Day 48

We arrived in Fremantle on schedule with enough time for a quick breakfast and a rendezvous with our excursion group. Today was the end/beginning of a segment so we had to say farewell last night to several friends who were leaving. While the worldies are on excursion, a new group would be processed onboard for the next 16-day segment to Singapore.

The morning excursion began with a brief ride around Fremantle. On a Sunday morning, the area was very quiet, not much was open and families were starting to come out with their strollers and toddlers for a special family day. The bus took us to a ferry stop on the Swan River, not far from our ship. The ferry would bring us to Perth, up the river about 30 minutes. The captain narrated the trip pointing out highlights along the shore. The sight of Perth approaching was picture-worthy. We landed downtown and boarded our bus again for a trip to the Botanical Garden and War Memorial on a ridge overlooking Perth. We had a short time there and got views of Perth, a picture of the War Memorial dedicated to the fallen Australian soldiers of the Great War 1914-1918, and then hustled through a small section of the Kings Park  Botanical Garden before boarding the bus for the next stop.

We arrived at the Perth Mint, the oldest continual operating mint in Australia founded in 1899 as a result of the then recent gold rush. In summary, two prospectors were digging unsuccessfully in Western Australia about 400 miles north of the little village of Perth. After an overnight torrential rain, they went outside their tent and pretty much stumbled over this huge gold nugget that the rain uncovered. That nugget weighed 22 kilos and the rest is history. We had a guided tour through the mint and saw the world’s largest gold coin, a one tonne (that’s the way the Aussies spell it) gold coin. There were display cases of large gold nuggets to admire. Pat touched a gold bar but could not lift it with one hand. There was also a demonstration of melting gold, pouring it into a mold where it solidified rather quickly, enough so it could be dropped into cool water to make it ready for handling and showing us the gold bar. Leaving that exhibit, we went to a scale that would convert your weight into the value of today’s gold price. Pat was worth, in Australian dollars, $4,167,450. I tipped the scale at a value of $7,680,015. Ouch!!

The bus took us back to the ship with not enough time to walk out to Fremantle and get back to the ship for all aboard time. With a new group of passengers, we had to undergo another muster drill. This was our third, so far, and many more to come.

It ended up being a lovely afternoon, so Pat got some sun on our balcony before getting ready for dinner. We had been invited to an 86th birthday party for our friend Art. His wife, Joanie, had planned a special meal for our party of 12, consisting of sea bass appetizer, mushroom soup, surf and turf, and a hot dog shaped carrot cake. It was a great meal with fun company accompanied by several kinds of wine. Art was totally surprised and thrilled.

We just barely finished our meal before the 9:30 show, featuring Jackson and Lauren, two of the Regent singers, in a Cabaret performance. They sang some Broadway tunes and some older melodies. They both have powerful voices.

Tomorrow we will be in Geraldton, on a full day excursion to Kalbarri National Park.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac