I was reminded today by one of my esteemed guests that I am indeed a lazy blogger for I have not posted in some considerable time. What can I say. I have no defence. My last post was after the fjords. Last year in fact.
“How are people supposed to know who is onboard and where you are if you dont update them?” I was asked. I apologised profusely. “Dont you know you were mentioned on Cruise Critic?” they went on. “Err No” was all I could say. I beat a hasty retreat with a promise to keep the blog updated.
So here we go.
Since the fjords the ship has visited Stewart Island, Timaru, Akaroa, Wellington, Picton, Tauranga, Auckland, back to Tauranga and today I am in Wellington.
I have been busy you know. Seabourn Odyssey takes a little bit of running and with my son Leo being here I have been occupied. That is my defence.
The day we arrived at Stewart Island was calm, warmish and sunny. In fact the pilot, Captain David Edge, described it as a heat wave for the island. The scenery was very reminiscent of the Scottish Hebrides. Small islands were dotted about in a blue sea with white sand beaches shining in the sun. I can’t remember the last time I saw the sea quite so calm in this area.
The last time I was in Timaru was in 1980 on a ship called the Port Caroline aptly named after Caroline Bay in which the port of Timaru lies. We were there to load frozen lamb for Russia and tallow as well. We were alongside for nearly two weeks. What bliss. I was a cadet officer and ran out of money having spent it on ’stuff’ including liquid stuff’. I was 20 and away from home. Life was good. My training officer based in London sent a stiff telegram to me noting that he expected that ‘gentlemen officers of the Port Line’ were expected to manage their affairs and financial matters better. All this whilst this Gentleman Officer of the Port Line was learning to sweep ships hold and clean out untold horrors from the bilge wells whilst the Able Seamen who were supervising sat on their backsides smoking and nattering to each other offering their expert opinions on where they would hide the broom shafts if we finished late for their lunch breaks.
I am most pleased to report this visit to Timaru was a more refined affair. I left neither broke or with a stern message in my pocket.
We then spent a day in Akaroa harbour at anchor. It was very windy and a bit grey. However Leo and I had some friends visit from our old hometown and that was simply wonderful. Leos friends Danny and his family came and the years apart melted away. I simply sat and took it all in.
Once we left Akaroa we soon got into New Years Eve party mode to bring in the New Year. New Years day was supposed to be spent at Kaikoura, whale capital of New Zealand. The weather had other ideas. There was simply too much swell for us to safely use our tender boats so I had to cancel the port and we left for Wellington.
In Wellington Leo and I walked from the cruise terminal into town. Much of the main city centre area was closed down for the holidays but the waterfront cafes and bars were all open and doing a great trade. It was a refreshing walk there and back as the stiff North to North east wind that has been blowing for days still blew. The walk back was particularly refreshing! This is summer Wellington!!
We crossed the Cook Straits to Picton. The last time I was in Picton was on Seabourn Spirit. The run down Queen Charlotte sound is beautiful and not to be missed. Except by me and my camera that is.
From there we ran north and berthed in Tauranga. Now here is a place that many years ago I contemplated buying a small place near Mount Manganui. It would have been close to where the cruise terminal is. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I kick myself to this day for real estate in that neck of the woods has soared and in just typical fashion I did not buy and missed out.
The cruise ended in Auckland where all but a handful of our guests went home along with a fair smattering of the crew. Chef Kurt handed his pots and pans over to Chef Martin in the galley.
We have retraced our voyage to Tauranga and are currently tied up in Wellington ahead of the behemoth Voyager of the Seas. She is blasting her foghorn like some flatulent elephant trying to summon naughty guests that have not returned on time. The peace and tranquility is disturbed by her blasting away calling the naughty children home. Come along now children….time to sail. So far I have counted 8 long blasts shattering the peace of the neighbourhood.
Now she is sailing. Peace has descended upon the harbour. We will remain alongside until 23:00 when we will sail for Picton. In the meantime we have a Kapa Haka Maori show to enjoy.