27. ⚓️Voyage Across the Indian Ocean, And This Time I’m the Passenger; 🛳R.M.S. Strathmore –

Puri and lamb curry, yum!!  Yes, you read it right, the meal served on board the TEAL flight from Nadi to Sydney helped eased any tensions I experienced up there in that wild blue yonder!  I’m trying real hard to remember this; I think it was about a 6-7 hour flight and I’m sure I took a good long nap.

When we landed in Sydney there was a bus which took those of us who were continuing on to the P&O Liner towards Bombay and beyond (London), to a Sydney hotel for the night.  I believe it was called the Wentworth.

One of the Beautiful White Sisters by which the five sister ships became known, was awaiting our boarding the next afternoon; the R.M.S. Strathmore.  There would be four ports of call en route to Bombay.

I was set-up in a cabin which was shared with a fellow Hindu passenger from Fiji; nice guy, calm and kept mainly to himself.  He too was headed for England.

From Sydney we traveled south along the Pacific Ocean, turning right to now head west through the Bass Strait with Tasmania port-side, to dock at Victoria’s Melbourne.  We arrived the next morning.  

How exciting!  This was the first time I traveled on a luxury liner not to mention, as a free-to-relax-and-enjoy passenger and not the ship’s staff!   It completely changed the dynamics of this journey.  A different aspect and certainly not one to be missed!

We were there till nightfall and then onward in a northwest direction, passing Kangaroo Island and to the next port of South Australia’s Adelaide.  Another morning arrival for a full day’s stop.  

Once more we depart in the evening for our continued journey out on the open sea.  As we traveled west as we made our way through where the Great Australian Bight mingles with the Indian Ocean.

We went around the southern tip of Western Australia to arrive at the next port of Perth.  This would be the ship’s final continental port; it was just over an 1100 nautical mile journey from Adelaide.  Our ship docked for the full day and night.

Morning came again, as she tends to do, and we put out to sea.  This time our voyage took us clean though the Indian Ocean, crossing the Equator and looking towards Ceylon.

The air at sea to me was sensational!  It wasn’t hot or cold, it was amazing, it felt so good, so comforting and in a big way, helped to heal my soul.

At just over 3100 nautical miles this voyage was four nights at sea, setting us into the Northern Hemisphere, and on the 5th day we docked in Colombo.

This port was calling to me and so I disembarked in Ceylon to pay my respects to this ancient land and also to see and taste whatever I could in a full day’s time.  I enjoyed my visit, I did.  The seafood I sampled was absolutely delicious!  

The sights were fulfilling, the people beautiful and finally, a bunch of us took a bus up to Kandy Mountain where I experienced a real visual treat!

The following morning our ship departed for what would be my final destination via the R.M.S. Strathmore; Bombay, India.

There was plenty to do on board.  While strolling the decks was certainly my favorite, besides sampling the morning and afternoon tea spread, there was swimming, bowling, shuffleboard, poker, dancing and mechanical horse racing too.  

I probably should’ve used the gym more often but I thought being skinny was good enough.  The ship’s library looked interesting but in the end I ignored that to!

The ship took us around the southernmost tip of India and now in the Arabian Sea we passed Kerala, Goa and finally reached Bombay.  This journey, just over 800 nautical miles took nearly 3 days.  We arrived in the dark hours of the early morning.  

After breakfast it was time to leave this ocean voyage behind me and begin my adventures in India.  On  my way to London of course!  I disembarked this beauty for the final time and touched the soil of my father’s homeland for the first time.

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Strathmore and her four sister ships were given white-painted hulls and buff-coloured funnels.

http://www.pandosnco.co.uk/strathmore.html

R.M.S. Strathmore  ~  After a little research I have discovered this ship belonging to P&O Steam Navigation Co was launched by the Duchess of York  (the Empress Consort of India, wife of King George VI and of course the Queen Mother), 10 days before I was born – how about that!

10. Kiwis For a Queen and Aussie Burgers For Me! – part 1

It was four days journey to Wellington, our first harbor in New Zealand and its capital city.  A portion of the lumber and produce was unloaded here.  

Looking around to absorb all I could I felt as though I had arrived into another world.  What beautiful hills and a city layout that made for a stunning sight.  And windy, oh yes!  *hold onto your hats and take some deep breaths!

I was able to enjoy two days here at this marvelous location -never enough time for most of the ports I found myself in- and now that I am seeing it, even a little tempted to move here:  I had a couple of female pen pals that were from here in New Zealand and we had become fairly well-acquainted over time.  One of them even visited me in Fiji with her family.  What a grand time that was; good memories.

Edging along the Canterbury Plains is Christchurch and this was our second port to unload more lumber and Fiji produce.  These plains stretch out to the Southern Alps; yes I did say Alps!  Magnificent is just a thought and I had two days to enjoy that.  I remember seeing a lot of sheep and thinking how quaint it all appeared to be.

Onward to Dunedin to unload the last of the New Zealand cargo.  We had loads of lumber still but that was for Australia.  I got lucky with three days here in this wonderful South Island city!  

I saw a lot of beautiful old buildings, inviting residential streets and lovely green city parks interwoven throughout the city.  Nature respected.

It was about the last week in January as we were finishing with the New Zealand/Australia run and this is warm weather season below the Equator, remember.

Well what have we here?  The Gothic seems to have caught up with us!  It was here in Dunedin when I finally laid eyes on the very beautiful, young ++Queen Elizabeth II; she was waving to her subjects of this absolutely gorgeous country with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh by her side, from the balcony of the Dunedin Town Hall (I do believe that was the building where I saw her).  I overheard in some conversation that she was there to enjoy a royal concert that night.

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* I asked some questions to learn a little more about my current surroundings.  Most fascinating to me was the windy, intoxicating air.  Let’s see if I remember this correctly; Wellington sits on this southern point of the North Island of New Zealand, basically where the Tasman Sea meets up with the South Pacific Ocean [Cook Strait] and between these two islands, the wind comes in from the west and will squeeze its way through a gap there and this apparently causes it to pick up speed.  See?  It has cleansed the air along its way – Chicago’s match below the Equator perhaps?

++ It was just recently that I read somewhere of Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity (at least at that time) among the people of New Zealand.  It was said 4 out every 5 people came out to see her during that coronation tour.  While I certainly hadn’t planned my day around seeing her, I got lucky and happened upon the chance sighting, quite clearly too I might add.  I was glad of it too.