Day 51 ~ 18,100 MilesYesterday in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F
Day 51 ~ 18,100 Miles
Today’s challenge: Parallel Park a 709 foot, 48,075 Ton Cruise Ship
Day 51 ~ 18,100 Miles
Today’s challenge: Parallel Park a 709 foot, 48,075 Ton Cruise Ship
Day 50 ~ 17,900 Miles
Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand: RSSC Mariner Run Aground!
Don’t worry, it’s cods wallop, but from the looks of the picture one can’t be sure. Just a reminder to see how easy some may try to twist the truth in today’s climate
Napier is a city rebuilt from the ashes following an earthquake and ensuing fire in 1931 so powerful it raised the seabed of their harbor creating over 4,000 acres of dry land and a reverse tsunami which drained the port.
The Napier of today is a salute to a time long past with an abundance of original Art Deco homes and commercial buildings built following the earthquake. Unfortunately the building of the replacement man-made harbor changed the ocean current so that the sandy beaches were devoured into the sea and have been replaced with sea walls and black gravel; so it’s pretty but I wouldn’t want to swim there not to mention that Napier beaches are listed among New Zealand’s most dangerous. It was, however, a near perfect day walking the beautiful streets of Napier.
I’d better rattle the dags and get meself ready for dinner.Read more
Day 49 ~ 17,500 Miles
When the name of our port today, Tauranga, is translated it means Sheltered Harbor. There are many beautiful beaches near the wharf and the Kiwis take great pride in being an outdoorsy lot. There are numerous water-sports and all types of beach based activities just outside their doorsteps.
I should probably write a wee bit about the word ‘Kiwi’ for anyone not familiar with it. The Kiwi is the national and sadly nearly extinct bird of NZ. The Kiwi fruit is a delicious fruit and one of the largest exports of NZ thanks the marketing geniuses renaming it from Chinese Gooseberries to Kiwi. The Kiwi is also a New Zealander.
The litter bins and wheelie bins lined Marine Parade on our way out today because it was rubbish pickup day. Some things just sound so much nicer they way others say them.
We did pass the largest Kiwi growing area in NZ and while the orchards are difficult to see from the road you can occasionally peak beyond the massive hedges surrounding them that serve as wind barriers to the delicate flowers that will become this wonderful fruit.
We then went to Fairy Springs to learn about and see live Kiwi birds. The facility has several breeding pairs and a commitment to ensure their survival. As a flightless bird they have many predators, namely stoats, mongoose, and dogs.
The North Island of New Zealand (where this trip is limited) was formed from volcanic activity while the South Island was formed from Glacial activity. There are hundreds of naturally occurring thermal springs and mud pools in this area and there are natural vents dotting the landscape letting the underground steam escape. Today we visited the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland which is alien-like, desolate, and incredibly beautiful. But because they are sulfur springs, one doesn’t want to hang around too long.
Bonus: our new captain just announced that we will have gale winds of 35-40 knots tonight.Read more
Day 48 ~17,300 Miles
It has been a jam packed two days in Auckland and I enjoyed every moment. I’m sitting in my cabin tonight watching this part on New Zealand float away and know that I will miss this place.
After arriving yesterday we set out on an aimless stroll through the Central District which is directly across the street of our Auckland home, Princes Wharf. There is a great deal of construction in many areas of the city due to hosting the sailing world in defense of the America’s Cup in 2021 and the wafer-front area is by far the biggest recipient of the improvements. Auckland is a vibrant, beautiful, walkable, and energetic place.
Last night we were guests to a World Cruise Event celebrating the Lord of the Rings series held at the War Memorial Museum. It was also an opportunity to say a temporary goodbye to our Captain. Captain Aivo has been wonderful and I look forward to his return from his vacation when he takes the helm again in Barcelona to guide us home.
Today we spent a lovely day touring the North Shore and Devonport. The North Shore is high tech companies, modern condos, restaurants with amazing outdoor seating options, and marinas including one for the mega yachts.
Devonport is on the opposite side of the bay and equally opposite in almost everything else. It’s a typical charming seaside village complete with all of the coffeeshops, restaurants, and local shops one could want. It’s also a much slower pace and is family and dog friendly. We used the ferry to transport us back to the wharf area.
Just as Auckland is fading on the horizon I too am fading fast and am ready to call it a night. I hope I dream of beautiful Auckland but before the sunlight fades away I want to share the sculpture shown in the video. It is so graceful as it moves in the ocean breeze and I am in total agreement with the Artists statement:
“...showing people things they’ve never seen before and the more extraordinary things we see the richer we become”. -Phil Price 2004Read more
Day 47 ~ 17,100 Miles
With a strange suddenness the persistent winds of the South Pacific have calmed as has her surface. Gone are the longitudinal swells and white capped waves that have been our near constant companions since our departure.
