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The Better Side, Continued

In western Australia we traveled north to Geraldton and Exmuth where the dreaded flies started finding me. Mosquito net to the rescue. Flies, snakes, spider, and sweltering heat. We went to a 100 yr old farm in Geraldton. I can just imagine the new bride settlers getting off the boat and wondering what they got themselves into. No thank you!

Days at sea and at port during this period were filled with first shock then gratefulness followed by awe as Paul and I closely monitored the saga of our beloved pet Carbon, our dear friend Lucky, and the alligator unfortunate to cross their path. Carbon unknowingly decided to cool off in a golf pond occupied by a 7 ft gator, and was attacked. fortunately our hero Lucky came instantly to the rescue, jumped in the pond, distracting the gator long enough for Carbon to get away. Lucky escaped himslf unscathed. The ensuing forestorm of media coverage sumply blew me away. Tv, radio, newspaper, and web magazin media picked up the human interest story across the country. Across the pond too in Svensk Golf. Fellow passengers even commented on seing coverage in their hometown stations. Interestingly enough our hometown media never connected the dots, and the story never got big enough for a reporter to track us down. Fame at home was restricted to Facebook. big enough! Lucky reports Carbon is at 2000% swimming happily in pools, and appropriately respectful of ponds that chomp.

Somewhere between Australia and Bali the ship conducted a ship building contest. Buoyed by my success in the photo contest and a few years ago at a district boating squadron event, I jumped in feet first, stating a couple weeks ago. My goal, a cargo holding version of the famous New Zealand yacht that won America's Cup in the nineties (the boat had to hold cargo, as many cans of soda as she could hold). Over a couple weeks I turned a three ft by one ft cardboard box into a boat. Carboard hanger sections, chopsticks, dinner napkins, and glue into a four foot mast complete with working sals. Finally a plastic sorage container sawed in half to provide a watertight wide base combined with a mesh ballast system to keep the whole thing stab le. Paul and Bill offered technical support during construction, and helped with the physical part of carrying, sailing, and filler her with cans. Two more deckhands, fellow passengers Harry and Peggy fron Jersey provided back up support. I christened her Black Dog Magic, claiming the kiwi design team originally couldn't decide between a racing yacht and a cargo ship. Competition was stiff. Captain Fluffy had won this for years, and had supplies secretly stashed on board from year to year. A latecomer clearly knew something about sailing, even using a wind meter to plan his operation. A fourth boat had clever twin outboards using rubber bands. Our crew never faltered, we sailed, we took on cargo, and didn't sin, settling into second place. A great victory followed by celebration cocktails through the night.

Las stop, Bali, is the beginning of our Asian segment, beaches and snorkeling. Perfect way to relax after our tough competition. The four Seasons was heaven! Immaculate grounds, clever pos, gorgeous vistas, and soft lounge chairs. I dropped into a shady spot and din't budge, except the occasional dip. Awwwww! That lunch. 2 million+ local currency. Yikes! Back to the ship where we already paid for it! the next day on the other side of Bali we found a cozier resort with a ni ce beach and decent snorkeling. I stayed in the water until I turned into a prine. Bill scored a $15 hour long massage he couldn't stop raving about. Bali is truly an island of contrasts! A garbage filled beach only a walk away from a world class resort, with a well cared for local resort investing in rebuilding their reef system. amazing. Last stop before coming aboard, shopping at the mob scene open market. I found some pendants I could convert to magnets, while Bill and Paul scored beet t-shirts. Finally Paul held up high his remaining currency. offering it up for the best deal. He settl;ed for a t-shirt offered with a year warranty and a lifetime guarantee. the Balinese do have a sense of humor!

Last night we arrived. An invite to the Captain's table for the welcome gala night of this segment. I got out the new evening gown I bought for this cruise, saving it for just such an occasion. Dressed in our finest we looked fabulous! We were seated across from the Captain, Paul next to an English couple from Woerster. He knew where Stevens Point was because the company he worked for acquired Joerns. bill sat next to another Engloish couple, but no locan connection. It was a pleasant evening with genuinely nice people. We were out of our leugue, but still felt welcome. Now that is true class!

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