Roger and Cheryl . Round the World on Black Watch travel blog

Up in the air

Petronas Towers. Koala Lumpur.

Darwin To Singapore..

Friday 10th March 2017 .. 33deg C. 90 percent humidity.

We arrive Darwin at 1000 and go ashore at about 1030. There is a shuttle bus to the city centre for 14 Australian dollars. We walk the 1 1/2 k. Along a beautiful waterside path and modern recreation complex. There is a lagoon connected to the sea with jelly fish protection , water temperature 30deg. There is a simulated wave pool which looks great fun , and there is a new shopping complex with a lift in the centre which takes you to a skywalk into town, no cost cutting here..

We get into town and find the information centre and discover that a minibus is about to leave for "Crocodylus" , A complex devoted to crocodiles , We decide to go .

It is a crocodile breeding centre 10 k out of town. We have a boat tour through a man made river designed to allow tourists to see the crocs in their natural environment.

It is up close with the crocodiles. They are beautiful and up until 1973 were shot on sight and nearly wiped out in the Northern Territory. They were protected and from about 1000 that were left in 73 there are now many thousands throughout the region.

We saw some from the ship in the harbour and if they interfere with people they are trapped and relocated , if possible. Sometimes they have to be shot . The park rears some for their meat and skin. It sounds awful but we are told it is the only way to protect them in the wild as the skins are so valuable that if they were not supplied there would be a black market and so it is a kind of catch 22.

They were on earth many millions of years before mankind and deserve protection.

An awesome visit .

We got back to town late afternoon and did the usual things before returning to the ship for 1900. We saw some beautiful jellyfish in the harbour en route and a fabulous sunset which Darwin is renowned for..

Definitely a place to visit.

We sail for Komodo island at 2000.

Saturday 11th March. 30deg. Sea day.

A beautiful sea day. Flat calm . Today we see Killer whales , dolphins , turtles , sea snakes , flying fish and other fish . I think because the sea was so calm every ripple was spotted and people were rushing around to see the sights, one side of the ship to the other . Cheryl spent most of the day on deck really loving it . I preferred the cool inside. We danced in the afternoon and evening . A good day...

Today the ships crew did a charity run in aid of two orphanages in Thailand and Philippines , where most of the crew come from. They ran around the deck for an accumulative 143 miles , raising $3000. .

Sunday 12th March Sea day. Hot.

Another lovely day at sea . We have settled into a pattern when at sea . It is so laid back. I play bridge and Cheryl goes on deck . We dance after lunch and go to lectures or just laze until a work out before dinner , then the evening show and dancing before Cheryl goes to the cinema at 2215.

Monday 13th March . 30 deg.. Komodo island.

Today we arrive at Komodo island to see the famous komodo dragons.

Komodo is one of 17508 islands that make up Indonesia. It is undeveloped and attracts tourists to see the dragons. You have to join a tour to go ashore , so to see the dragons you have to pay 70 pounds each for a guided tour. We saw dragons on the tourist trail which were well fed to keep them in the right areas. All in all a bit of a disappointment as it all seemed engineered. At the end of the 1 hour tour we were approached by one of our guides who offered to take us off the tourist trail for about 10 pounds . We took a chance and it was worth it . We saw more dragons and some deer on the beach. These are food for the dragons if they can catch them. They bite them and the bite is infectious . The dragons have an enhanced sense of smell and follow the prey for as long as it takes for the infection to take hold , this may be several days , so not much fun for the deer. The dragons are up to 3 metres long and can live for 100 years although 40 is the average. There are over 1000 on the island .

It was an experience..

The people seem very poor and the usual market was evident close to the pier.

The ship anchored off and we used the ships tender to get ashore and back to the ship. The sea was a bit choppy so it was not easy boarding the ship and some people got rather excited , maybe thinking they were stuck on Komodo. It all ended happily and we sailed at 1600.

Tuesday 14th March Hot.

We arrive in the port of Benoa in Bali at midday . We have decided to do our own thing here. We walk from the ship against all advice , and find it is not pedestrian friendly very quickly.. For the first half mile we were constantly pestered by taxi drivers offering their services which we declined. Most of the 5k walk into town was along the hard shoulder of a motorway , so not much fun. It started to rain and so we found an ATM for some local currency and bought two rain coats , by which time the rain stopped. We wandered around and then headed back to the ship by the same route and noticed a wake boarding park which looked interesting , so we had a look .

It was like a zip wire over a large lake with a constantly moving cable which you held while you wake boarded . We watched and it would have been fun but we were not prepared so settled for watching . Very entertaining ...

Near to the ship we were again approached by taxi drivers and one seemed nice and offered to take us around Bali for 40 dollars US. We were staying in Bali for two days so we agreed.

Next morning At 0830 we walked out of the terminal to the agreed meeting place and he was waiting .

