Don’t trust a woman who’s never been to the gym to give you directions to the nearest sporting goods store.
If you do, you’ll spend the first two hours of your port call to Newcastle trekking in 33C heat to Newcastle West, searching in vain for the aforementioned mythical sporting goods store.
You may ask yourself why a sporting goods search was undertaken in the first place … Life has been a little hectic in recent months and my current gym shoes are threadbare. I figured I’d walk to the shops in thongs, grab a new pair of runners and go for a hearty beachside trek in Newie to offset having eaten enough during my first 24 hours on the Radiance of the Seas to feed an entire suburb.
Instead, I blistered my way to Newcastle West and back fruitlessly, cursing the woman who’s never been to the gym in her life – my mother – quietly under my breath as heat levels steadily rose.
(A bartender on the ship later described the temperatures – after watching me perform an inelegant ow-ow-ooh-ooh dance across the sizzling deck to quench my thirst – as Abu Dhabi-like.)
Fortunately, the day got bloody wonderful from that point onwards. I met my old mate Darren at an awesome pizza joint called Napoli on King Street for lunch and we had a lovely natter for an hour or so while munching on the best pizza I’ve had in yonks.
Then I wended my way to Newcastle Beach for a dip.
I didn’t entirely fancy the additional trek or the dip but I figured it made good copy, so I hobbled there, stripped to my cossie and was about to Nellie my way into the surf when the loudspeaker announced there was a shark alert.
By that point I’d invested sweatily in my course of action and I figured it would be a cunning and very small shark to make it as far into shore as I would make it out, so bugger it, I was splashing into the waves.
Geez it was fabulous. I am soooooo glad I pushed myself to do it. Dad tells me the water is about 20C at the moment. It was a gorgeous, refreshing way to beat the heat wave.
However, possessing what my former schoolmate Stuart Keats once referred to as a “sock tan” (ie vivid white), I figured 10 minutes in the blazing 1.30pm sun would probably do it. So I bought myself a Diet Coke from the kiosk and sat in the shade taking selfies of my feet with a picturesque surf backdrop for a while.
Then it was back to the ship for a dazzling departure past Nobbys Lighthouse, complete with the Fort Scratchley cannon kabooming twice, and into open water for the trek to our next port, Hobart.
I’m having trouble uploading pics to the blog due to password issues but you can check out a couple of pics on my Instatram.
Catch you tomorrow with all the details from a day at sea playing bingo, watching the men’s belly flop championship and doing my first Zumba class …