According to the specs we've seen, this ship is supposed to be able to do 20 knots, but we haven't seen it do more than 16 knots since we left Sydney. We're guessing (hoping) this was due to a miscalculation of current and wave heights. We were supposed to have 1 day at sea between Cooktown and Darwin, arriving at Darwin at 9AM this morning. However, the captain announced we would not be arriving at Darwin until 1:30PM. For some reason we are traveling a bit slower than planned. But that wasn't the last of the story.
|Docking at Darwin Harbor amid sailboat flotilla|
While we were attending a lecture on Flags of the World this morning, a "code 9" emergency was announced for the crew. We didn't find out until we docked in Darwin after 2PM that a crew member died this morning. We found out later that it was one of the performers, a 24 year old American woman. That's all we know so far. When we docked, the local authorities boarded to investigate. They would not clear anyone to leave the ship until after 4pm.
|Darwin Botanical Gardens|
Of course, that fouled up the tour schedule. One tour went out with an abbreviated itinerary, but all others were cancelled. They substituted a 2 hour tour of the city, botanical gardens and a few other photo stops for anyone who wanted it. We took them up on it.
Darwin is a small city, so the city tour part didn't take long. Our first stop was at the Botanical Gardens. We had a half hour to wander the paths. This is the rainy season, so the gardens were lush.
The next stop was at Dudley Point. The guide said this is a great spot for sunsets and there were several photographers with cameras set up on tripods. All afternoon the sky has been threatening and there had been lightning in the distance. Minutes after we were all back on the bus it started to pour. I hope the photographers all got their cameras covered in time.
|Photographer on Rocks at Dudley Point|
We made one more stop, in the Darwin National Park, but I did not get out this time to take pictures. There was a sign at the entrance to the park advising everyone to cover up to avoid insect bites. I decided I didn't want to take that rick in order to get closer to a few trees.
Today is Sunday so the regular stores in town all closed at 3pm, before we were allowed off the ship. The locals made up for that by having vendors set up in the terminal. We had a few Australian dollars left, so we did a little shopping before we got back on the ship.
Since everyone was getting back late, the regular dinner schedule was off too, so they had an Italian buffet set up to get everyone fed quickly. While we were eating dinner, the captain came on the PA to announce that the authorities are not letting us leave port tonight. They are not allowing any crew members to leave the ship. We are now scheduled to be here until about 12:30PM tomorrow. The good news is that all the tours that were cancelled today are rescheduled for tomorrow morning. The bad news, which we have not received yet, is that our itinerary is probably going to change again. I feel sorry for the people who got on in Sydney and are scheduled to get off in Singapore. They have traveled this far and 2, maybe 3 of the 9 ports will be skipped.