Vancouver to Maui – day 5

Oct 13, 2022 – Day 4 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

I have a look at the Main Dining Room for breakfast around 9AM, but the line up puts me off, so I have a Cappuccino, blueberry muffin an a fruit/yogurt parfait in the Royal Dutch Cafe, which is not busy. I have a chicken burger, fries and a Dos Equis XX beer for lunch, eating at the Lido Bar, since there is no other nearby seating.

I booked this cruise partly to try out Holland America’s Pinnacle class ships, which Koningsdam is the first built, with capacity for 2,600 passengers. I’m finding this ship is significantly more crowded, with line-ups or no seats left at most popular venues. Even though Holland America’s smaller ships have fewer venues, I never encountered these problems on past voyages. Perhaps some of the crowding is due to inexperienced staff still learning how to be efficient when serving passengers, but I think they were generally doing a great job under the circumstances.

Turtle and coral in Olowalu Bay, Maui
Turtle and coral in Olowalu Bay, Maui

Guide to Hawaiian Reefs – Naturalist John gives another comprehensive talk, this time about reefs to be found in Hawai’i

  • Coral polyps are the living part of coral
  • 7,000 species in NW Hawaiian reefs
  • Fringe Reef
    • Lanidai, Oahu – pristine
  • Barrier Reef
    • Kanaohe Bay, Oahu – manmade harm
  • Atoll
    • Kure Atoll, NW Hawaiian Island
  • Hard Corals
  • Soft Corals – look like plants, no stoney skeletons
  • Species (Hawaiian names)
    • Trigger fish
    • Long-nosed Butterfly fish
    • Urchins (wana)
    • Surgeon fishes
      • Yellow tang
      • Convict tang
    • Parrot
    • Butterfly
    • Wrasse – 600 species
    • Morris Idol – looks like an angelfish
    • Trumpet fish
    • Lionfish – Dragonfly fish
    • Squirrel fish
    • Octopus (He’e)
    • Sharks (mano)
      • Black-tipped
    • Manta Ray (hahalua)
    • Jellyfish (olea)
      • Man-O-War
      • Nudibranch
    • Green Sea Turtle (Honu)
    • Monk seal
Joe with his 70th birthday cake in the Tamarind restaurant
Joe with his 70th birthday cake in the Tamarind restaurant

Today is my 70th birthday, the reason I’m on this cruise. I have a reservation at the Tamarind Asian Fusion restaurant for dinner, so I get dressed up before heading up to the Tamarind bar for a Tanqueray 10 Martini to start things off. Once seated, I have a glass of Proscecco sparkling Italian wine with my starter: Chinese Five Spice Baby Back Ribs with masago, pineapple, red chili, scallions. My main course: Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Chops with baby bok choy, toasted sesame seeds, mirin plum sauce with Oyster Sauce, Dungeness Crab Fried Rice. As usual, the staff are right on top of things, bringing me a chocolate happy birthday cake with some lychee sorbet.

When I return to my stateroom to freshen up, my room steward brings me a chocolate cupcake with birthday wishes from the captain. I end the evening in the Crow’s Nest lounge, where I meet some friends for drinks. What a wonderful birthday, celebrated on my terms aboard this beautiful ship!

Celebrating Joe's 70th birthday in the Crow's Nest lounge with Marilyn and Lyle aboard Koningsdam, sailing the North Pacific Ocean
Celebrating Joe’s 70th birthday in the Crow’s Nest lounge with Marilyn and Lyle aboard Koningsdam, sailing the North Pacific Ocean

Kaua’i to Vancouver – day 2 at sea

Friday, Oct 13, 2017 – Kaua’i, Hawai’i to Vancouver, BC

Hawai’i Cruise 2017

Joe dressed in a suit and tie for his birthday dinner
Joe dressed in a suit and tie for his birthday dinner

It is my 65th birthday today. I go up to the Explorations Cafe for my usual morning cappuccino and pastries. Thanks to having an Internet connection while at sea, I read over 50 birthday wishes waiting for me on Facebook this morning – a great start to the day! After I finish my cappuccino, I go to the Lido and have an custom-made omelet for breakfast. A couple from Salem, Oregon sit down at my table, so we talk about the recent eclipse.

The ship continues to pitch around as it battles against strong winds from the weather trough in the North Pacific. We also experience rain squalls despite there being some blue sky visible as well. The Upper Promenade Deck is closed due to 50 mph winds!

Ginny Stibolt’s Talk this morning: Between the Land and the Sea – The Hawaiian Islands have about 750 miles of coastline. She takes a look at how reefs, wetlands, and mangroves protect shorelines and provide important habitat for birds, fish crustaceans, and more.

