I made it to my next ship!  It took four flights, two crossings of the Equator, one crossing of the International Date Line, 2 hotels, and 34 flying hours.  But I made it to Sydney, to be greeted at the airport by my smiling cousin.  With less than 24 hours before embarking my ship, we dropped off my gear and took to the underground to train it out to Bondi Beach.  A quick lunch, a beach stroll, and a shopping trip later, I was back at the Holiday Inn, twiddling my thumbs and missing my Rob.  Luckily I happened to be on the same final flight from LA as four familiar embarking crew so at least I had company.  It wasn’t long before my eyelids became too heavy to handle and I was settled into my last land-based bed for the next four months.

Embarkation day is always crazy and is filled with meetings, greetings, and procedural obligations.  Unfortunately I instantly had my hands full, but on the upside that nonstop action helps to keep my mind off that fact that I miss my loved ones.  I have to admit though; I’ve never spent a day in an office before with a more beautiful view.  The Sydney Opera House and I had a staring competition for quite some time that day while I sorted through paperwork and schedules.

Now to the more exciting bit!  Our first stop landed us in Tasmania – definitely a place I never imaged myself visiting, yet once again my expectations have been surpassed by this strange and seemingly limitless lifestyle.  Hobart, Tasmania is a very appealing town.  Eager to make the most of it, a group of us booked a trip to visit the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, home to kangaroos, wallabies, emus, koalas, wombats, and of course, Tasmanian devils.  Being an animal lover myself, I was ecstatic with the experience, which sets itself aside from a zoo in that it’s a sanctuary first and foremost.  The animals were happy, healthy, and adorable; despite some having tragic beginnings – among the residents are babies whose mothers were killed in forest fires or by cars.  Due to the strenuous efforts put forth by the sanctuary’s dedicated team, those animals have now been provided a functional home.  Throughout the experience, kangaroos and wallabies roam free, eager to enjoy the snacks we were provided to share with them.  Feeding a kangaroo is a very exciting experience I am thrilled to be able to check off my list.