Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Around Australia Cruise - Sea Princess - Albany

The day started off cloudy and cool but I had plans for the day so off we went.

I had tried to make arrangements for a private tour but the major (only?) tour company in the area, Busy Blue Bus, told me that Princess books almost all of their vehicles. But they did let me know that they offer a 4-hour 22-passenger bus tour that can be booked the morning we dock. It is their The Gap Plus Natural Wonders tour and costs AUD$50. I was told they would have a kiosk set up right where the ship shuttle buses drop off passengers in town, with the tour starting at 9 30.

First, a heads up to anyone going to Albany from the US. The name is NOT pronounced like the capital of New York State, that is 'Awl-bany.' Instead, first say 'Al' as in a man's name, and then follow it up with 'bany.' If you pronounce it wrong you'll get some very strange looks. And the times we did it right, we got big grins and 'great job!'

Anyway, not wanting to be shut out of the tour, we were in town a bit after 8 am and got our tickets. We then wandered, browsed through a Target :) and the day got sunny and warmer. And it is a good thing we got our tickets early. Others from our Roll Call who wanted to take the tour and didn't get into town until 9:00 am found the tours sold out. And, yes, tours. It was so popular, the company put another bus on the same routing, leaving at 10 am.

The tour was a scenic coastal tour. Albany is on a bay and the bus took us around the bay to the other side. Our first stop was this beach on Frenchmen's Bay. The sand was like talcum powder.

Our next stop was an area with WW I and WW II lookouts. The views were beautiful.

Our next stop was The Gap and The Natural Bridge. The bridge overlooks a big gap in the cliffside.

Very exciting while we were there is that we saw lots of whales. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see them in the lower right corner.

Then we were out on the bridge overlooking The Gap, watching the whales WAY out in the water ... until someone shouted LOOK DOWN! And there were whales right at the bottom of the cliff we were standing over (on the bridge.) For us, very exciting.

Our next stop was a wind farm. This was the closest I've ever been to one of these and I never realized how much noise they make! There were some nice walking trails around the wind farm and we had some beautiful views from there also.

The wind farm was our last stop. We headed back to town seeing Albany across the bay, and our ship at the pier.

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