web analytics
When Vacation Plans Change

When Vacation Plans Change

facebooktwitterpinterestby feather

Plans can change and will change whether you like it or not. The first change to our plans came at the airport as I arrived. Can you take an earlier flight? A storm is headed to Dallas, Texas and we need to get as many people to Dallas as possible. My travel companion was on her way. We agreed to take the earlier flight and notified the other 2 in our party. Everyone made it onto the earlier flight. When we arrived in Dallas we heard that our original flight had been cancelled. How lucky was that.

We boarded our flight to Sydney, Australia and then sat for 2 hours while being de-iced twice. Arriving in Sydney and going through customs we all had Global Entry cards to facilitate the experience. I had to go through twice – when it says take off your “sunglasses” it means take off any form of glasses.  Another in our party had problems with her passport scanning.  Be prepared for problems. Our driver from Redy2Go was patiently waiting for us beyond the baggage claim. He loaded up the van with our suitcases and away we went. Upon arriving at the hotel we put away our stuff.   My companion and I went out to have lunch and spent the day exploring Sydney on foot. All went well.

Three days later we boarded the Holland America Line Oosterdam. The suite is lovely. Our excursions were planned. We were going to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji and back to New Caledonia and then Sydney. Little did we know that we were about to be part of history being made. Sounds exciting doesn’t it. It was about to get a whole lot more exciting.

We heard of a young girl, Cyclone Pam, headed in our direction the day before our first scheduled stop in Mare, New Caledonia.  Captain P. Bos made the decision to skip Mare and head to Kuto in Ile Des Pins, New Caledonia which was located away from the storm. We have come to the South Pacific to experience the island life.  It’s a beautiful island. The people welcome the visitors with music, dance and woven flowered headbands. A tour of the island takes visitors to the grotto which was once used as a hideaway for a female chieftain who’s life was threatened by her male relatives who wanted her position. After a short walk through the jungle we come upon the large cave structure which houses a shrine to this powerful female chiefain. We also visited the oldest church on the island which was built in the 1800’s. One priest serves this church and a smaller one several miles away. They have 5 generators on the island to supply their electricity and for charging their electronic devices. While they may live the simple life on Kuto, they do have cell phones and computers.

Our second day we stopped at Mare, New Caledonia, which was mostly for the beach lovers. It poured rain on and off all day.

Young lady, Pam, is now a full grown woman according to our Captain.  Our next visit to Port Vila, Vanuatu has been cancelled and we headed to Luganville, New Caledonia located 250 miles away from the eye of the storm.

The wind is howling. The waves are rising. Cyclone Pam has hit the South Pacific as a category 5 storm. The first Category 5 cyclone in 30 years. Port Vila, Vanuatu was under siege by this very unpleasant lady. It has been reported that there have been dozens of deaths (44 reported on the news from one province) and a great deal of damage as the eye past over them. Passengers aboard the Holland American Line Oosterdam are trusting that Captain Bos will steer them to safer waters.  He has done a suberb job so far.  The ship is actually between 2 cyclones – Pam who is category 5 and Nathan who is currently a 2 but who may grow to a 4 or 5 within the next couple of days. He could become a threat on the way back to Sydney, Australia if he grows larger. Pam is set to cause some problems on the northern island of New Zealand now. We visit there in our 3rd week. Nathan is the one for us to look out for in the next week when we headed back to Sydney.

March 14, 2015
We would have been in Port Vila yesterday but we were diverted to Luganville, Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu.  It suffered a lot of damage from the storm but no injuries or deaths.  Port Vila was not so lucky.  It is now a world disaster site.  Our prayers are with them.

Today we visited a village that welcomed us to their ceremony. The Chief of the village explained the Sand Writing, Kava and Fire Walking ceremony. The villagers were all very friendly especially the children. We went to the Water Music Experience this afternoon. It was wonderful. Six women entered the pool and performed using only their hands in the water. Each creature in the world makes a sound and they interpreted the sounds they make using water music.  Only women are allowed to perform this ceremony.  Only men are allowed to be in the hut to prepare for the dancing.  It was impressive as they come out of the hut with their spears ready and pointed toward their prey. We then attended a second Kava ceremony of the day. This time the Kava was stronger. It makes your tongue numb and later you feel relaxed. The natives claim it is better than liquor because it calms you and you have nice dreams. I didn’t drink enough for the dreams but I was relaxed.

We are currently headed toward Fiji which is out of the storm area. Join me in a couple of days for the Fiji experience. Visit my Facebook page “Tumble Along Tales” for more photos and video. Internet is slow and frequently interrupted so please be patient for the photos.

facebooktwitterpinterestinstagramby feather
facebooktwitterpinterestby feather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *