Sunday, March 9
Rabaul was once the provincial capital of East New Britain province. After the volcano erupted in 1994, the capital was moved to a town about 12 miles away. Papua New Guinea has been under the control of the Germans, the British, the Australians, and the Japanese before becoming independent.
I awoke about 8:40 to a beautiful sunny day. The port presentation made it sound like it would be hazy due to the ash from the volcano. There were school children singing on the pier below my balcony. My tour was not until 12:30 so I stayed in where it is cool (outdoor temp is about 86F/30C). The man came to fix the partition on the balcony at about 9:30 so it was good I got up early.
Since I was up and I was going to miss lunch, I went to the Lido for breakfast. I then took some pictures from the starboard side of the ship out to some of the other islands.
Met in the Queens Room for my tour "Pacific Memories". We left around 12:30 in a large minivan/small bus (held around 18 with the jump seats). Our first stop was the Kokopo War Museum. They had a number of rusty artifacts out in the grounds (rather than being kept away from the elements).
Then we went to the War Cemetery. The tour booklet said there were soldiers and natives buried there but we only saw the graves of Australian soldiers. It is kept up by the Australians and was very serene and beautiful.
Our last stop was a Japanese Barge Tunnel where the Japanese hid some of their boats during the war. When the Japanese arrived they built a series of tunnels for protection throughout the area for various purposes. Many of the native men were made into slave labourers (women and children had been evacuated to Australia before the Japanese arrived).
Our guide, Joyce, told us about beetle nuts (sp?) that many of the adults chew on. Evidently they give some kind of a high. Most people grow their own although we did see them for sale at the street markets. These turn their mouths and teeth (what they have - not sure there are any dentists!) red.
The tour booklet said we were supposed to go to a village for a cultural show but that did not materialize. Although nothing will likely happen, I think I will bring it to the excursion desk's attention.
We arrived back at 3:30 which was the time we were supposed to sail. We were about a half an hour late leaving because another group was not back.
Although the volcano spewed ash all day (which it seems to do all day every day), I did not come back as dirty as we had been warned.
Watched the sail-away by the Lido Pool as usual and then back to cool off in my stateroom.
Went to the 7:45 trivia in the pub. I had 9 out of 20 correct.
Six of us for dinner tonight. The show was "La Danza" with the Royal Cunard Dancers. It was a repeat but I had not gone to the previous one. After the show I tried again to star gaze with my new app but it was overcast.
We have five sea days before we get to Japan (and cold weather😞).
Street market across from the pier
Enjoying the beautiful blue water on a hot Sunday
Beetle Nuts at top
Children collecting donations (many of the people do have blondish curly hair)
Many of the rusting artifacts from WWII
Two views of the War Cemetery
One of the Japanese tunnels
Four street scenes
Ash spewing from the volcano
Smooth sailing until next time!