Kangaroo Island, Australia
We left Adelaide on schedule at 11pm last night and at 5:30am, I was awakened by the reverberating of the bow anchor chain being lowered. Kangaroo Island has no pier to accommodate large ships, so we were ‘parking’ for the day in Hog Bay, and ‘tendering’ passengers to shore. Our cabin is located near the front of the ship and when that gigantic anchor is lowered or raised, the sound & vibrations are quite noticeable. It was still dark and as I looked astern, I could still see the lights of mainland Australia, only 8 miles away. Needless to say, it was a very slow overnight trip!
Cheryl was awakened by the anchoring as well, so we grabbed a quick breakfast and headed for one of the first ‘tenders’ going ashore – most of the passengers toward the rear of the ship were still sleeping. The population on Kangaroo Island is only about 1,500 and VERY refreshing. Few doors are locked, and it’s not at all unusual to see an unattended car with keys in the ignition – just in case a neighbor needs to borrow it. There are no fast-food joints in town, or anywhere else on the island. Other noticeable absentees – no movie theaters, no traffic lights, and very few paved roads. We saw one motel (with 6 rooms), one gas station, one small grocery store, a bottle shop (wine), post office, and business center. We walked at least 3 miles in two directions – the island has a wide range of terrains, from gentle sandy beaches to pounding surf against rugged rocks. There are many amazing opportunities for nature lovers, with seals, sea lions, penguins, koalas and, of course, kangaroos, all living here in abundance. At the farthest point of our walk, we were moseying through a residential area and a man emerged from his home, came down his driveway and greeted us with big smile – he asked where we were from, whether we were enjoying the trip, and where we were headed next. He said he watched our ship anchor earlier from his living room window. A true Australian – VERY nice gentlemen! Down the road a few blocks, we came upon a Wallaby – casually grazing his early morning breakfast. He wasn’t at all afraid of our presence – he looked up from his meal to check us out, and continued eating. We were within 6 feet of him by then, and he didn’t at all mind our camera. (See photo below). Out of respect, we decided not to try to get any closer, but I think he would have allowed us.
My son-in-law (Adam Kelly) will appreciate this. I’m not a golfer like Adam, but do enjoy walking on a nice course and viewing the panorama. The golf course on Kangaroo Island isn’t exactly charming or picturesque, but it’s definitely unique. The ‘greens’ are BLACK with RED poles…our ‘greens’ are, of course, green with yellow flags. They use some form of black, rubberized granules (see photo) – the fairways themselves are all brown. I can just imagine someone from Kangaroo Island visiting a golf course in the U.S. returning home and saying…”their ‘blacks’ are green with yellow flags!”
Black 'green' With Red Flag?
Our ‘tender’ trips to & from Kangaroo Island were rewarding each direction. Going to…we were seated next to a couple from Las Vegas (Ken & Edna) and had a nice conversation for about 10 minutes. Returning to the ship several hours later, we sat next to some folks from our hometown PHOENIX (Will & Patricia) – another wonderful couple. In both instances, we hit it off immediately and agreed to spend more time together as the days & weeks pass. These are excellent examples of how lasting friendships begin on lengthy trips like this – you truly do form bonds similar to ‘family’ as you go through so much together. It’s very common during shore excursions to run into other ‘ship people’ – we look out for each other – give directions – recommend places to go and things to see. We’re all pretty easy to spot as well. This year, Holland America gave everyone PURPLE backpacks at the onset of the voyage – NOT a color I would’ve chosen if shopping for a backpack, BUT…they’re functional & free!
I had no idea of the size of Australia. During one of her presentations, our onboard travel lecturer (Barbara) overlaid Australia with a map of the U.S., - a very interesting geographic perspective. Australia is slightly larger than the United States. If you were looking at a map, Sydney would be Washington DC., Tasmania would then be the geographic equivalent of Cuba, Hobart would be Houston, Adelaide would be San Diego, our next stop (Albany, Australia) would be San Francisco, and our final stop of Perth, would be Seattle, Washington – then north to Bali, Indonesia.
So…we’re off now to Albany – two sea days and about 950 miles west/northwest of our present location.