I have just reached the halfway point of my voyage and with just over two weeks of the Grand Asia Voyage to go, I am sailing my way to PagoPago at a steady thirteen knots. With flat calm seas and a slight breeze from the south, our estimated time of arrival is the 19th of November, which for everyone reading this would be tomorrow. However for me I am crossing the international date line at around 11pm tonight so I am living the 18th for 48 hours. Our last port of call was the Island of Fiji yesterday.
The watch schedules have now been rotated and I am now on the 4:30 to 8:30 am watch. Believe me, the early starts are not as bad as they sound. This is by far the best watch for learning purposes as this is the time period in which the ship makes all of her arrivals into port. Being on the bridge entering new ports is always an adventure, as in some of these far remote islands we are by far the biggest vessel to ever dock.
Before Fiji the ship visited the port of Rabaul in Papau New Guinea. So far this was the most memorable arrival for me. As we made our final turn for the approach to the dock, we were greeted by hundreds of dolphins as well as the active and still very much smoking volcano which in recent years erupted and devastated the town. After Rabaul we headed to the port of Honiara, on the island of Guadacanal. We were the first cruise ship to dock here in thirteen years. Berthing a 234 metre ship alongside a 150 dock is a feat in itself.