Sunday, 8 May 2011

Norfolk Island Port-of-Call

Norfolk Island stamps issued for cruise visits
The arrival of a P&O cruise ship to Norfolk Island in December 1932 was an historic occasion. And after a hiatus of over 70 years, the arrival of P&O's 'Pacific Sun' ship in March, 2010, was an even bigger event for the Norfolk Islanders. It marked the start of regular cruise ship visits to the island as part of Pacific itineraries.
   We had been looking forward to our visit as part of the 'Bounty Discovery' cruise. A full day on the island was scheduled and there was an impressive array of shore tours to choose from.
   Unfortunately, the weather didn't co-operate. Strong winds meant heavy sea swells. The tenders were delayed going ashore by several hours till the waves calmed a little. This meant some of the tours had to be cancelled or re-scheduled. I felt sorry for the locals who rely on tourism for a large part of their income.
    When my husband, Peter, finally got ashore, he thoroughly enjoyed the intriguingly named 'Misery, Mutiny and Majesty' walking tour. Encapsulating the Polynesian, convict and mutineers history of Norfolk, it gave the ship's passengers an insight into what life was like in this far away, nineteenth century British colony.
   A part of Norfolk Island I found fascinating was (strange as it may seem) the cemetery! Many of the gravestones are carved with the stories of how the people met their deaths. The convicts' headstones were, in some cases, embellished with skull & cross bones motifs.
   Next stop - Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia!

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