April 30th, 2016 - Day 28 - Docked at Darwin, Australia

Our view is of the ocean this morning.

We had breakfast in the Terrace Café.  Pat had her fruit and Jim had his oatmeal.

We arrived in Darwin at 11 AM this morning and docked along the pier.

We had a nice conversation with Kent, Rachel, and Thatcher and so sad to hear about their rottweiler, Onyx, having bone cancer with a life expectancy of 4 to 6 months left.  She is the sweetest dog.  It is just heartbreaking to hear this.  She is 8 1/2 years old.

We had lunch at the Terrace Café.  Jim had a piece of margarita pizza and Pat had some hummus and pita bread with some tabouli salad.

Our tour today was to a Darwin Museum and Crocodylus Park & Zoo.  We thought it was a odd combination but it was a great tour.  We met at 1 PM with our guide Jack.

Darwin is named after the famous evolutionist, Charles Darwin.  The city is the capital of the Northern Territory and the gateway to several Southeast Asian countries.

Darwin is a cosmopolitan city that boasts a population made up of people from more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds.

Our first stop was to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.  This museum overlooks Fannie Bay.  We saw some collections of aboriginal, South East Asian and oceanic art and local history.  They had a Cyclone Tracy room that showed the aftermath of the cyclone that hit Christmas 1974.

We enjoyed an exhibit of high school students art and we got to vote on our favorite.  Pat loved a table that was made of a tree stomp at the bottom and the roots of the tree with a round piece of glass on top of the roots.  Jim liked a 4 picture sketch of two people dancing and aged to skeletons at the end.

The gift shop at the museum had a necklace made by a local artist that Jim found for Pat that we bought for Pat's souvenir.  The girl helping us had on a great dress that she made herself.  It was a beautiful floral silk fabric that went  to the floor and reminded me of a sleeveless caftan.  She said the weather is so hot here that she makes her own clothes. Today the weather was 92° and 75% humidity.

Our next stop was to the Crocodylus Park & Zoo.  This park is famous for its work on crocodile research. It is operated by wildlife research consultants.  We were able to observe the crocodiles in the Parks Lagoon as well is in their pens, and we participated in a crocodile feeding.  The crocodiles leaped several feet in the air for their food which was a chicken breast on a string attached to a stick.  Pat was able to have her picture taken holding a juvenile crocodile which had his mouth taped shut.

We were able to walk around the park/zoo and see the other animals they have as well.  We saw Timor ponies, kangaroos, meerkats, dingoes, wolves, birds, wallaroo, wallabies, cassowaries, turtles, ostriches, emus, tigers, ocelots, baboons, and lions.  Pat got a good video of the lions growling at each other.  The lion also tried to spray us to mark his territory but we got out of the way before it hit us.

It was so hot walking around the park & the zoo as we had forgotten our water on the bus.  We had to go in the shop and buy a Pepsi to cool off.  They sold crocodile purses for $1500 and men's crocodile belts for $200.  They were also selling crocodile food but we passed on all of it.

We stopped at a store called Coles which reminded us of a Air Force BX that we have been to in Ramstein, Germany.  Some of the people on the bus wanted to get some Australian wine to take back to the ship.

On our way back to the pier we drove around the city and saw some of the government buildings, courthouse and the main party street.

We shopped at some of the booths inside the pier terminal and found some stone and bead necklaces.

For dinner we ate in the Grand Dining Room.

Jim had  Molten Cheese Soufflé with Chive Veloute for his appetizer.  For his salad he had Baby Spinach with Toasted Pinenuts and Warm Bacon Dressing.  For his main course he had Potato Waffle with Steamed Asparagus, Black Truffle Cream and Wilted Spinach.

Pat had Maui Red Onion Soup with Ginger Foam.  She also had the same as Jim for her salad and main course. 

Good night!