It was all so peaceful and serene as the harbor ferries stopped in their wake and the big ship swung off its berth and across the seaside of the Sydney opera house.
As we sailed back to New Zealand we met up with the remains of the cyclone, and so for two days we had force 5 winds and seas of 7 to 8 feet.
Auckland was old familiar, territory to us. It was even warm and sunny, and that made walking around seeking coffee and free wi fi even better.
Sailing out of Auckland heading to Tauranga, where our mission was to paddle kayaks around thermal pools. We were gearing up for the adventure when the cabin phone rang, and we were told that the vendor canceled our adventure because of weather.
Tauranga is still a beautiful place even in the rain, that turned to pouring rain when we were aboot as far away from shelter as one could get. This is also the day when I suspected my motor company rain jacket might not be as waterproof as it once was.
No worries though as we sailed towards Gisborne, and our next adventure, that also got canceled as the ship was unable to run the tenders, required to get to shore, because of strong winds.
Again, no worries as we sailed to Wellington the capital of New Zealand. A capital city with a cruise port, that is not being used because it was damaged in the last earthquake. But the ship tied up to the industrial dock and we were bussed away to Zeelanda.
Zealanda encompasses all the land surrounding one of the former lakes used for the city’s water supply. The lakes were decommissioned because the dams lie right on the earthquake fault that damaged the cruise port. But Zealanda is making the best of it by building a predator proof fence around the entire place, removing all the non-native plants, and restoring the habitat to its pre-European pristineness. They say they have only 500 more years to get the job done and seem in no way discouraged by the fact that humans only have aboot 100 or so years left on this planet.
Sailing out of Wellington the seas got angry. The local pilot was unable to get off the ship and crossing the Cook Strait and for most of the night we had force 9 winds and 12-15 foot seas. Needless to say, our next port Akaroa where tenders were required was our second missed port. The seas didn’t quiet down until the next morning approaching Port Chalmers.
Port Chalmers is a great place to spend some days. We only had one and rode the tour bus to Natures Wonders, where the previvors take you by bus or Argo down to the protected beach where fur seal pups frolic among the rocks.
They even have habitat for the Little Blue Penguin that was molting in its den high up the hillside.
The ship is headed to the bottom of the South Island today. Fiordland for “scenic cruising” then it’s back across the Tasman, back to Sydney for a turn around that will end up in San Pedro California.