Monday, 4 August 2014

Just Cruisin'

Lat week   two friends and myself  booked a  harbour cruise to celebrate one of the girls' 60th birthday.
It was  advertised as a Christmas in July  lunch cruise.
Newcastle is a fully functioning  working port and has ships coming and going all the time.
We set out from the  dock and firstly headed out towards  Nobby's or the heads.
I have taken some panorama shots, but you will probably have to individually  click on them to see them better. In future I probably won't use that function on my tablet camera  unless I mean to actually print up the photo.
Newcastle is a busy port, it is a major coal loading port, as well as wheat, fertilizers, containers and many other imports/exports too numerous to mention.

While we cruised around  the crew gave us a wonderful narration of the ports history, and showed us many points of interest around the harbour, many things even though we have lived here for nearly 30 years were unaware of.
This was a three hour cruise(all I could think of when the captain said that was "Gilligans Island",I just had a quite chuckle to myself)
We met some lovely people on board, the crew told us it was an unusually quiet day, the boat normally full to its 60/70 capacity, but on our day they only had   about 20 passengers.

The lovely group of women above were from "The Red Hat Society" a group initially started for women over 50 to meet up socially and have fun. They are not a charity and are self funded, and they organize regular outings for women to socialize who otherwise may not. They explained that the age limit has now been lowered .
We had a lovely  fellow who sang wonderful "older" songs and kept us entertained with trivia and music the whole time.
We were then able to help ourselves to a sumptous Christmas style buffet and  sweets  which were delicious.(and I forgot to take a photo...too busy eating my lovely lunch.)
We had bar facilities to purchase drinks, and unlimited tea,cofee ect for free.

We went up as far  and under the Stockton Bridge, did a circle and came back down into the harbour then up the other arm towards  the old BHP site.

There is also a newly built  public marina for all the small sail  and motor boats, it is located near the seafood markets.
We had a day of mixed weather conditions on the cruise, it started out overcast and drizzly, cleared to blue sunny skies, then clouded over and rained quite heavily and then backed of to misty rain for us to disembark.
I took every opportunity I could to go up to the viewing  roof and get photographs, I cannot believe  that I was the only passenger to do this on the whole trip. I just love the wind in my face and all that spectacular scenery.
The photograph above shows the newly developed area of the harbour, it is called Honeysuckle. There are  wonderful new hotels( Crown Plaza) and apartments, restaurants,hotels and businesses all located along the foreshore. It certainly has come along way  from when we  arrived here the first time over 35 years ago.
These days, cruise liners have  started to make a stop here in Newcastle, and passengers make their way on tours up to the Hunter valley for wine tasting excursions and eateries and many other activities.
I had a wonderful 3 hours on my cruise and unlike the ill fated "Minnow" we did return to port(not that we really ever left it).
We have looked into other small cruises  that the company advertises  and there are a couple that go up the river  to inland towns and return. They are between 6-8 hours in duration with lunches at lovely old pubs up the river. I think Brian and I may do these trips before we leave the area permanently. We enjoy that slow winding river cruise Idea( ocean cruising does not call me what so ever)
We had a wonderful day, and would highly recommend  the trip to any one.
so, until we meet again,
Take care,

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