We hear from a new Guest Speaker this morning: Lawrence Tartaglino. His talk is titled The Four Mutinies of William Bligh – A look at each of the four mutinies in which Captain Bligh was involved, and a review of the issues, people and circumstances surrounding each incident. I learned: he joined the Royal Navy at 7 years old, sailed with Captain Cook in 1776 (Cook’s final voyage), his wife was a woman of influence that helped his career in the British Navy, and his wife referred to mutineer Fletcher Christian as “That charming young man”!

John and Wendy enjoy some bubbly at the Mariner Lunch
John and Wendy enjoy some bubbly at the Mariner Lunch

My friends and I attend the Mariner Lunch, which happens on each Holland America voyage where there are sea days. Our Cruise Director Nick introduces  Marco van Bellegheim, Hotel Director and Captain John Scott. Captain Scott is a very outgoing man, and regales us all with his stories before lunch. I have a tasty vegetarian dish, including Eggplant red curry along with the traditional sparkling wine served at these functions to honour loyal cruisers.

This evening we celebrate my 65th birthday and both of my friends also have nearby birthdays at the Pinnacle Grill. As it turns out, the Executive Chef for Holland America is staging a special dinner this evening called Rudi’s Sel de Mer – a celebration of seafood! We enjoy ourselves immensely – the food is wonderful.


Three trips planned for 2017-18

I am always gathering information about travel that appeals to me – filing away websites, possible locations, modes of travel, and tour companies that can potentially quench my lust for travel in the style I’m accustomed to. Some of that information eventually translates into trips that works for me. As it turns out, my next three trips take me to Pacific Rim countries and locales.

Totally eclipsed Sun in the Java Sea Aboard the Volendam Indonesia
Total Solar Eclipse from Oregon – Aug 2017

I have observed three Total Solar Eclipses, starting back in 2006 from the Libyan Sahara desert. My fourth time in the shadow of the Moon will happen this summer in Oregon, USA, which I will share with several of my astronomy buddies from the Royal Astronomical Society. Our plan is to meet in Monmouth, Oregon. Unlike most of my other travel, this time I will drive south from my home in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada to Oregon. I also plan to do some road tripping both before and after eclipse day on August 21, 2017, exploring Washington state, Oregon, and northern California.

The north coastline from Waipi'o Lookout
Hawai’i cruise – Oct 2017

If you explore this JoeTourist website, you will soon discover that I love going on cruises, and in the last few years Holland America has emerged as my favourite cruise line. The other fact that many will not know is that my 65th birthday happens this year in October. Since I’m not one to particularly enjoy big celebrations on birthdays (as an adult), I have “run away from home” for several of my birthdays in past years. So this year I decided to run away on a 16 day cruise to the Hawaiian Islands which departs out of Vancouver and returns to Vancouver. Although I have cruised to Hawai’i several times, I always enjoy the islands, and I also enjoy several days at sea and shipboard life. This becomes a perfect get-away for me because a couple of friends have decided to join my on this cruise who are also celebrating birthdays – icing on the cake, as it were!

Borneo – Apr 2018

I cruised to southeast Asia in 2016 to observe my third Total Solar Eclipse from aboard the ship in Indonesia. That cruise introduced me to SE Asia, a region of the world I had not traveled to previously, and I found some fascinating locales I wanted to visit again. Although the cruise was 30 days long, I missed a great deal of what SE Asia has to offer. Touring on land is the only way to dive deeper into a region, and Michele Burgess from Infocus Travel notified me a few days ago that she is running a photographic tour to Borneo: Saba, Sarawak, Brunei. I had previously let Michele know that I was interested in this tour, so it only took me a few hours to decide to book it for April 2018.

Borneo 5 panel

Cruising from Fiji to Vanuatu

2010 South Pacific Cruise from Vancouver to Auckland aboard the Volendam

Oct 13, 2010 – Wednesday – Volendam at sea, enroute from Fiji to Luganville, Vanuatu

It looks like the North Pacific outside: grey clouds down to the deck, rough seas, and drizzle. Of course, step outside on the Promenade Deck and the warmth and humidity immediately hit you in the face. The next four days will be interesting, since we have four ports of call starting tomorrow with Luganville, Vanuatu. We then stop in Port Vila, Vanuatu and two stops in New Caledonia.

Fiji to New Caledonia route map
Fiji to New Caledonia route map
JoeTourist: Food &emdash; Flambe Seafood Skewer in Pinnacle Grill

My friends and I go to the Pinnacle Grill this evening to celebrate my birthday. I have the Seafood Skewer and Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Both are flambéed at the table, which is pretty special. It was a nice way to celebrate my birthday – aboard ship and at sea in the South Pacific!