What a day we had .. We set some guidelines then first being no temples or carpet factories . He was fine and we asked to go to a beach where we could parasail . Cheryl was not sure about this and was not convinced by my promises of not ending up in the water. Anyway all was well and we were taken in a small speedboat out into a bay where the bigger speedboats were towing them parasails. We boarded the bigger boat and put our harnesses on before being attached to a tandem parachute , and before we knew it we were in the air. Photo attached. Great experience.

Next we were taken to a quiet beach to go swimming , It was lovely and just as you would imagine Bali to be. We swam and played in the surf and enjoyed ourselves.

Then he tried to take us to a weaving centre . We said no . No problem . We asked for a market and were taken to a huge superstore selling all sorts. This made Cheryl happy and we made some purchases. Then we were taken to lunch at a restaurant built around several ornamental fish ponds . We had a lovely Indonesian meal and were given food to feed the fish . It was very pleasant in the heat of the day. Cheryl even fed one of the rabbits which were wandering around.

A wonderful day and back on board by 1600 . [After passing through the market outside terminal where we made more purchases ]. Ship sails at 1800.

Thursday 16th March. Hot . Sea day

There is a formal night tonight so champagne is served at breakfast. We now sit with the same couple for breakfast . A brother and sister who do not get on . So Cheryl talks to Janice and I talk to Steve. How silly is that . But there you are. Anyway Cheryl and Janice have champagne and and turn it into Buck's Fizz with orange juice. We have a normal sea day , bridge for me , a talk on Kuala Lumpur for Cheryl , go to gym for a run and dance in afternoon.

We decide to miss the formal dressing and eat in the buffet. Dance in evening .

Cheryl watched the show which was two classical singers which she enjoyed very much and then she watched Eddie the Eagle at the cinema. I was long asleep before she appeared in the cabin.

Friday 17th march. Hot. Another sea day.

Crossed the equator again today with another ceremony at 1130 which was enjoyable. We had a nice lunch and tried to learn a new dance. "Saunter together".

It was not to be , and we decided it was too much for us. Today is St Patrick's day and the dress code for dinner is green. Lots of people come prepared and Cheryl looked really good in her green attire. There was no dancing in the evening as the line dancers put on an Irish display. Later at dinner we heard a medical emergency called for a cabin of a friend we had made called iris. She had overdone it with the line dancing and was taken to the medical centre. We finally took her back to her cabin at about 10 o'clock. 309 pounds worse off.

Saturday 18th March . Very hot.

We arrive in Singapore at 1300.

Singapore , where to start. What an amazing country.

First of all it has the strictest security of anywhere we have been so far , it was more like going through an airport. 45 minutes to get off the ship and through the terminal.

There is no smoking in nearly all public places and where it is allowed there are bins for the cigarette butts--which are used!! No litter anywhere and chewingum is banned. Pedestrians are separated from traffic in most of the city and on our first foray into town we did not have to cross a road. The underground and overground metro system is fully automatic --no driver -- and all station platforms have doors which keep you separated from the track and marking on the ground to separate people getting on and off-- and it works. We buy a three day pass for 20 $.

I think the world could learn a lot from Singapore.

Anyway we go shopping for dance shoes and find some for me . The shopping malls are crammed with any and everything you could possibly want. We eventually find our way to a park called Garden by the Bay. It has an indoor tropical rain forest and tropical flower garden which are amazing . There is a huge waterfall in the forest part.

In the evening there is a light display centred on huge artificial trees with a high level walkway between them. We find a good position and lay down so we can best enjoy the display , which is free . It is not possible to describe save to say it is amazing. You may think I am overusing that word , but it definitely applies here.

We find our way through the crowds to a huge shopping mall which is still open and busy at 9oclock at night. We finally get back to the ship at 2300.

Sunday 19th march. Singapore. Very hot..

Today we venture to the north of the island to find the war museum. There is very little visible trace of the war because Singapore has been redeveloped since. The museum is near to Changi jail which is still in use. It was a moving experience.

We then headed to Changi village and a bum boat ride to a small island on the north east of Singapore which is mostly a nature reserve. Bum boats are basic small boats which take 12 passengers for 3 dollars a head to the island , called Palau Ubin.

Bicycles are hired for 8 dollars each { about 1.6 Singapore dollars to the pound } and off we go towards the eastern end which is a mangrove swamp. We have not been biking long before we see monkeys , lizards and birds . I see a wild boar and Cheryl a snake. It is really wild country and we thoroughly enjoy ..

We catch another bum boat back to Singapore. They will only go when they have 12 passengers, so we have a short wait. In Changi village we find a large covered food area with all sorts of ethnic food on offer , mainly oriental . We settle on a Chinese noodle dish and the owner is so pleased we chose him that he watched us for a reaction to the meal. It was a positive experience . We still have a long journey by bus and metro back too the city so we reluctantly leave Changi village. It is dark when we get to the city and we decide to go on the Singapore Flyer which is a big wheel.

