Albany itself sits on a spectacular shoreline where waves (which I can certainly feel now as we sail along the south coast of Australia) from the Southern Ocean, generated by Antarctic storms, crash against a granite shoreline creating gaps and natural bridges along with some sand beaches in Torndirrup National Park, which we visited. Along the way we saw some kangaroo!
And the town itself is the first settlement in Western Australia, predating the Swan River Colony, present day Perth and Freemantle. It is a small town with a mix of historic buildings and giant K Mart and Target stores. These features make it a great place for the crew. The town is close to the ship so even a short shore leave can be productive. The big supermarket, K Mart and Target allow staff members to stock up for their own needs of comfort food or electronics. There’re a lot of coffee shops with free wifi and the crew can keep in contact with home. (Sitka serves some of this function. When I wear a Raven Radio T shirt identifying me as a Sitkan, a Lido steward praised the deals he had gotten at Stereo North and the free wi-fi at the Sitka Public Library. Our room stewards invited us to join them for a coffee in one of the sidewalk cafes.
Albany is an export center for white silica sand, that is shipped to Toyota to make windshields, woodchips to Japan for pulp and grain. One shot of the harbor shows all three exports. With our arrival in Albany we are now in the 11th of the 24 time zones we will pass through. We will spend a lot of time in this time zone, 7 ports of call, as we turn North around Australia and head north, rather than west, for Perth, Bali, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore.