Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

favorite boat rides, cruises and ferries

Posted by Hippobean at 4:15 PM
In Hippo's travels:

1. Doubtful Sound , South Island,
New Zealand -
Once onboard the Fiordland Navigator, hot soup and rolls. We set out on the sound while the freak storm blew on us with rain and 50mph wind. On the bow deck we had to hang on to the railings to keep standing up right. We came to an arm and the wind so fierce, it literally whipped up the sea, so the capt turned the boat around. Front lounge with monitors showing the location of the boat and the depth of the sound. afternoon tea with savory scones. docked at a sheltered cove and the tenders were lowered for touring the cove, swimming in the frigid water and kayaking. Gorgeous haunting triangular glacial mountains in the rain, dolphins and seals swimming along the boat. Fantastic buffet dinner, variety of salads, pesto chicken, lamb and beef, sweet and regular potatoes. After dinner chats with lots of coffee and tea. Around 11, i stepped out on the open deck to commune with the quiet black sky with the only lights from 2 other boats anchored a bit away. Stuffy looking out the window from our cabin the whole time. Mesmerized! breakfast the following morning another feast. the usual bacon, pork n beans, scramble eggs, tomatoes, mushroom, sliced bread and fresh fruits. then we stopped at a quiet cove for a quiet moment to listen to the sounds of the Sound. Memorable experience and most incrediblly fantastic sea journey like no other.

2. Star Ferry from the island of Hong Kong to Kowloon -
Crepuscular lights illuminating the island's skyscrapers. 10 mins slow moving on the choppy waters on the Victoria Harbour. open deck above and below, soft breeze. Even with the underwater tunnel, the Hippo still prefers the slow moving ferry. Most romantic ferry in the world

3. Sognefjord Cruise, Norway -
Norway's deepest and longest fjord. The stormy morning in Gudvagan, waiting to board the boat, I looked at the cloudy sky, the mist and the fog and the wetness of it all. Streams of water running down the cliff faces. Hauntingly beautiful. Every time someone mentions Norway, Sognefjord comes to my mind. Wild, steep, high and deep. Hippo loves mountains and fjords the most and this water journey offered both. Memorable Moment in Hippo's Incredible Moments.

4. Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam -
We had the boat all to ourselves. Lunch was steamed whole shrimps with the heads on, deep fried spring rolls, grilled calamary, cucumber and tomato salad, a pork dish and warm cabbage salad, with steamed rice of course. It was one of the best seafood meal I've ever had. After lunch, we went on the top deck to admire the stunning bay with its emerald waters and the thousands limestone peaks while we cruised the bay. We came upon a fishing boat and the fisherman pulled the net filled with prawns so huge, small flat fish and crabs. visited the sung sot cave, not the deepest I've been in, but the main chamber so vast, it blew me away. the cave ceiling resembled desert sand floor. By the evening all the boats parked in a designated area for the night. Dinner was pan fried prawns, with heads on of course, grilled oysters wrapped in foils, crab meat on sticks, papaya and carrot salad, cold cabbage salad, whole fish from the bay covered in a fishing net made of carrot, and yellow curry chicken. And the customary steamed rice. I went on deck to commune with the night sky, the quiet and the smell and the night ambience of the bay. Quite a magical nite, stars abound, flat quiet water, nearby boats illuminated, and the sound of distant music. Peaks all around in silhouette. Loved nights like these.

5. Catamaran Sailing, Tasman Bay, South Island, New Zealand -
Gliding effortlessly through the pristine waters of the tasman bay in the Abel Tasman national park aboard a catamaran, surrounded by secluded coves, golden beaches, islands, fur seals lazying on the rocks, and lush native forest was our first morning on the south island. I've never been sailing on a catamaran before. Sat on the right bow with water lapping under the tramp, wind and sun on my face. glorious! Since the tide was high, the captain took us into a small cove where normally it would be covered in sand and one could walk from shore to shore. a few people were sunbathing on the shores. nice treat! We had coffee, tea and NZ cookies onboard while admiring the bay. we've set sailed from the kaiteriteri beach and arrived mid day at anchorage bay and had our packed lunch of sandwiches, apple, muffins and chocolate. Very lovely and relaxed sailing on a gorgeous bay in a brilliant morning. Loved it!

6. Ferry from Perast to Kotor, Bay of Kotor, Montenegro -
Very refreshing boat ride leaving Perast, on the bay of kotor, east europe's largest fjords (she loves fjords), to Kotor. Perast a very picturesque town with venetian flavors. the panorama offered beautiful palaces and Venetian red roof houses with gardens, protected by a venetian fortress and dominated by the church of St Nikola. All these can be admired from the ferry ride as Perast sat on the bottom of a lush mountain with the towering cliffs of the Dinaric Alps as backdrop. Spectacular sight. The wind blew on my face on this bright and hot summer day as the ferry sped up. Really loved this short water journey.

7. Cruise the Gulf of Oman, Muscat, Oman -
I stood on the bow of the vessel catching the oncoming wind and the salty seawater splashes, feeling like I was flying on the sea of Oman. The desert heat was forgotten. The Omani coast was rugged with wondrous caves and rock formations, natural rock arches where our boat cruised under, secluded private beaches, and the 1000 rooms Shangri-la Resort hotel.

Back to the Muscat coast, the boat went onto the bay with the two Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Al Mirani at the mouth of the bay that reminded me of where Perseus struck the Kraken in Clash of the Titans. Finally I could see up close the rock graffiti on the side of the hill that said Perseus with a Norwegian flag below the watch towers. Day was sunny and hot and sea breeze strong and cooling. A grand finale of the Omani trip. A fantastic scenic way to say goodbye to the Sultanate of Oman.

