Monday, June 08, 2009

Lord of the Pacific

“Some people dream of a lonely island… stuck in the middle of a lonely seeeeeeeea.”

And I found one, Legion of Fans (LOF), Amadee Island. Amadee is actually French for sea snakes and expensive beer, but it was as pretty as a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and an extremely agreeable place to spend my first shore leave from my arduous duties as Commodore of the MV Pacific Dawn’s inaugural book club.

(If you’ve just joined us, I’m on a freebie, acting as the guinea pig for P&O’s first on-board book club, spruiking my books and delivering an arduous program of lectures – three in six days, if you must know).

And what better place than L’isle de la sea Serpente et Bier Extravagante to start reading LORDS OF THE PACIFIC by new Macmillan Australian author Grant Hyde.

My oh my, LOF, if this isn’t a cracking yarn then you can call me Frank Co…. Enough of that.

Grant, who I have yet to meet but look forward to stalking, is a former first grade Rugby League player (Roosters) who has had all manner of career changes before ending up as a part time author and full time Qantas baggage handler. All true. Well, the man can write and although I’m only a third through he is putting LORDS OF THE PACIFIC long and high and it’s currently heading straight between the posts.

LORDS OF THE PACIFIC is set in the 18th Century in the South Pacific, with much of the action taking place on Tonga, where Mrs Blog and I will sadly be disembarking our cruise and then flying home.

The book’s a bit of a cross between Bernard Cornwell, Patrick O’Brien and vintage Wilbur. Damn good stuff, and I am learning heaps (like how the Tongans used to cook people alive and then eat them. Really looking forward to getting to Tonga).

I should point out, here, that I would have been reading the exceptionally nice Katherine Howell’s first thriller, FRANTIC, if Mrs Blog hadn’t snaffled it early on in the Cruise. She’s loving it.

Apropos of LORDS OF THE PACFICIC, I’m actually living a bit of a Lord Jim life meself at the moment, shipmates. The Filipino staff here on Pacific Dawn have an endearing habit of referring to male passengers as “Sir”, followed by their name.

So I am “Sir Anthony” to the barman on the Lido Deck and “Sir Tony” to our charming stewardess who looks after our cabin. Normally I wouldn’t brook such familiarity, but our stewardess has done such a champion job I shall continue to allow her to refer to me in the diminutive form.

All jokes aside the service on this ship is superb and the food is excellent and I’m not just saying that because I’m on a freebie.

I do believe Mrs Blog and I are getting into the whole cruising thing. It’s been a perfect opportunity to unwind from my normal busy schedule of traveling on country library buses and attending important lunches.

Fortunately, the inaugural book club meeting was held on the coldest, wettest day of the cruise so far. There was no question of shuffleboard or hot-tub socializing, and as the book club meeting was scheduled immediately prior to the daily Bingo extravaganza I had an excellent roll up. To make sure the crowd was paying attention I would occasionally interrupt my monologue with “Eyes down… legs eleven!”

Seriously (once more) it was a great roll up and lots of people bought copies of SILENT PREDATOR (lest you think I was being too generous plugging Grant’s book, this blog is, after all, all about me) from the ship-board boutique.

I fielded lots of very good questions about books and writing and now I know I am going to have to think very hard to come up with something worthy and sensible to say in the next two meetings.

Until then, I shall continue to immerse myself in the Pacific of yore.

I had another dose of South Pacific history last night when the onboard movie channel screened a remake of THE South Pacific. It was filmed in Australia – on the Gold Coast if I’m not mistaken, and starred the very elderly Glenn Close as the supposedly young and naïve Nurse Nellie Forbush. Odd.

The male leads were all equally aged and much more heavyset Australians (Jack Thompson included). Odd, LOF, very odd. I love the original (how gay is that) and the music, but this remake looked like the handycam-recorded performance of the Surfer’s Paradise Amateur Dramatic Society.

Still, I did sing along with every track, much to Mrs Blog’s consternation as she lay beside me with a pillow over her head.

Ah, bless her. “There is absolutely nothing like aaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.”

Thoughts, Legion of Fans? Have I been at sea too long? Trin, Les, stay tuned to Cruise Cam as I may be doing my rendition of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ on the poop deck later this evening.


Trin said...

Nice to see you have taken time out of your terribly busy schedule to spare a miniscule thought for your LOF.

Told you the food and staff would be excellent. How much weight have you put on?? You'll need to run more than 10k's when you come home unless you are making regular use of the shipboard gym.

Have your cabin staff made you linen origami (out of your towels) yet???? - that's when you know you are special.

Cruise Cam fortunately only provides a visual insight into the trip - for some reason I think listening to your rendition of Some Enchanted Evening might be a signal for "Man Overboard".

PS: You wouldn't get me in the hot tub for quids, as much as I love them - how many people on board and how many hot tubs? Talk about a recipe for ......

Flea said...

Love the photo .. the trips sounds just great!! Enjoy ... while it lasts.

dozycow said...

Re: Your question (and references to tuneless singing) :- Is it possible that you have been out in the sun too long instead ?

Love the photo - the water looks so tranquil & crystal clear, must be the perfect antidote to your, oh so very, arduous schedule.

Enjoy the rest of the cuise & steer clear of cannabalistic Tongans.....may the seas be calm & the weather perfect.

Les said...

It looks like you are having a whale of a time,the pic looks like paradise,pity we never saw you singing,that would have livened up my day.D
You have definitely been in the sun too long (you can't blame anything else)
"Lords Of The Pacific" not available in SA yet.
Enjoy the rest of the trip.

Herr Doktor said...

Looking good on that island! I thought it would be a great trip, please avoid cooking pots in Tonga. The Tongans can do a mean Haka (see You Tube) Are you going to play Rugby while you are there, if so please send for medical staff ASAP.