Much bigger than the London Eye . We had fabulous views over the nighttime city which was still very much alive on a Sunday evening. We found our way back into the shopping mall we had been in the previous day and found a Superhero restaurant with full size superheroes and full size batmobile etc. !! We then found a Ferrari shop with a 2014 Ferrari Grand Prix car inside. All the shops were open at 9 on Sunday night ..

Monday 20th March . Still very hot But heavy rain.

We sail today at 1630 so decide , because of the rain , to go shopping. Because all pedestrian walkways are covered we do not get wet and we get to an area called

" peoples park centre ". It is a huge complex of small shops . I buy a beautiful silk shirt and Cheryl gets another dress and a few other bits. The day is gone before long and we make our way back to the ship for about 3--30. Every time you pass through the terminal it is passports and luggage checks . It has stopped raining in the afternoon and we watch as the ship sails . No dancing tonight So I take it easy and Cheryl goes to show and then to cinema.

Tuesday 21st March . Very hot.

We arrive at Port Klang , Malaysia at 0800 . The port is 60 k from Kuala Lumpur so we have to take a tour to the city. It does not start very well as a lady misses her footing while exiting the bus at a restroom stop. She falls on to the kerb and it is decided to get a taxi to take her back to the ship. We lose nearly an hour and have sit in the bus because it is so hot outside. The lady had broken her kneecap and had to go to hospital .

We have a guided walking tour of Kuala Lumpur which is a busy city , nothing like Singapore , and the guide had her work cut out keeping us in order. Part of the tour used the metro which was fun. We finished up at the Petronas Towers. An amazing stainless steel building opened in 1998 and a real tourist magnet. We tried to get to the top but the first available tickets were for 1800. So no luck there. Between the twin towers is a large shopping mall which was mainly high class shops and not for us. We returned to the ship at 1830. Rather tired .

Sailed at midnight.

Wednesday 22nd march. Sea day. Hot.

Pretty normal sea day today with nothing out of the ordinary. Cheryl does the laundry today while I play bridge. There was a big turnaround of people at Singapore and so another formal night with Captains cocktail party to welcome the new guests. We decide to go . I find it uncomfortable to have dinner wearing a tuxedo. And straight after dinner I change. Cheryl looks lovely tonight. As usual she goes to the show. And as I am asleep goes on deck to see a lightening show .

Thursday 23rd march A very hot day.

We arrive in Phuket , an island belonging to Thailand , at 0800. Breakfast and ashore for a coach ride north to a small harbour , to embark a large speedboat which was to take us to some small islands a few miles away for a snorkelling experience. It went wrong from the start. The boat was very fast and Cheryl did not like it . She did not complain but was very quiet. on arrival after about 20 minutes. We dropped anchor and were able to snorkel between the boat and a small island with a reef around it.

The boat was poorly equipped to allow comfortable entry into the water with fins and snorkelling mask on. We were sat closest to the exit point and I went in first to wait for Cheryl . She was not happy at all and swallowed some sea water . She then wanted to get out of the water while others were trying to get in .We eventually got her back on the boat and she said for me to go . So I swam to the island and played Robinson Crusoe , until I realised there was a restaurant on this tiny island .Back to reality and I snorkelled around seeing a lot of dead coral , which goes back to the 2004 Tsunami.

This claimed many thousands of lives in the area and much damage. Eventually I return to the boat to find that Cheryl had been sick and was feeling very seasick in the rocking boat. The boat moved to another island and landed on a beach where it was much easier to disembark. I got Cheryl comfortable on the beach and went back snorkelling. When I returned to the beach she was in the sea which was clear and warm . She was making the most of the trip . We eventually came back to Phuket and returned to the ship . Cheryl went straight to bed and stayed there until dinner at 1815. There is a market set up close to the ship and I have free rein , so spend some money , I bought a beautiful silk dressing gown. Cheryl was not happy she could not enjoy the market.She ate very little at dinner and went back to bed. So not a good day . She says no more snorkelling for her. We will see. We still have the Maldives and Red Sea .

I get tickets for a film called Everest in 3D. It starts at 2215 and we wake at 1 in the morning , so miss it.

Friday march 24th sea day and another hot one.

Cheryl is fine this morning and has a good breakfast .A normal sea day which goes very quickly . I go to bridge and Cheryl goes on deck. We dance in the afternoon and evening . now we both have dance shoes it is so much easier to move your feet.

We have sailed 21744 nautical miles since Southampton, and have 7804 to go. ..

We arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow and are going on safari. Hopefully will post this sometime on Sunday. Hope you are all doing okay.

Cheryl and Roger..

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