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Australian bush fires question

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I am joining Serenity in Sydney on 3rd March for the leg from Sydney to Singapore. I have been watching the unfolding devastation being caused to the region by the dreadful bush fires taking place at the moment. I know that many seasoned Crystal veterans will be on board Serenity and I wondered if anybody thinks these events will impact on our schedule and shore excursions on this leg of the cruise? It will be understandable if there is some disruption, but I wonder what contingency planning Crystal undertakes for events like these? 

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Posted (edited)

As your cruise starts in Sydney and then heads up to Queensland - Sunshine Coast, Hamilton Island, Cairns then Darwin, the only potential impact would be in Sydney if excursions are going to the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley and the fires are not contained by March in those areas. I am sure Crystal will be monitoring this and adding some alternative excursions in and around the metro area.

 

We are all praying for rain here.

Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow

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5 minutes ago, Fly Fast Cruise Slow said:

We are all praying for rain here.

 

I don't know if it helps any, but over here we're praying for rain for you as well!

 

Vince

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Yes, the devastation looks appalling! I have friends who live in Adelaide and who are flying to meet me in Sydney before the cruise begins. My heart really goes out to all of the people who have lost their homes and property. Like the other contributors I am also praying for rain for you all! It's such weird weather we are all having isn't it? Here in the UK it has been the second wettest Autumn/ Winter on record and we so far have had no cold weather to speak about.

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Posted (edited)

We live in Sydney and have been here around 20 years - we haven’t seen it so bad and so widespread across many parts of the country in that time. It’s definitely bad, and that word just seems inadequate to describe the situation. We are in drought and the bush is full of tinder dry fuel - it’s a tinder box

 

On top of that the long drought is impacting farmers and (I don’t suggest this is of the same magnitude that those in the fire zones face) Sydneysiders are facing water restrictions that basically prevents washing cars and watering gardens to conserve water - our major supply dam is just over 40% full and there is no substantial rain forecast in the coming months 

 

But Sydney metro district itself has not had the fires but areas 1-2 hours drive away have had large fires that burn for weeks through native bush which is tinder dry. The immediate issue we have here is heavy smoke from the fires which comes and goes according to weather conditions and can stay for days due to the geography of the Sydney basin. When it’s here the air quality is very bad and that’s when you see many wearing masks and certainly those with asthma and other breathing difficulties are being impacted 
 

 These flare up on very hot or windy days and the firefighters, who are exhausted after over a month of fighting them, try to contain them. One huge shoutout to those firefighters currently here from Canada, New Zealand and USA who are here to assist. The manpower and equipment including huge water bombing aircraft deployed to fight these fires is huge 

 

I recommend these two www sites for those trying to work out where the fires are and the impact - www.smh.com.au and abc.net.au - both media that have a big network to draw on and coverage is good - you’ll see some horrific photos and footage of what people are fighting and the ferocity of the fires

 

Sadly tomorrow, Saturday, is forecast to be really bad - very hot temperatures and ideal fire conditions - they are evacuating large areas about 5-7 hours drive from Sydney to try to ensure people’s safety - but there are issues with power being off and gas stations unable to pump gas as well as blocked roads 

 

Now to answer the original question. I’d say disruption to Serenity is unlikely but that March won’t show a big improvement - smoke in Sydney and fires in many areas - but I doubt and hope Sydney itself will be burning! So I’d say they won’t change their plans but will take into consideration health and safety 

 

Our thoughts are with those impacted and the brave firefighters (the majority of whom are volunteers) fighting the fires (sadly several have already been killed in action) 
 

It kind of seems unfair that we’re looking forward to flying out in a couple of weeks to join Serenity - but we certainly won’t miss the smoke and those impacted will never be far from our thoughts 

Edited by Stickman1990

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I echo your thoughts for the brave firefighting teams, I spent my working life in the London Fire Brigade so I do have some knowledge of the sort of conditions those brave guys are working under. Lets hope rain comes soon!

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Stickman1990 has summed up the current situation very well.

 

I'd just add that if you are sensitive to smoke pollution that you pack a P2.5/N99 anti-pollution mask, just in case. Amazon has a good selection, some of which are very lightweight and easy to pack. 

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38 minutes ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Stickman1990 has summed up the current situation very well.

 

I'd just add that if you are sensitive to smoke pollution that you pack a P2.5/N99 anti-pollution mask, just in case. Amazon has a good selection, some of which are very lightweight and easy to pack. 

 

Based on what Terry has said, and the horror show we see on the news every night, I suspect the bigger problems may be with the Auckland to Sydney segment on the run up from Hobart to Sydney!

