Saturday, February 28, 2009


27 Feb 2009 Brisbane – A modern city with a laid back attitude. Quite a bit further north than Sydney and therefore warmer and is the entryway to Australia’s Sunshine Coast. We took a tour to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Mary got to hold a Koala in the “Koala Cuddling Area”. There were lots of other native animals there and we fed a few wallabies (who were apparently well fed since they showed little interest) and got up close to an emu (heard that peculiar base drum sound they make). They had dozens of Koalas in a variety of settings – little ones in their “kindergarten” and some older ones in their “retirement home” and some up in a natural setting. Our visit to the Koala center was cut short because our ship was late arriving in Brisbane (unusually strong current). We had arrived at the sanctuary by bus, but left by riverboat that moved slowly down the Brisbane River toward the city. There were lots of expensive homes along the river and the guide said that there were plenty of crocodiles in it. We also passed an area where there were dozens of fruit bats hanging from the trees (not Mary’s favorite part of the visit).

We were dropped off in the city center. Had a nice lunch and then Mary and our friend Delores did a bit of shopping while Brian had a coffee, read the local newspapers and people watched.

We have 2 days at sea before we arrive at Cairns for our visit to the Great Barrier Reef. There have been lots of interesting lectures aboard on the days at sea. For instance, there are three about the Great Barrier Reef on the sea days before we get to Cairns. One of the lecturers is John Maxtone-Graham. He is a very distinguished Englishman who appears to be in his late 70’s. He has written several books on ocean liner travel and is a terrific speaker. He has given lectures on liner travel, the Titanic disaster, the various Princes of Wales --- and all of them have been excellent. Mary’s father was an ocean liner buff and an English history buff. In fact we know he had at least one of Maxtone-Graham’s books. We often remark on how much he would have enjoyed meeting and talking with him.

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