A Brief Trip to Town in Townsville

Day 67, Grand World Voyage 2020

Wednesday, March 11, 2020; Townsville, Queensland, Australia

What can I say about Townsville? Actually, not too much. I took the free shuttle to town, ran into a friend, went to a bar for a beer and came back to the ship.

It was a good day.

Townsville is a little bit south of Cairns in Queensland on the eastern coast of Australia. Both towns are popular gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. We arrived to rainy weather, so I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to get off the ship and didn’t have any tour planned.

Actually, I had some personal business to take care of while I had strong Internet access. I called the Social Security/Medicare office back in the states to resolve an issue, and actually reached someone quickly who took care of everything. This was after I had been trying since the early days of the cruise. Seems they blocked my account when I tried to access it from South America. In my earlier attempts (from Chile, Tahiti, New Zealand) calls kept getting dropped, or they made odd suggestions such as emailing the foreign office in Manila. This time was the charm. Now I will have health insurance after my current policy ends at the end of March – a good thing.

We also managed to vote in the Super Tuesday primary, mailing out ballots way back in Buenos Aires. Next challenge is the census.

Elaine went ashore in the late morning to visit the reef aquarium. I grabbed a couple of her photographs. It was a good place to learn about the Great Barrier Reef, as we didn’t plan a 2-hour boat trip to snorkel there on this cruise.

While ashore I briefly considered getting a haircut after seeing other passengers doing that at several salons right in town. But so far I’m doing okay with trimming my own bangs and letting the rest grow. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also manage to color the roots every now and then, too….)

Our hotel manager Henk and guest services manager Crystal, who happen to be a married couple, put some kilometers on their tandem bike in town. I ran into them in the port terminal, where it was funny to see all the passengers taking free fruit. Of course, we have lots of fruit on board, but these bananas were the best.

The crew takes advantage of these port stops to keep our ship looking good. Today they were touching up the exterior paint.

Meanwhile, the talk of covid-19 dominates, but it is all just rumors and speculation. I think it’s become a popular parlor game. So we’ll carry on as usual, with a tour to the nearby mountain town of Kuranda tomorrow in Cairns. Rain is in the forecast. And that’s about it for the news from the Amsterdam.