Day 39

Our new lecturer, Terry Bishop, spoke today on “The Complete History of Australia in 45 Minutes” (a joke, I’m sure), a quick synopsis of noteworthy events and their dates in history. In 1788, Captain Philips landed at Botany Bay with the first load of English convicts to settle this area. Later, the colony was moved to Sydney and continued to grow until 1868 when convict transportation ceased. In 1829 Australia was officially claimed by Britain. Later in 1861, the Burke and Wells expedition was sent to explore the interior of the country and to see if there was a water source there (similar to our Lewis and Clark). This apparently ended badly, the details of which we will learn later. Canberra was made the capital of the country in 1913 and Sydney Harbor Bridge was finished in 1932 after 3 years of construction. Terry also added a few anecdotes and insights into Australian culture.

Dr. George Losey spoke later about the “Future of Coral Reefs.” Many reefs are in danger from breakage by humans, tissue loss due to disease, and growth of algae on the coral polyps. In organic pollution, nutrients added to the sea water promote the growth of algae, which, in turn, block sunlight and can kill the reef.

The increased temperature of sea water also has the detrimental effect of bleaching the coral white and possibly killing it. Healthy coral is brown. Scientists are continually monitoring the health of reefs around the world to see if we can remedy these issues and prolong the lives of our corals.

Following these lectures, we played the noontime fun games. Today, it was a form of charades, where one person per team acts out a group of words in 75 seconds. After three rounds (Mac was one of the actors), our team won and received 2 points. We already have over 50 for this segment. We also played a form of bowling and bocce this afternoon, but didn’t come in in the top three. It was still fun.

In trivia today we came in second. Hooray for us! Someday we may even be first.

Tonight, was a Regent past passengers’ cocktail party. We have already been credited with 138 days, so we are gold members. There are 2 men onboard who live on the ship and have already sailed over 2000 days with Regent – amazing! We shook hands with the captain and his staff. Some entertainment was provided. We weren’t very hungry tonight and decided we wanted to eat light, so we chose a table for 2 in the Compass Rose. We had appetizers, salad, and pasta and then walked away. It was painful not waiting for my usual crème brulee (or having a main dish) but we realized we can’t eat these big meals every day.

Since we finished early, we decided to try our hand at the casino. I put in $20 and hit some bonuses and wound up with $145. I immediately cashed out.

Annie Francis, an Australian vocalist, performed again tonight. She sang some country, Hawaiian Wedding Song, Waltzing Matilda (a true Australian favorite), Crying, Cabaret, and others I can’t remember. She was super.

Yours in Travel,

Pat & Mac