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Third leg of my World Cruise.

After three days in Sydney, we sailed for Singapore.

I climbed the bridge, which meant walking from off the l/h side of the photo, climbing steep ladders inside the tower, and climbing up to the centre where the flags are. Then we crossed to the other side and came down again. Fantastic views, brilliant day - but cameras were not allowed!
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Once again we're right in the heart of the city. It was the weekend of Gay Pride, and also brilliant sun after weeks of rain, so the crowds were out. This harbourside was full of entertainers. Sydney harbourside
The small house is Cadman's Cottage on George Street, built in 1816, and the oldest house in Sydney. It's now the National Park Information Centre.
Nice view of the Black Watch. My cabin is the black dot at the stern. Black Watch
Bondi beach - not as glamorous as I'd expected, but excellent for surfing. Bondi beach
The official name of Sydney Harbour is Port Jackson, 19km long with a perimeter of 317km. To buy a property on the waterfront requires a healthy seven-figure bank account! This photo shows just a small part of it.Port Jackson
Leaving Sydney, we cruised for a day to Brisbane. Brisbane
Brisbane sits astride the Brisbane River, so we travelled in by river boat. Shore-side buildings - warehouses and utilities - reminded me of the Thames. Brisbane river
Just alongside the river is the City Beach, with life-guards and BBQ points. Families come into the city for breakfast: the children play in the water, a parent prepares breakfast and then everyone goes off to work, school or home. What a good idea! City beach
In some ways it looks like many other cities - a compact high-rise centre and the suburbs stretching as far as you can see. city skyline
To see the Great Barrier Reef we sailed to Hamilton Island, a delightful spot with beautiful unspoilt beaches. Unspoilt because the sea around them is dangerous with box jellyfish and no-one can bathe. The GBR itself is made up of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands over a distance of some 2,600km, and when sailing between mainland and reef, neither is visible from the ship. Hamilton Island
We travelled for nearly two hours on a catamaran, at about 26 knots (about 30mph), first in fairly sheltered waters but then into a 5-metre swell to reach Reef World, a purpose-built platform in the middle of nowhere, where we could see some of the reef for ourselves. Shallower water is just visible as green.the reef
But the sea was choppy, and the water had been stirred up, so photographs (through blue glass!) did not come out well. But we did see lots of fish! the reef
Then to Cairns, a small town near a huge rain forest. Like much of Australia, it had been raining for weeks until we arrived, so the Barron River was swollen. I took the cable-car up and over the rain forest - river near Cairns
- past a thundering waterfall. Barron river waterfall
Darwin is an equally small town, although there is considerable development around the harbour. Darwin harbour
Yet another fabulous beach sabotaged by box jellyfish. The city has created an inland sea-water lake on the opposite side of the road, which is filtered to keep out jellyfish. But it's not quite the same... a beach
Walking around the small town centre, I came across Wayne (yes, it's a girl's name), my cabin stewardess. A very bright lady, married with a son, but like many Filipinos she only gets to go home for part of the year. But she earns good money, by Filipino standards, and most of that goes home to the family. my cabin stewardess
Now for something entirely different. We visited Bali, Indonesia, which is quite unlike anything I'd seen before. beach at Bali
Bali welcomed us with music, quite the most intricate rhythms I've ever come across. It's almost all percussive, mostly bells, and obviously demands great concentration because the players only smile when they've finished! I can't say I like it, but it's fascinating and colourful. Balinese musicians
There's the usual mixture of ancient and modern - photographing the traditional ox-plough from a modern coach. ploughing with an ox
Royal palaces seem to abound. This is Puri Agung Karangasem Palace, usually called the Water Palace, built around 1947 when Karangasem was a kingdom. A natural spring feeds a series of terraced pools. the Water Palace
Threshing is still done by women's hands,smacking a handfull of stalks across a rock. hand threshing
Another palace - the Ujung Water Palace. At the entrance to this palace, the usual collection of people trying to get us to buy stuff. Here in Bali they sometimes got extremely pushy and had to be fended off. Saying "no", even "NO!!!", just inspires greater effort on their part! Ujung Water Palace
Again, something entirely different. Semarang is on the north coast of Java, and what I saw was not pretty. Our taxi (which had to be push-started en route) took us on a bone-shaking short cut from the harbour to the town centre, and all around was run down and dirty. True, there are universities, hotels and some large industries here, but there is also a great deal of poverty (to our western eyes). Semarang
We saw several large posh office blocks, and the town is teeming with cars, lorries and motorbikes. And they drive on the left! Semarang street
Now, is the island sinking or is the sea level rising? We had noticed the sea creeping over the edge of the quayside, but by the time we left Semarang the tide had already swamped the quayside - look at the lorry in the centre distance! quayside uner water
Singapore, wrongly named "Lion City" in the fourteenth century, and the name stuck. It is a frenetic place; the cruise terminal is adjacent to two linked shopping malls where the only thing you cannot buy is chewing gum! It is arguably the largest container port in the world, and getting bigger. Singapore
The island population is about 5½ million, and it is a land of tower cranes. From this high view point, it is easy to see how much development has been taking place. view across the island
Our guide talked about new towns, but they turned out to be (albeit very clean and attractive) multi-storey housing blocks, each with its own shopping centre. It reminded me of the boom in UK New Towns in the sixties and eighties, and the high-rise building style which we abandoned decades ago. housing development
Many people on the cruise remembered the disastrous Fall of Singapore in 1942 and the notorious Changi Prison. Nowadays there is a small museum there, but the prison remains as Singapore's main prison (so we weren't allowed inside!).
The lion rules.


This was the end of the third leg of our cruise.

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