 

I am invoking every rain "superstition" I can from up here in Canada in the hopes that Mother Nature will send you an early rainy season!! Seems entirely unfair that Indonesia is suffering floods while you are going up in flames!

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Posted (edited)

Yes I meant to mention the smoke was impacting NZ already with ash discolouring the glaciers and the smoke in the sky impacting their sunsets etc - although it can’t be as bad as the smoke we’re getting here 

 

If there’s anything left to burn after the next few weeks then yes the Hobart to Sydney leg would be impacted - the Silver Muse has just sailed up and was according to someone onboard almost pressed into service to assist with the evacuation from one of the cut off coastal towns - the Navy is currently handling that though

 

March is a ways off but you could get smoke all the way up the east coast at least until you get to the rain forest areas in Far North Queensland 

Edited by Stickman1990

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16 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

Yes I meant to mention the smoke was impacting NZ already with ash discolouring the glaciers and the smoke in the sky impacting their sunsets etc - although it can’t be as bad as the smoke we’re getting here 

 

 

Saw that on our news this evening. And the "knock on effect" is the concern that the now brown glaciers will absorb heat rather than reflect heat, thus speeding up the melt of the glaciers!

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I've been thinking anxiously about my Australian friends, both virtual here on Cruise Critic and people I met when I was there last April. Here in California we have also recently experienced horrible fires, although on a smaller scale, so I can understand how bad the impact is both physically and emotionally even when your home is not in the direct burn areas. The firefighters' skill and bravery are so immense that I don't know how to fully express my gratitude for what they are doing!  I hope for a speedy end to this disaster.

~Nancy

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it's truly horrific in the affected areas here - we live an hour out of Brisbane and last month we were put on alert to be ready to evacuate our home - I had all our important paperwork and dog supplies sitting at the door ready, just in case ..... the threat has eased in our area, but my heart goes out to everyone fighting fires, and for their lives and homes .....

 

 

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2 minutes ago, janisegn said:

I had all our important paperwork and dog supplies sitting at the door ready, just in case ..... the threat has eased in our area, but my heart goes out to everyone fighting fires, and for their lives and homes .....


Ah - thanks for the reminder - good thought on dog food if we ever have to evacuate 

 

We have a forest around us so all it takes is one lightening strike or worse still an idiot and we’re going to be in trouble - it’s just so dry now 

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Thinking of everyone affected by the fires in Australia. My heart goes out to you. Living in such uncertain, dangerous conditions must be so difficult. Sending positive energy and good vibes for rain your way. 

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Massive devastation.  Lives lost, homes destroyed.

 

And we're worried about shore excursions?

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One area that got hit yesterday which many Crystal cruisers will know from last years visit on Serenity is Kangaroo Island - amongst the casualties there is the luxury Ocean lodge 

 

Today is a bad day - it’s going to be really hot in areas where the fires are and the fire authorities have said today is about protecting lives - property protection may not be possible in some cases 
 

Normally I enjoy a hot summers day but not today 

 

One consolation - I hear overseas media are reporting it like there are fires everywhere  - fortunately that’s not correct (yet) - the cities themselves are ok but rural areas and small towns across the country are doing it tough - but it’s definitely difficult times across the country with resources stretch very thin and they are very tired after over a month of fighting fires 

 

Thanks to Canada, New Zealnd and the US for sending fire fighters to assist 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

Based on what Terry has said, and the horror show we see on the news every night, I suspect the bigger problems may be with the Auckland to Sydney segment on the run up from Hobart to Sydney!

 

We did a short cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia last month when the fires were quite intense from Sydney up to Queensland. On the first and last days, whilst sailing along the coast, there was obvious smoke haze in the sky but the air around the ship seemed fresh enough - it didn't seem to affect me at any rate and I'm ultrasensitive to smoke pollution. Normally you can see the coast on that run but it was blanketed in smoke. So even if there are still fires burning on that Hobart to Sydney run it should be OK at sea.

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3 minutes ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Normally you can see the coast on that run but it was blanketed in smoke. So even if there are still fires burning on that Hobart to Sydney run it should be OK at sea.


Interestingly I saw some photos from NZ today showing the amount of smoke they’re getting from Australia and it seemed reasonably dense (like fog) - I’m sure it will disperse but it’s definitely impacting them

 

Folks - NZ is 1200 miles away from Australia!

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Yes, those pics surprised me a bit as I'd imagined that any smoke that reached NZ would be at a high level, and I do recall some high level smoke haze days from when I lived in Auckland. However they've had a colder than expected summer so far in the lower part of the South Island, with quite a bit of rain, and the colder temps and still overnight air may be bringing the smoke lower down. 

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