November 23, 2018 – Sea Day

This was the first of two sea days as we traveled to Mooloolaba, Australia. They hosted a special brunch in the dining room with a tasting menu. It was a set menu where they served coffee, muffins and orange juice followed by a plate of about six cold appetizers. This was followed by a plate of about six hot breakfast items followed by three desserts. Way too much to eat but nice to be able to try a variety of things.

Cruise director Jorge interviewed the guest performers called Graffiti Classics. When they performed a few nights earlier, they were missing one of their four members but she had now arrived onboard for the next show. Similar to a girl’s group that had performed onboard earlier, they are four members of a group of 16 contract workers who can perform the same shows. This allows all of them to be able to take other work when opportunities arise… like a Broadway or West End show.

Guest speaker Tim Runyan gave a lecture titled, “It was a Dark and Stormy Night.” The lecture covered five stories about sailing vessels in history and their captains, including the Titanic. This was followed by a lecture with Mark Lax titled, “Sir Joseph Banks-Amazing Florilegium.” Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, while accompanying Captain James Cook on his voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771, collected plants from Brazil, Madeira, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java. Banks and Solander collected nearly 30,000 dried specimens leading to 110 new genera and 1,300 new species, increasing the known flora of the world by 25%. Along with Banks and Solander was a botanical illustrator by the name of Sydney Parkinson who made 674 detailed drawings of each specimen with notes on their color. When they returned to London in 1771, five artists completed 269 watercolors of Parkinson’s drawings. 18 engravers created 743 copperplate line engravings from the watercolors at considerable cost. Banks’ book was never completed during his lifetime and on his death, he bequeathed the plates to the British Museum. It was not until the 1980’s when most of these plates were brought out of the basement and finally printed.

In the afternoon the Australian Cultural Ambassadors gave a performance of the didgeridoo, the clap sticks, singing and dancing. Many of the pieces sounded very similar and it was difficult to differentiate one dance from another.

For dinner we invited mentalist, Brian Ledbetter, to join us in the dining room. We had a nice dinner getting to know Brian better and learning more about his business and of his entertainment lifestyle. He is from the Seattle area and performs for corporate events, parties, on cruise ships and more.

The evening’s entertainment was a comedian from Australia by the name of Darren Sanders. He has been performing comedy all over the world for over 25 years. He was ok but did not blow our socks off.