aboriginal life and culture. Unfortunately Dhinawan was still seasick and unable to appear. Gene’s back-up guests were unable to get to the Theater in time, so after Gene entertained the crowd for a bit with his quick wit and light humor, he called it a day but everyone present received $10 in Grand Dollars as compensation.
Judy remained in the theater for Lee Bayless’s talk on the “Secrets of Sudoku” while I moved to the Queen’s Lounge to listen to Barbara’s presentation on what to see and do in Melbourne. Unlike location guides on other, shorter, cruises, whose focus is on where to shop, Barbara’s talks provide a useful overview about the logistics of getting around the port and a sampling of some of the interesting highlights available. Lee presented his talk last July on our one week Alaska Cruise. With a longer cruise, he added a second talk with seven advanced techniques for solving Sudoku puzzles. These techniques can also be found on his web site: www.secretsofsudoku,com
This morning’s Tai Chi class started off as Tai Chi in chairs and then was replaced by the instructors commentary on a ballet video. Tai Chi requires a more stable deck than was available today.
I stayed in the Theater for Alan Wright’s lecture on “Pluto – Planet of Not”. Alan is a wonderful lecturer and gave another fascinating talk on planets in general and Pluto in particular. Apparently Pluto orbits the Sun with thousands of similarly sized “Dwarf Planets” in a belt, similar to the asteroid belt that is closer to the Sun. Pluto achieved planet status since it was the first and only dwarf planet discovered back in the 30’s but when better technology emerged in the 90’s astronomers discovered 1000’s of similar celestial objects not much different than Pluto – so it was either make them all planets or create the new category of “dwarf planet” which is what occurred.
A Mongolian BBQ – or Stir Fry per the HAL location guide – was a lunch option at the Lido Pool. This was a repeat of the stir fry a few weeks back but the crowds were much smaller this time with much shorter lines. It was very good. During the Stir Fry, the Captain gave his daily navigational update and mentioned the note I had written him regarding global circumnavigation. Details below:
Before the cruise started someone on our Cruise Critic roll call inquired about the requirements for a voyage to be called a global circumnavigation. I did a little research on the internet and learned that the generally accepted requirements are:
- Start and finish at the same point, traveling in one general direction
- Cross the Equator
- Cross all Longitudes
- Cover a minimum of 21,600NM (a great circle)
- Reach two antipodes (two diametrically opposite places on Earth)
From my research we crossed our first antipode somewhere between the Waitangi and Auckland and will cross the second antipode in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar. As stated, I wrote this in a note to the Captain who found this nugget interesting enough to use during his noon bridge talk today, giving me appropriate credit and my 15 seconds of Amsterdam notoriety. He also answered my letter with a handwritten note in a beautifully sealed envelope.
Today was day 2 of the “Battle of the Sexes” $10 black jack tournament. The women played their round yesterday with the top three women posted on the board next to the table. Today the men would play to determine the top 3 who would then face the women in the finals. I had a good run of cards and finished second making it to the finals. A Blackjack tournament is as much chip management as playing your cards. Once I realized I was in second place overall with one hand to go and only time for one more round of players, I only bet the minimum to preserve my cash and my second place ranking. No one in the final round was able to leap frog me and I was in the finals with 2 other men and the 3 women from yesterday.
The finals would be two rounds. The first round with 7 hands would determine the highest man and women of the finalists, who would then go head to head for 3 hands. I had a good streak and managed to be the top man and then bet the woman by only $100 in the finals. This earned me $250 and a Pinnacle Grill Lunch!
My luck at Texas Hold’em took a turn for the worse, and I was knocked out early in the afternoon tournament.
The On Location Ambassador Dhinawan was scheduled this evening at 7:30 in the Queens Lounge for an overview of his activities, but it was canceled as well. Hopefully Dhinawan will be feeling better soon.
Tonight was special for two reasons: Gala night and Susan’s Birthday, one of our tablemates for dinner. Susan initially wanted to keep her birthday low profile, but of course, our table would have none of that. So she was greeted by a Happy Birthday morning phone call from the front desk, a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday this evening in the Crow’s Nest as well as the traditional song and cake in the Main Dining room. Dinner tonight was exceptional. Our table split between the Chateaubriand and the Dover Sole which were both phenomenal. This may have been the best meal of the cruise, but only because it was the most recent meal. The food on this Grand Voyage remains exceptional in all venues.
Tonight’s show “Mundo Latino” was performed by the HAL singers and dancers. The show was high energy and very entertaining – we enjoyed it very much.
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