8. Hurtigruten, Norway -
Four nights on the Hurtigruten, the mail carrier ferry along Norway's jagged coastline, from Kirkenes to Trondheim. Scenic amazing natural wonders, charming fishing villages, quaint towns, rare wildlife. cruising in the midnight sun. Ports of call included Vardø, Nordkapp, Honningsvåg, Hammerfest, Tromsø, Harstad, Lofoten, Bodø, Ørnes, Brønnøysund, and disembarked at Trondheim. No entertainments on board but just sitting on the deck and letting the wonderful scenary passed by surpassed any human made entertainment. Once in a lifetime sea journey. Love love the Norwegian coast! Norway, Hippo's no 2 favorite country!

9. Mediterranean Cruise on the Marco Polo -
Hippo's firt ever cruise. Sailed from Istanbul, fantastic ports of call, Kusadasi (Turkey), Delos, Mykonons, Santorini (Greece), Valleta (Malta), Sorrento and finally Rome. total of 1526 nautical miles with 1 day at sea. wonderful sea journey from the sea of Marmara, through the Dardanelles into the Aegean sea, to the Ionian and finally to the Tyrrhenian. The best the Mediterranean offers. 12 decks and with a length of 578f and 22,080CRT tonnage, smaller ship, more intimate, not crowded. 19.5 knots cruising speed, calm even with the sometimes rocky Mediterranean. the Hippo took 2 open ocean cruises after this one but the first cruise is always the best. Moreover, what cruises can beat the ones on the Mediterranean?
MediumSnowie on board --->

10. Inter Island Ferry, New Zealand
Sitting at the bow with floor to ceiling window in front, we had good views during the interisland voyage. Exhilirating experience passing through the cook strait. i love ferries and this one was quite big with multiple decks, different compartments with comfy sofas, a cafeteria with acceptable menu, a gift shop and open decks in front and on the sides. Very comfortable ride and I went out to the open deck in front from time to time for the view and fresh air. Ate my left over pappardelle on the boat. 4PM ferry actually turned out pretty nice because as we approached the south island, the hills on the Queen Charlotte Sound were spectacular in the late afternoon sun. as we entered the Marlborough Sound, dusk made all the hills surreal and the picton habour look so romantic. One of the best ferries the Hippo's ever taken.

Hippo loves water journeys, so 4 Runners Up:

1. Cruising the Nile, Egypt -
Very early morning flight to Aswan to board the boat to go downstream towards Luxor. A stop at the awesome Abul Simbel temple, Karnak (horrible cheesy lights and sounds show at night), and Luxor which is my favorite temple in the area. Very comfortable cabins, good food but the views along the Nile were bland except when getting close to the temples. Not as spectacular as one would expect. but nonetheless quite an experience floating on the infamous nile.

2. Java-Bali Ferry, Indonesia -
11AM ferry to Gilimanuk in Bali. Due to the sea currents, instead of cruising in a straight line to Bali, the boat had to first go north, then turned to head back south, thus the crossing took almost 45 mins. I've enjoyed this ferry crossing very much. Sitting on the open deck, we got to view the Ketapang harbour on the java side, with boats docking and leaving, the indian ocean on the 1 side and the bali sea on the other, and the bali island with its many volcanoes, and the Gilimanuk harbour. Cozying up on my lap, Snowie, looked this way and that trying to catch all the views. I guess he's enjoyed the ride too.

3. Boat ride to Salto Tres Mosqueteros, Cataratas do Iguaçu, Brazil -
Very fun and wet boat ride on the Iguaçu river, right up and underneath the cataratas in the Brazilian side of the Iguazu falls. When the boat was ready to go, the attendants said 'have a nice bath'.

4. Gondola ride, Venizia, Italia -
A lifetime ago. Floating on the dirty waters of Venice's canals, slowly passing by crumbling old houses, under short arched bridges and onto the open docks of St Mark's square. So highly romanticized but the Hippo did not find it romantic. However, once in Venice, one must experience it. After all, how can one be on a floating city without being on a gondola or a water taxi?


Naples to Palermo Overnight Ferry, Italia -
My first glimpse of Sicilia was from the overnight ferry as it approached Palermo. it was 6:30 in the morning and Mount Pelegrino greeted me with magnificent colors.

As the overnight ferry started to pull away from the Napoli harbor, Vesuvio's summit, the still active volcano loomed in front of us most real. At the stern of the SNAV Sicilia, contemplating the now lite last remnants of the Naples protective wall while as the evening light faded, artificial lights came on creating lines of the houses spiriling up the side of the mountain like lava flows. ultimate pleasure of seeing the coastal lights diminished right before our eyes and a fantastic silhouette of Visuvius as a backdrop. Then we passed by the island of Capri. Out on deck, pitch darkness, lights on land, and the constant sound of waves, an occassional splash.

Again such settings always made me sentimental. Travelling to Sicily was a dream come true. And doing it with best of friends made this journey on the Tyrrhenian sea most sentimental.

Vieni c'è una strada nel bosco
Il suo nome conosco
Vuoi conoscerlo tu
Vieni c'è una strada nel cuore
Dove nasce l'amore
Che non muore mai più
Laggiu tra gli alberi
Intrecciato coi rami in fior
C'è un nido semplice
Come sogna
Il tuo cuor
Vieni c'è una strada nel bosco
Il suo nome conosco
Vuoi conoscerlo tu.



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