A part of the world that I've never even been close to is Australia and New Zealand. That may be because it's so far away from British Columbia or perhaps I've just been too busy ticking of other areas of our planet and have been waiting to get "down-under". Whatever the reason, an opportunity presented itself this summer when I discovered an interesting cruise for the fall and thought the time was right to travel again. The trip's itinerary looked appealing as it left from Vancouver and went all the way to Auckland with great stops along the way. So with the weather getting cooler and wetter, I left Vancouver on the MV Noordam on October 13th and started the journey I'm calling "2019 - South Pacific". Leaving Vancouver after sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge In terms of the places I'll be visiting the itinerary is as follows: three islands in Hawaii; Amerika Samoa (that's how it's spelled); three stops in Fiji; three stops in New Caledonia; two ports in Australia (but I'll be returning there to visit other places after Auckland); and a whole bunch of places in south and north New Zealand. I'm sorry but I'm not going to put on my creative writing hat and write a lot about each place I'll be visiting, but I am going to write just a little bit and definitely post enough photos in the "2019 - South Pacific" collection that you'll get a sense of what each place is like.
Surf boards stored at Waikiki beach The trip to Hawaii was to take 6 days but there was a passenger who got seriously ill - to the point that there was a call of O-Negative blood donors - and so Captain Scott (I haven't asked if he's a descendant of the famed South Pole explorer) got the ship moving and we got to Honolulu in 5 days instead. That was fine with me as it gave us an extra evening there. I had only been to Hawaii once before and that was also Honolulu coincidentally at the time Don Ho passed away. Honolulu is on the island of Oahu and is the capital of the state of Hawaii. It is the southern-most major city in the United States and seemed to have grown a lot since I was here before. Today it boasts over 400 high-rises, which apparently ranks it fourth in that category in the USA. While the buildings look impressive, I still appreciate Honolulu for its naturally beauty and so enjoyed the beautiful beach of Waikiki, the endless palm trees, the warm waters and laid back lifestyle of the place. I had been up Diamond Head on my first visit and so didn't go there again but it still strikes a great outline from the beach at Waikiki.
After the big city of Honolulu, next stop was the more tranquil Lahaina on Maui. Lahaina was a whaling centre many many years ago but is sailboat destination today and attracts tourists year round. There is still an old fort with original cannons, a history museum in the heritage Baldwin House and of course breathtaking scenery across the whole island. The centre of Lahaina has Banyan Tree Park, which is home to a giant banyan tree that was planted in 1873 (I believe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Christian missionaries arriving on Maui). Two sides of rainbow leaving Kona, Hawai'i The final stop in Hawaii was the city of Kona on the island of Hawai'i. Kona was where Hawaii's original royalty lived and today is more known for its coffee, natural beauty and abundant sea-life. The island has some fantastic spots for snorkeling, diving and swimming with turtles and dolphins. In terms of history, just south of Kona is where Captain Cook first set foot on the island in 1778 and where he was later killed in fact.
You can view all my Vancouver-Hawaii photos by visiting the first gallery of the "2019 - SOUTH PACIFIC" collection. Next up is Amerika Samoa!