A Travellerspoint blog

Bypassed Akaroa

Thursday, 24 October 2013


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A disappointing morning with almost total overcast and no hint of a colourful sunrise. The texture of the clouds provided an interesting subject but was almost totally grey. With an hour to our scheduled arrival time in Akaroa we had slowed down but the expected turn to starboard had not occurred. The mystery was explained some time later when the Captain announced that the harbormaster had declared the bay unsafe for tender operation and a forecast of deteriorating conditions. We will not be calling into Akaroa. A major disappointment for many aboard.

A revised schedule was produced and distributed within two hours and we are now sailing to Port Chalmers for an overnight stay. We are due there by 1800 and will be staying through to our scheduled departure tomorrow.

I spent some time taking photos of some different parts of the ship, then had a leisurely lunch. Followed by some serious R&R back in the cabin. To fill in part of the afternoon we went to the theatre to watch "Man of Steel", Jenny lasted about 10 minutes but I sat through the whole 2hrs 16min. Not sure that the acting was anything much but the special effects were amazing.

Off to dinner and after dinner walked into the little port village with many of the boutique shops being open to cash in on the windfall arrival of the ship. Back aboard and get this ready to post to the blog.

More tomorrow.

My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:49 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Welcome to Wellington

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


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Large black clouds covered much of the sky as we approached Wellington just before dawn this morning. Unusually, there was little to no wind blowing in Wellington and the day developed into a calm warm day. We went ashore soon after breakfast and bought tickets for the shuttle bus into the CBD.

From our drop-off point we walked to the Cable Car Terminal and joined a long queue of people waiting to board the cable car to the top. We bought one-way tickets as we planned to walk back through the Botanic Garden. The gardens are crisscrossed by dozens of paths leading to and through specific themed areas. After about two hours wandering through the gardens and marvelling at the many beautiful specimens of trees, shrubs and flowers. The extensive rose garden unfortunately was not yet in bloom but there were a few buds on some of the bushes.

I experimented with the macro settings of my new camera in the Begonia House where there was a bewildering array of orchids and other exotic specimens. Despite the oppressive heat in the enclosed space I had a great time and captured many wonderful images.

We walked back to the shuttle bus and arrived there just in time to head back to the ship. The identity check at the port's entrance was quite per functionary and certainly much more casual than the check in Napier yesterday.

Back on board for a brief lunch in the Horizon Court and then off to the Theatre to watch a movie. "Now You See Me" was almost two hours of special effects, dramatic chases and an intricate plot that kept me confused and uncertain to the end.

There were just six of us for dinner and afterwards we went to the Theatre for a show with Tony Pentano, a singer of the dean Martin style although he was quite a credible Elvis too.

Back to the cabin to complete this and catch up with the dreadful bush fire news from NSW.

More tomorrow.

My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:10 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

The Port and Town of Napier

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


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Started the day with a spectacular sunrise on Deck 14 followed by breakfast in the Horizon Court. Spent an hour or two reading before heading up to Deck 14 again for our arrival in Napier. The sea is remarkably calm and the manoeuvring of the ship whilst slow did not have the drama of previous arrivals at this port.

Looking out onto the wharf I was amazed again at the quantity and variety of logs, dressed timber and wood chip. It is so interesting to see the endless stream of trucks arriving, being unloaded and sent on their way again. It is no surprised that we have to be bussed off the wharf and into the town. Watched a prime mover and trailer being prepared for the empty trip back. The trailer is disconnected under a gantry crane, the trailer lifted, the front dolly and draw bar spun around and the truck backed up to piggyback the trailer. All carried out by the driver. The reverse process no doubt occurring at the loading yard.

We've decided to have an early lunch and go ashore later as the 'all aboard' is not until 1830 this evening. By the time we were ready to go there was no longer any need for tickets. We walked off and straight onto the bus and stayed aboard right up to the Aquarium. Tickets were NZ$18 each for Seniors, an inexpensive outing as we had made use of the Free Shuttle.

Spent just over two hours marvelling at the many sea creatures on display. There was also a Kiwi bird on display but being nocturnal the exhibit was quite dark and a photograph was not possible.

Spent some more time exploring the extensive town and found ourselves at a "PACK'n'SAVE" store. A massive barn of a place selling everything from fresh produce through grocery lines and beer, wine and spirits. Looked to be very popular with the locals. Back to the bus stop and returned to the ship, surprisingly there was one couple without the 'photo-id' required. They were escorted off the bus and asked to wait while alternate verification was made. This despite frequently repeated announcements prior to going ashore.

Another enjoyable dinner tonight, Jenny enjoyed her plate of steamed vegetables and I went for another Japanese dish. Off to the Vista Lounge to listen to Simon Heath - our assistant cruise director - sing some of the many famous songs from Broadway. He has a surprisingly good voice and is really quite funny.

We have received our disembarkation form and requested a 0730 disembarkation which will give us plenty of time to meet up with our chartered coach back home.

Next stop Wellington more in a day or two.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:13 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Tauranga and Mount Manganui

Monday, 21 October 2013


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An early morning arrival had us along-side the Mount Manganui Wharf in the Port of Tauranga. A somewhat defused sunrise heralded a brilliant day with a slightly chilly breeze. After breakfast we went ashore and bought two return tickets on the Shuttle bus to Downtown Tauranga. We spent a happy hour or two wandering the quiet streets and generally admired the very clean and well maintained city.

Returned to the ship in time for lunch after which we walked into the village of Manganui, we were surprised at the large number of Japanese style restaurants. Back aboard and we were entertained by the incredible antics of the actors in the movie "Red 2". This film had all the violence that Bruce Willis is known for, but had so many comic aspects it was difficult to take the show seriously.

Dinner in the dining room and I stuck with the Japanese theme, a small meal, beautifully presented. Tonight's shows are either a repeat of last night or the ship's singers and dancers in a show we've already seen. At 2000 we sailed past White Island, a semi-active volcano. There was no visible action and really too dark to see anything much.

More in a day or two.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland on a Fine Day

Sunday, 20 October 2013


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Woke to a cold but calm morning and waited for the sunrise on Deck 14. In the semi-dark I became somewhat disoriented as the ship was no longer sailing in a straight line. We were making our approach to Auckland and were berthed at the Queen Street Wharf before the sun finally rose. I also tried some of the other presets on the camera with some interesting results.

We had breakfast and went ashore at about 1000 as it was a Sunday and therefore only a limited number of shops open. Jenny managed to spend a significant amount on a new pair of hiking boots and a piece of jewelry. I took some photos of the historic buildings along the Strand. Attempted a picture of the ship but was frustrated by security fences. The weather was the best it has been in our previous three visits, fantastic !!

Returned to the ship and lunched in the Horizon Court trying the Japanese soup and some baked mussels as an alternative to some of the less healthy offerings that have tempted me in the past. Back to the cabin to write up this story and review my images captured today.

Attended the cultural show in the Theatre and were amazed yet again by the grace of the dancers and the colour of their culture. They are indeed a proud people and are only too happy to tell us about it.

Dinner in the dining room and I tried the Japanese offering, again it was unusual and I had no idea what to expect. I've decided to try it whenever it is offered as there is little likelihood of me eating Japanese cuisine back in Moruya. Went off to the Theatre where a packed house listened to the vocal wonders of the "Platinum Tenors", three New Zealand guys who sang some amazing songs and received a well deserved 'standing ovation'. By far the best show so far on this cruise.

More in a day or two.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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