A FLURRY OF EXCITEMENT
After Art Class (sculpture with both clay and a bar of soap), we headed for the room with our treasures. They need to harden overnight and we paint them tomorrow. We were greeted with our first sight of The Smoking Hills, situated on the east coast of Cape Bathurst in Franklin Bay. Columns of pungent smoke rise from the cliffs for approximately 50 miles. The smoke comes from places where coal, shale oil and bitumen deposits in the sedimentary strata are burning continuously. The temperatures are high enough to ignite the hydrocarbon-bearing rocks. It is estimated that they have been burning for hundreds of years.
While we were looking at the distant land, we heard passengers on the deck below us exclaim, "Whales!" Sure enough there was a multiple number of bowhead whales blowing, surfacing, and showing their flukes (tails). Very impressive.
We went to the Saloon for our usual pre-dinner libation - we enjoy the piano player there who plays all the singalong songs from WWI on that we know by heart - he hasn't played, I've Been Working on the Railroad" yet but maybe if asked???? We were joined by our friend, Jim. At Silk Road, we met the two women who are sharing the cabin next to us. One is Australian and one is American. They met while working in Singapore and travel together when they can. From there we went to an "Ice Party" where we met some of the Ambassador Hosts and I even managed a dance or two. Next thing I know, Norma is kicking up her heels with Jim! Then he asked me to dance. Turns out, he is a great swing dancer.