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    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Letters from Abroad - Innocents at Sea

    In September 1967 we set sail for the big OE adventure.
    We made the local paper's social page. It was big deal leaving to go Overseas in the 60's...Look how many people took time off work, to throw streamers, sing Auld Lang Syne and Now is the hour.
    Bringing lots of tears to our eyes.
    My dear friend Sandy kept all the letters, that I wrote to her over the period we were away. All twelve of them. What memories. I can't thank you enough Sandy.

    So here is the first letter, interspersed with photos, from our albums.
     George Clarke, Liz Miller , Dale, Yours truly, Lou and Craig

    Front from left, My Brother Jack. My Mum Nora, Dale's Mum Faye, Joan from work, Auntie Glad and with the white hair in the rear George Shapland
    From left; Smidgen of George Shapland, Joan, Auntie Glad, Liz, Sandy, Dave B and George C

    Half of My Mum, Lou at rear, in front of her, Mr Dave Williams from work, Top of Craig's head,Dale's Mum. Auntie Glad and From my work, Joan, Liz and Sandy.

    Mr & Mrs P Schultz                                  Mrs G Wrightson
    72 Derwent St                                           Passenger,
    Island Bay                                                 Northern Star
    Wellington NZ                                          Shaw Savill, London

    22nd Sept 1967

    Dear Sandy and Pete

    (Election Day Tomorrow. Hope we win)
    I just remembered I forgot to ring Nan, Do apologise for me, I’ll send her a postcard possibly from Trinidad .
     Moi with a Calypso Singer in the a fore mentioned Trinidad
    Below: The Hotel where we had our first ever Rum Punch. Immediate conversion.

    We can’t send anything but these things (aerogrammes) from Acapulco and I am writing as few letters as possible. Thank God tomorrow we land in Acapulco. 8 days at sea is too long, everyone is getting scratchy.
     Acapulco - You can just pick out the diver wonderfully talented stupid young men.

    The day life is great I can stand any amount of that,
    Life on board - Dale with unidentified playmate in the deck sports.

    the weather is hot not too hot, and we are both sporting good tans but even Dale admits this, ‘the night life is boring’. We’ve had 2 movies since Tahiti ,TV and every night, boozing in the tavern. I haven’t been drunk once yet, I very rarely have more than one drink We’ve made some good friends,on board and mix in with four or five different crowds. There is certainly some weirdies on board. One American chap, fortyish, they put off at Tahiti because he was always drunk and there is a group of NZ boys who were threatened that they would go into
    the brig if they didn’t behave. We have a very nice married couple at our table called Rikki and Terry Yearbury, who come from Auckland.

    She is a school teacher and they are really fun.
    Blair Harkness, Ricki Yearbury, Yours truly and Nigel? in our cabin. Cop the nice traveling rug on my bunk. A 21st birthday present

    The Crew have had a few amusements this past week, Last Saturday night there was Tahitian night, Everyone went native and had a wow of a time,
    Ahh so sweet.
    Another Big Fancy Dress night below

    Looking more Mexican than Tahitian, Senor Dale.

    Sunday was Quiz night Ricki, Terry Dale and I nearly won first prize., then Bingo what a laugh, That is you should hear the funny sayings ‘No 2 small duck on a pond’ and everyone goes Quack quack…’No 8’ Big fat lady, ‘Legs 11’ and all the men whistle.

    Tahiti was fun. We didn’t go on a conducted tour, we made our own, we ended up on a native bus where the driver couldn’t speak English and very little French but somehow we communicated with him and he took us on his usual run up this valley which was lovely, streams and waterfalls. Only cost is 20 francs each (1 franc =1 penny) and other people paid £5 to see what the tour guides wanted them to see. 

    From left; Moi, The 'Kindly' Driver and Ms Ricki

    We saw a lot of poverty but colourful poverty(!). The people are very happy, until they are drunk, then they are like the Islanders at home, Stroppy. At night we went to the Tahitian Hotel. Fabulous place 10/ to get in and 8/4 for a drink, any drink Coco Cola, beer anything…all 8/4
    Dr Dale

    We crossed the Equator on Wednesday didn’t even feel the bump! Dale played a part in the ceremony, he was horrible and funny. He was the Doctor throwing kidneys and livers and bones around. Fresh ones too. Let Nan and Grandy reads this letter as this is for them as well as for you. Give my love to all at work. It really seems years since I left. Amazingly enough I don’t feel homesick I think that might come at Xmas. Thank Joan and Mr Williams, as well as you Sandy, for seeing us off. I was thrilled, Won’t write again till we arrive in the UK

    Lots of love Gillian and Dale

    More random shots
    On Deck round the pool

    (It seems as now, no matter where we go, we take Bad weather with us!)
    Below Acapulco again - Could be Wellington?

    Curacao, still raining

    Below: Going through the Panama Canal
     Last Stop before the UK -  Lisbon

    Below; And here we are in Southampton with the hire car. Do you think England was ready for us?


    John and JT said...

    Fantastic. Love the photos.

    Barbara said...

    This is such a great post Gilli.