This morning started with the cruise director Jorge and the morning show featuring two HAL employees who are the lighting engineers onboard the ship. They are both from the Philippines and have been working for Holland America for 25 years now. They both started out with very different jobs, one working as a tailor and the other as an upholsterer onboard. As opportunities arose they moved away from their original jobs to work in the entertainment department.
Ian lectured on things to see and do in our upcoming ports of call of Nomea and Easo, New Caledonia, as well as Mystery Island, Vanuatu. These Pacific islands are known for their beautiful ocean environments and many of the things to do revolve around snorkeling and the beaches.
Next, speaker David Horner spoke about New Caledonia and its history over the last couple of centuries, for example, how it became a French territory, the part it played in the war, its vast nickel deposits and its future as an independent nation.
In the afternoon we attended a lecture by guest speaker Dr. Joe Kess on Vanuatu and New Caledonia. He discussed the pidgin language that many of these pacific islands use as a common language because many islands have their own language or dialect. He also discussed how the French still control New Caledonia after an election earlier this month to decide if they should become independent. A vote will be taken again in 2020 and again in 2023. Even though New Caledonia is independently administered, France spends about 1.5-billion-dollars on the island each year so breaking away could be a costly mistake. China is cozying up to Vanuatu wanting to invest in the island to have a presence in the area.
We had dinner with Joyce, our next-door neighbor on the ship. She was born in the Netherlands but now lives in Arizona and has had a very interesting life.
The evening’s entertainment was another show by guitarist Jesse Kazemek and his wife, Colleen. This show featured the music of the 50’s and 60’s rather than just Beatles music that was featured in their last show.