Yesterday, May 12, was magic. Everyone on the ship responded to the sun and air and scenery with smiles and something extra, some sort of extra-terrestrial light.
I started cold; I couldn’t warm up after my swim in a cold pool, but the day soon compensated for it. Flawless, the sky and the place: Whitsunday Islands, named mistakenly by Captain James Cook who didn’t know about the international date line in those days (I’m still having trouble with it). It was really Whit-Monday. Whitsunday, as you may know but I didn’t until I looked it up, is another name for Pentecost, celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension and held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. The Whitsunday Islands are a group of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, Australia, a short trip from GBR (the Great Barrier Reef).
So many blessings! So much to learn, so much to assimilate! It’s a good thing today is a Sea Day, giving us time to recover from such happiness.
People had a dazzling choice of scheduled excursions or ones of their own making. One man took a scuba dive with a video cam and treated a few of us last night to a viewing of 30 minutes of his underwater exploration – breathtaking! One excursion put people in a submersible chamber so they could look at the fish and vice versa. Being aged and lazy, I took a harbour cruise around the islands in the Denison Star, a 107-foot Huron pine motor cruiser. A fellow traveller went below deck to see the magnificent mahogany interior. I just basked (dozed) in the sunshine, shaded by a canopy, after being served champagne and afternoon tea. Before returning to the ship, I took an Island Tour (free) seeing the landmarks we had viewed from the sea.
I have to refer to Gerard Manley Hopkins to help me express my gratitude: (I do hope Wikipedia can help my fading memory):
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10