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World’s longest bday celebration + South Pacific dreams

I had the pleasure of turning 41 on this vacation. It's normally a pretty nondescript birthday. No reason to celebrate after turning 40. I mean, you still want to make it to your birthday each year cause the alternative is less than desirable but cake day stops being fun after 29...or so I thought.

March 14th, started with texts just after midnight Australian time, which is 9a Eastern time on March 13th and then continued for another 42 hours. If you've never had a 42 hour birthday celebration, I highly recommend it! I celebrated my Australian bday, my American birthday and just kept on going until I couldn't anymore!

The wait staff and my table mates serenaded me at dinner, which you may have seen on Facebook, I lost $ in the casino (not so fun, but a relevant part of my day) and I drank espresso martinis until I stumbled to bed.

March 15th

Lifou, New Cadelonia was an excursion day, starting with a stop at a botanical gardens, including a detailed explanation about vanilla bean farming and a tasting of vanilla coffee and tea by the wife of the first vanilla bean farmer on the island.

We then drove a short distance in the tour van to the Cliffs of Lifou. A gorgeous backdrop of coral cliffs up to 160' high against the sea blue water. We hiked down to a few viewing platforms, took our photos for Insta and then climbed back up where we were treated to fresh coconuts and grass/floral headbands.

Back onboard, I meandered to the spa where I booked a bamboo massage for 5p and drifted away into sleepland on the heated stone loungers. A quick dip in the hydrotherapy pool and I was ready for the massage.

75 minutes of bliss.

Dinner with the mates, and then early to bed for me. I had intended to go back out after lying down for a nap around 9:30p but I was too tired to get up when my alarm went off at 10:15 so I rolled over and threw the covers over my head.

Recharged after a legitimate nights sleep, I attended to several hours of work starting at 4a my time. Helping sort thru a few things and then meandered down to Java Blue for the first latte of the day.

The Carnival Luminosa anchored in the bay off Mystery Island, Vanuatu around 8:30a. I had a 9a departure for a Drift Snorkel, and let me tell you, the reef system here is absolutely stunning. Yet another pinch me moment, like out of this world beautiful. I have GoPro videos that will get posted later, but apparently I have to download an update to the GoPro app and I can't seem to get that to work on the ships internet.

Drift snorkel complete, I walked around the more rugged side of the island, which is by far the tiniest cruise ship port I have ever seen. I believe it's about a kilometer long, so 2 kilometers around the whole thing because it's a sliver-thin island width wise.

I took the ship tender back to the boat, showered, ate a burger (definitely not as good as Guys Burger Joint on other Carnival Ships) and then took the Sony onshore in a torrential South Pacific rain. It poured, and poured and poured. Poncho in hand, I was literally the envy of the island with multiple people inquiring where I picked up a poncho. (It came from Target in the US, and traveled a long distance for this moment, which I knew would happen sooner or later).

Planning ahead for the rain may have been one of my biggest travel successes thus far in my journey. It sounds simple, but keeping the camera and lense dry was super important and I was still able to shoot under the poncho which I made into a makeshift tent as I walked around the same path as earlier today.

The beauty of the rain was twofold. The island was almost deserted by now, as the rain had forced a good 90% of the passengers back onboard. Not to mention, I haven't ever taken photos in a significant rain and enjoyed something different.

Getting ready for dinner now and hope to finish my post and upload photos soon!

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-Cole from Colorado (as the boat knows me by)



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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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