On the good ship Volendam

I'm back! But where have I been? I've spent on 10 days on a cruise ship, the m/s Volendam. Here's what she looks like.
I wasn't just enjoying myself, I was there to lecture astronomy. The trip trundled from Darwin to Perth, calling in at the islands of Komodo and Lombok in Indonesia.

To pay my way, I had to give five lectures. I wasn't sure who the audience was (it turned out to be mainly people over 60, but from a range of nations), so I talked on
  • The Secret Lives of Galaxies
  • The Big and Small of Stars
  • How to fall into a Black Hole
  • Just what happened at the Start of the Universe
  • Dark Energy and the Long Term Future of the Universe
As well as me, there was also Victor Gostin of the University of Adelaide, who spoke on the geology and geophysics of South East Asia and Australia - did you know there was a now drowned continent called Sundaland (not to be confused with Sunderland!)? I didn't, and I think it was cool. Here's a map from wikipedia.
Anyway, I think that the lectures were well received. It was good fun, and people were very interested (it was hard to get more than a few feet at times without people asking questions). I would happily do it again.

There were a bunch who were not interested in talking tho, and they lived on the island of Komodo. No matter what you said, they never cracked a smile, and when they want to go for a walk, you just get out of their way. Here they are
They looked pretty big in the zoo in Sydney - they looked larger in the wild!

Anyway, astronomy has moved anon while I was traveling, so I have a few posts to catch up on. More soon.


  1. Holland America Line ------> just as well it wasn't a G(r)eek ship!

  2. Sounds like a great way to spend 10 days!


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