Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday 7th Dec
After posting yesterdays blog, with the wrong month on it, we went off to dinner and then a show. Today we arrived at the southern end of NZ and headed into Dusky sound and out of Thompson Sound. As you would expect it’s quite spectacular. We then moved in a northerly direction through Acheron Passage and exited via Breaksea Sound, equally spectacular.
It is bitterly cold out at sea in this part of the cruise unless you can get out of the breeze. After lunch and a nap we found we were entering Milford Sound where the ship must use a pilot because it is narrower than the other sounds we have been in today.
There is snow on the peaks along with the remains of an ancient glacier, so we have been informed.
Tonight we will be going to a late show in which our table waiter will be singing along with other members of the crew. He’s looked after us well each evening for dinner so even though the show doesn’t start till 10.00 pm we can’t miss it even though it’s after our bed time!!!! The weather has been exceptionally kind to us today. It was feared that we may not have been able to do the fiords if the weather had stayed like yesterday. We are now setting a course for home and have been told it could be a bumpy night with a low forming just ahead of us between two highs. It won’t worry these two mariners though.
Cheers till we report again,
The Great Dane and Gemini.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thursday 2nd to Sat 4th

Tauranga – a pretty little place. We didn’t take a tour but did some laundry instead before going ashore and having a very nice seafood lunch at a seaside (ocean beach) cafĂ© and walking back to the ship along the inside beach.
Napier – we went on another wine and cheese tour in the morning and tasted some very nice wines. The first winery was in a monks old missionary. It’s still owned by them but run by a management group. Their label is “Mission Wines”. I particularly liked a lightly sweetened late harvest wine. I hope we can find it in Australia when we get back home.
The second winery was “Sileni” where they also served cheese with the tasting and also had a tasting of a salsa promoting some of their other products for sale. We bought some of their nice cheeses for our sundowners back on board.
The third winery was one I can’t pronounce so I won’t try to spell it. They also had a great cheese, fruit and cracker selection plus a local NZ Ice cream.
We then returned to the ship and refreshed and headed back into town for some lunch and a look around in the mall.
Wellington – Since we have been here for a few days before, we just took the shuttle bus into the city and did a little shopping for essentials and then had a nice lunch at a German pub. Back to the ship for a nap then an afternoon coffee up on the top deck.

There is a bout of NORA VIRUS (a very aggressive form of gastric and vomiting wog) going around the ship for the past couple of days so it’s been necessary to be particularly careful about what you touch and lots of hand washing the code is RED ALLERT.
Apart from that and our air conditioning not working last night it’s been a very pleasant but uneventful cruise. The weather has also been very kind with cold mornings and nice sunny days.

Sunday, 5 December 2010
Arrived at Lyttelton this morning at 8am. This is the port for Christchurch. After a leisurely breakfast we caught the shuttle into Christchurch. It’s a busy weekend as they have a cycle race on around the city this morning as well as a Christmas parade this afternoon. We spent a couple of hours walking around one of the most beautiful parks/gardens I have ever been in – the roses were spectacular.
We then walked into the main part of the city still showing signs of the earth quake a couple of months ago.
We took a punt barge, like a gondola, along the Avon River through overhanging trees and under about 5 bridges. It’s really a lovely quaint city.
We then had lunch at the Art Centre before catching the shuttle bus back to the ship.

Monday 6th Nov