A Travellerspoint blog

Home from the Sea

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

View 2013-10 New Zealand on greynomadm's travel map.

Arrived in Sydney before dawn and experience an all-enveloping FOG. All the famous landmarks slipped past in a coloured blur. Had an early breakfast and picked-up our carry-on to sit in the VIP Lounge on Deck 7. We were about the fourth or fifty group called and were ashore by 0800 despite Jenny's Cruise Card failing to register - again !!

Walked off the ship and found our luggage, handed in our 'arrival' cards to the official and found ourselves in the hall. Nothing inspected and not even a scan of our passports. We were well ahead of schedule and our coach was still held in the waiting area. Stood around and watched the crowds searching for their connecting shuttle or courier pick-up.

At about 0830 our coach was permitted in and we took our luggage to be loaded, found seats and settled in for the 0900 departure. A check of the numbers on the coach at 0900 and there are at least 12 passengers still missing. The driver walked back and forth through the waiting people trying to identify any that may have been looking for us. Eventually the missing started to drift in but it wasn't until 0945 that the last couple turned up.

Having double and triple checked the numbers we were on our way across the City. The tip home was uneventful and we arrived home at 1630 after navigation many of the back streets of the Batemans Bay area.

Unpacked my bag to find that one of three bottles of Wild Turkey Bourbon had broken and every article of clothing was now scented with the smell of bourbon. We normally wash most of the content on our return but this time there were no exceptions.

Processed the accumulated mail and had a light dinner. Sat in front of the TV and found ourselves nodding off.

That's the end of this tale. Stay safe, take care and join us for the next cruise in January 2014.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Last Full Day

Monday, 28 October 2013

Storm clouds in the East again this morning. Despite that managed to capture some reasonable sunrise images. Usual routine, breakfast, vacate the cabin for a while. Checked our account and my Bourbon purchases were still not recorded. Off to the liquor store to find they'd oversold their stock and I needed to select something else if I wanted any. By now most of the less expensive or popular lines had also sold out. Grabbed three bottles of something that looked reasonable but was NOT happy.

An early lunch and then to the Theatre to watch "The Great Gatsby", great sets, wonderful costumes but not a great story line. Jenny walked out but I stuck it out to the end. Back to the cabin to pack the bags, making sure there was enough left out to get dressed for the trip home tomorrow.

Had our dinner on the Horizon Court and enjoyed seeing one of the young waitresses who has made a point of looking after us when she's found us. She's also taken an interest in my images when I've been up there late at night connecting to the Internet.

It is raining as we approach Sydney, hopefully some of that is also falling on the bushfire regions.

Next blog posting will be from home. Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed the trip.
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:58 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Rough Riding the Tasman Sea

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Up on deck to catch a glimpse of the sunrise through the storm clouds on the horizon. Day two of our three-day crossing of the Tasman Sea is characterised by strong winds and significant swell. The various public places are unusually quiet today. There are balloons outside our cabin for my nominal Birthday. I had nominated today even though my actual birthday is almost three weeks off.

Spent some time in the lounge on Deck 7, back to the cabin to fill out the disembarkation documentation and went up to the Horizon Court for a coffee and an early lunch. After lunch to the Theatre where "The Lone Ranger" movie had us laughing at the mad antics of 'Tonto' played by Johnny Depp, great show.

Back to the cabin to prepare for tonight's formal dinner to be followed by the Captain's Circle Cocktail Party to be held in the Vista Lounge. Lobster and giant prawns for dinner tonight and then I had my Birthday Cake. Up to the Vista Lounge for the party, there was no competition for seating there were less than 200 people there. They've split the two lower levels from the two upper levels so there were only about 300 people eligible to attend tonight's do. We stayed on for the entertainment, saxophonist Kenny Bennett followed by comedian Barry Seacroft, both of them worth staying for but not fantastic.

Back to our rocking bedroom to complete this blog and wind the clocks back one hour.