The water’s surface seems to be broken now only by the bow of our ship and the wake she leaves in her path. A slight breeze makes the surface look like its shivering in its grasp.
The now familiar sounds I’ve grown to love have been re-tuned to sound more like rustling leaves. It is peaceful and hypnotic and we are seemingly gliding along on the final 275 nautical miles towards Auckland.
Interestingly we are approaching a point that is a voluntarily speed reduction zone because of whale traffic and will throttle back from 16.9 knots per hours to just under 10. I for one am pleased with the decision to reduce our speed.Read more
Day 46 ~ 16,200 Miles
As it is turns out, 2020 may not be the best year to visit Asian ports. We were informed this afternoon that our itinerary has changed due to the continuing fear of the Coronavirus.
Captain Aivo met with all passengers in the theater to provide us with the changes and take questions. After Sydney our itinerary changes until we get back on schedule in Sri Lanka (basically March is different). We lose 5 ports in Australia and pick up 11 along the southern coast then face 7 days at sea before arriving in Sri Lanka. In addition to the scheduled ports in Australia, we will miss Bali, Surabaya, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
While, yes, it is disappointing to miss some exciting destinations, I remain forever grateful to be cruising around the World in Cabin 887 on the RSSC Mariner and look forward to the sights to be seen and experiences to be had.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sail.”
-William Arthur WardRead more
Day 45 ~ 15,900 Miles
BULA! Bula means “hello” and is one of the first words learned upon arriving in Fiji.
Fiji. Just saying Fiji and my mind immediately conjures up visions of miles of mother of pearl colored sandy beaches, palm trees blowing in the trade-winds, sparkling turquoise waters, and a cocktail served in a coconut. I know this fairytale vision exists on some of the 332 islands that comprise Fiji, but it does not exist on the island of Viti Levu which is the largest island and the one we have visited for the last two days.
Viti Levu provided me a realistic look into a South Pacific paradise where the minimum wage is $2.32 FJD per hour or $1.06 USD per hour. There was poverty throughout the countryside we toured but there was also beautiful, friendly, welcoming, and happy people.
Our guides reminded us that cannibalism is part of Fiji’s recent history, equal rights for women has changed their country for the worse and has lead to dramatic changes such as caning your children as punishment is longer acceptable, crime is more common and the crimes committed are now more serious, and women are not required to be buried alive with their husband when he dies (pre-missionary) nor cut off their pinky finger (post missionary) to be buried with him. Damn equal rights.
The villages we visited are trying to preserve the country’s culture and traditions while it seems the cities are becoming westernized. Conservative dress for women is still mandatory in villages. Kava is the traditional and still popular beverage and both men and women wear the sulu, which is a type of skirt. Our guides also told us that the homes are now westernized, which only means there are fewer and fewer thatch roofs not that they have indoor plumbing, running water, or even windows and doors.
Our time here has ended and we are headed to New Zealand. I pray that arrival is in strict military time as has been Captain Aivo’s practice and not in Fiji Time.
Moce (mow-they) Fiji.Read more
Day 44 ~ 15,500 Miles
FIJI. It’s an early morning arrival in Lautoka, Fiji today. For those of you keeping track, it’s about 6:45AM on 2/18 locally and 12:45PM on 2/17 at home. Time flies when you’re having fun.
We’ve been advised that it may take 6+ hours for Fijian officials to review our records and give us the final clearance to disembark. The Pilot is arriving now and the first officials will come aboard while the ship is still in motion. It’s a fun process to watch and I’d love to share the moment but I’m still in my pajamas on the veranda, my darlings, and they’re boarding on the port side.Read more
Day 43 ~ 15,400 Miles
One can never tire of the beauty of a sunset.
Day 42 ~ 14,900 Miles
It’s Day 3 of an unexpected stretch of four days at sea following the cancellation of our stops in American Samoa and Samoa after we were denied entry because of the “fear” of the Coronavirus.
Kudos to Regent for their hard work in rescheduling all excursions to a day earlier and scheduling a new stop with excursions in Suva, Fiji.
We were warned of bad weather for sea days 2 and 3, but luckily because I had my supplies at the ready I was able to stave off the impending storms. Always prepared...thanks Dad.
We crossed the International Date Line at 3:09 this afternoon (picture shown, if you enlarge it you can see the sign in the distance), but we will not recognize the changes that crossing brings until overnight so we may experience a smooth transition. In a instant we went from 180° West to 180° East. I think this translates to moving the clock back one hour and moving the calendar forward one day. Until today I had only read about time travel but now I get to experience it, February 16 disappears for me this year. So today I will take a selfish moment to remember, honor, and raise a glass to my Dad on what would have been his 97th birthday on the 16th. I love you and miss you Dad.Read more