Day 56, Grand Asia 2018
Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, Mooloolaba, Australia:
Sometimes plans go astray, and this was one of those days. I had planned to meet up with a couple of fellow passengers to go ashore, but one was under the weather. Then I missed the other because of a miscommunication.
Mooloolaba is a beach town north of Brisbane, where we stopped last year. This also is a tender port. The ship anchors a distance from the beach and the four tenders take passengers on a 15-minute ride through the mouth of a river to a protected wharf in the center of town, a couple of blocks from the beach esplanade lined with shops and restaurants.
It reminds me of Fort Lauderdale, with a few high-rise apartment buildings and hotels along the beach and beautiful large homes lining the canals. One is decorated for Christmas.
The beach is beautiful and it being Sunday was busy with tourists and locals alike. Several beach volleyball tournament games were under way.
The beach and esplanade are clean, with playgrounds, picnic tables and beautiful landscaping. Even the bathroom facilities are exceptional, with a covered pavilion over the loos below, as they say.
My original interest was in going several miles out of town to a ginger factory, as our excursion guide described it. A fellow passenger invited two of us to join him and his friend who lives in the area to go there and to see the countryside. When we failed to meet up, I set off to explore the town and the beach – sketching for a while, browsing the shops and stopping for a fresh fish lunch.
Had I signed up for the ship excursion to the ginger factory and the nearby town of Noosa, I would have missed that, too. Early in the day the captain announced that he was moving all-aboard time to 2:30 p.m. from late in the afternoon. The forecast called for shifting winds that eventually might make tendering too dangerous. A few weeks ago, a passenger on Holland America’s Maasdam died after falling between the ship and a tender, so I’m sure that contributed to more caution on the captain’s part. The earlier departure canceled the ginger factory tour, along with one to the Australia Zoo, once the home of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. A memorial in town honors him with a sculpture of him and his children Robert and Bindi.
Tonight’s gala dinner theme was “white.” Dining room stewards wore white, chairs were covered in white and passengers were invited to wear white. I didn’t. Unlike some passengers, I didn’t bring an outfit for each theme. I saw some wonderful white outfits, but many other passengers didn’t wear white either. Later the stewards passed through the public rooms with trays of chocolate treats – white chocolate, of course.