More tomorrow I hope 8-)
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:31 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Northward on the East Coast of the South Island

Saturday, 26 October 2013

View 2013-10 New Zealand on greynomadm's travel map.

Having aborted the planned voyage South the ship headed North along the East Coast of the South Island staying close in shore to avoid the rougher waters further out. The sunrise was less than spectacular but did illuminate the snowy peaks of a range of mountains. By breakfast time we were experiencing stronger winds and rougher seas.

By lunch time we had entered the Cook Strait which separates the North and South Island of New Zealand. The Straits connect the Tasman Sea and South Pacific Ocean. As predicted the ships movements became increasingly violent. Spent an entertaining two hours watching a movie in the Theatre - "White House Down" had lots of violent action with a most improbable plot. This was followed by a lecture on the ship's operation by one of the Third Officers. She was a young, attractive blond with a great personality and loads of confidence. One of the best presentations I've seen, very polished and a touch of humour.

Dinner in the dinning room, just six of us. One couple we haven't seen for four nights now, hopefully they are well and just found friends at alternate dinning options. After dinner to the Theatre to watch the Crew Show, many talented singers primarily from the Philippines with an outstanding act by a young man from Indonesia. That old chestnut "If I were not upon the sea ..." featured many of the Cruise Director's staff and was very funny despite having seen it a number of times.

The above written withe ship's movements making my typing even less accurate than normal.

More tomorrow I hope 8-)
My photos are posted each day to http://365project.org/tonydebont/365
Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 01:37 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Full Day in Dunedin

Friday, 25 October 2013

View 2013-10 New Zealand on greynomadm's travel map.

Started today with a chilly vigil waiting for the sunrise, it happened eventually but wasn't all that spectacular. It also provided a view of a ship being loaded with logs of pine. Had a relatively early breakfast and then off to the Theatre for the start of our sole 'Shore Excursion' - a half-day scenic train trip through the Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi. It started in spectacular fashion with the train parked at the foot of the gangplank.

We left at 0830 and travelled from the port to Dunedin and through the suburbs. Soon the houses gave way to pine forests and through a number of tunnels and into the gorge. The track snakes back and forth following the Taieri river through cuttings, tunnels and across viaducts. Along the way we were provided with juices and soft-drinks served by charming seniors volunteers. A continual commentary and an excellent map kept us informed throughout. We had a brief stop at Hindon where some of the locals had set up a market stall selling mainly handmade items.

Back on the train and we reached our terminal station of Pukerangi where we again had an opportunity to dispose of NZ currency. Jenny managed to make a giant hole in my NZ$ reserves. At 1045 we were all aboard and heading back down the gorge. Shortly after that we were served a delightful simple lunch and sampled some of the local wines.

Back in Dunedin we left the train and boarded a coach for a trip to Larnach Castle where we arrive about 1430and spent an hour touring and exploring the castle and the extensive and spectacular grounds. Back aboard the coach we made our way back into Dunedin and spent over an hour being shown the highlights of Dunedin. Where possible the driver stopped for photo ops and provided a detailed commentary along the way. He returned us to the ship's side almost right on 1730 which was the 'All Aboard' time.

As the ship made ready to depart the Captain informed us that there was a further change to the itinerary, due to strong winds and large swells we were not heading South to round the bottom of New Zealand, instead we were heading back up the East Coast and back to Sydney. By way of compensation for these cancellations due to weather atop of the 'Technical Issues' which had ruled out the Bay of Islands we each received $200 On Board Credit. That's a $400,000 refund all up.

Stayed upon Deck 15 to see the Albatross Rookery as we cleared the breakwater and had hot dogs from the Grill for dinner. With some freshly fried chips we were both well satisfied. Jenny tried to spend some of that $400 windfall but failed to make a significant dent in it. Back to the cabin to sort through over 300 photos and write up the day's activities. Not attending the show tonight, too busy and too tired.

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

Posted by greynomadm 00:57 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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