Thursday, February 28, 2019


March 1, 2019.      Sea Day crossing the "Ditch".   49/183

Ditch refers to the 1200 by 1700 mile (1900 by 2700 km) sea between New Zealand and Australia.  Likewise, the Atlantic is commonly called the "Pond".  Will take us three days to reach Sydney, so hoping for calm winds. Gales from the Antarctic are common.

Interesting that the land masses are predominately in the Northern Hemisphere, with the southerly most land of Tierra De Fugeo is at 54.8 S parallel.  Much of the Northern Hemisphere lays above the 55 N  parallel.

Clocks went back an hour today, so we get to spend another 25 hour day. Allows us to slowly recover the day we lost at the International Date Line, one hour at a time without the suffering caused by a multi-hour time zone change.

We have obligatory exercise commitments today, as well as our ongoing responsibility to consume our share of the amazing cuisine.  Must minimize waste, right?

David Cooke performed a rousing rendition of "Danny Boy" for our guest talent night, in the main show room.  He brought the house down!

Women in New Zealand won the right to vote in 1893, the first country to do so, which was about 25 years ahead of North America.

Roger gave a detailed accounting of the luxurious yachts used over the centuries by rich, famous and royal personalities. Even Cleopatra had a fancy reed 'yacht'.
































Japanese Imperial Yacht on permanent display


















Queen Victoria's personal bed was used in both of her yachts




German Kaiser



American yacht used by several Presidents





Submarine Yacht









Russian circular yacht / gunboat that would turn to aim instead of having swivelling turrets.
Was a failure!



Five master configuration required to display the five official ensigns for the Royal Yacht

Royal Yacht Britannia


Royal Yacht Britannia






Royal Yacht Britannia used to sign over Hong Kong to China in 1997




John Wayne's yacht named "Wild Goose" which cruised extensively in the Oceans.  

February 28,2019.   Wellington, NZ    48/183

Wellington, population 240,000, is located on the Southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island, on the Cook Strait.  Winds regularly sweep the area at up to 90 mph, making it one of the breeziest place anywhere.  Rugged shorelines, semi-mountainous terrain covered with a large variety of trees and well maintained architecture for a beautiful environment.

New Zealand"s population is 70% of English and Scottish decent, 15% Maori and the balance of Polynesian, Indian an Chinese origin. A peace treaty was signed with the very competent waring Maoris in about 1842, which set the foundation for a successful integration of these proud aboriginal people into future New Zealand society.  They participate in society on an equal footing, with full personal and property rights, while retaining their heritage. No "reserves" for these people, unlike the huge North American errors that were made decades later.

A open rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is evident everywhere.  Each nationality spares no quarter when giving verbal shots! Example occurred when a travelling mate told a Kiwi that he liked his Australian accent.  The New Zealander shot back with you better watch out or we will wash  your mouth out with soap.  He was serious!  Today our Kiwi driver asked if there were any Australians on board our bus, stating if there were, he would talk more slowly!  This friendly rivalry stems from the competition in rugby, foot ball (Soccer to North America) and cricket. 

Our day was spent using a Hop On, Hop Off bus service, visiting their Botanical Gardens, touring the Museum of New Zealand followed by a nice lunch.  This no admission fee museum holds impressive displays and accounts of their military history, Maori culture, plus extensive material on all areas of NZ society.  Would require days to adequately cover all the exhibits.

Views from Beacon Hill






Shortist international runway in the world.




One of the exhibits in the Museum






1 kilometre walk through the Botanical Gardens.



Many cacti like those in Arizona



















Parlament Buildings





















Preparing to cast off.



View of the South Island as we exit Cook Strait onto the Tasman Sea




Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February 27, 2019,  Sea Day   47/183

Roger gave a lecture on Gettysburg:  yes a Scottish Professor cruising along the East cost of New Zealand gave an excellent accounting of the greatest battle of the American civil war.  I will not attempt to encapsulate any part of his presentation on this epic historical confrontation, as I  would do it no justice.  I have attached several photos which do convey a sense of the impact of this momentous event.

On the lighter side, Roger offered an explanation of the derivation of the word "Politics".

poli -  Greek or Latin for many....
tics  -  Blood sucking insects...

Our evening was capped off by classical pianist Krzysztof Malek!


Spent day cruising to Wellington along the East coast of the North Island

Famous quotes





Lunch with David and Liliane Cooke

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

February 26, 2019    Auckland, NZ    46/183

Great day in the city of 1.6 million which is one third of the population of New Zealand.  Rode a Hop On bus with friends and visited the Sky Tower for a city overlook.  Several extinct volcanoes loom over the extremely clean city, which is surrounded by numerous inlets, two harbours and majestic scenery.  Photos below tell it better.

Everyone commented that they could spend a lot of time here, mixing with the friendly residents, enjoying the sidewalk eateries and just hanging out.  Found a nice Japanese restaurant on Parnell Street.

The sail-away was epic: watching Auckland slowly fad into the distance, sun setting, as we dined on the rear deck.  Life is good!

Incidentally, only the third time that we had to share a port with another cruise ship.





Sky Tower in Auckland

Views from 772' on the Sky Tower







Looking through the glass floor on the Sky Tower at 772'



David Craddock


Younga Craddock


Extinct volcano in the background, as viewed from the tower










View of the 700 ' elevator shaft through the glass floor.  Makes a person's knees weak!!












Cleanup time

















































Younga Carddock



Three dudes sporting NZ cuts!







Watching the sail-away from ship's rear deck.

Auckland in the distance






Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 25, 2019    Bay of Islands, New Zealand  45/183       21 hours ahead of Victoria time.

Our first stop in New Zealand is the 144 island area called Bay of Islands. Being a major 19th century whaling port, Russel was a wild and bawdy stop for the sailors. Now historical remnants remain which make for interesting touring.  Weather was refreshingly cooler, in the low 70s, a significant departure from the 90s of Fiji.  Luckily we skirted a cyclone as it moved North and behind us.

Merrilynne is under the weather today: too much butter on a seeries of dishes at lunch the day before.  Oceania do well with their health protocols which include all food being served by employees.  ie.  You dare not try to serve yourself or a hand will reach out and grab the utensil from you.  In spite of this, the "odd" goofball still occasionally trys!

Scenery is nice, apparently fishing is excellent but not much else to do in this resort.








Gasoline is priced in litres - US equivalent in US currency - $6.30 / gallon!