On a relatively small cruise ship The Golden Princess, we headed for the New Zealand and Milford Sounds which rivals the Fiords in Scandinavia.
There is no way to really capture the three dimensional grandeur of what we saw but here’s try:
Dad is hanging out with the comedian from the stage last night in the hot tub, watching the splendor go by:
Right about here is where I slipped on the wet, slippery stairs that you can see at the bottom left and bounced down a few steps and cracked my tailbone. (This is where I found out which of our kids is actually reading this blog LOL)! I’m fine but it’s really hard to sit down and even harder to stand up. I’m fine while standing and I can sleep so that’s good news. Another woman on the cruise fell down the exact same steps withint a couple of hours and broke her leg in two places so it could be a lot worse! the cruise company seemed sommitted to changing the grips on those steps (it’s slick, rounded metal on the edge) so that is good!
Our first stop was on the South Island of New Zealnad at the 2nd largest city there, Dunedin. We were amazed at the vast piles of lumber, which seems to be a major export from these Islands. We saw lumber trucks everywhere and huge piles at every port.
We got on buses and went to the the steepest street in the world. Rick and Randall went right to the top while Tamina and I hung around at the bottom of the hill with my unhappy tailbone. I neglected to take a picture of the street. Duh!
After that we headed for the very tip of the Island where there was a Lighthouse and a military installation just in case Russia sent forces in to capture New Zealand during the war. The most important thing was that it was the nesting place for about 100 albatross….a truly remarkable bird! They are enormous with a tri-fold wing span of over 6 feet! They mate for life, take turns sitting on the eggs for the 80 days it takes to hatch an egg and then fly off in different directions for from one to five years after having flown for years! The incredible thing is that they come back to their exact nesting spot within a few hours of each other, even though they have been flying for years. When the baby birds finally learn to use their wings and take off, they do not touch the ground again, usually for about four years! Is that amazing or what? Not sure what they eat but they have tracked them with electroic devices and they know that’s a fact!
Nesting on the hillside:
These people’s heads who were soldiesr in WW I were a bit smaller than Richard’s.
I thought the whole thing was fascinating!
The next day we got on tenders to get from the ship to the shore and then boarded boats to go out and see the wildlife of the sea. Rick went on a sailboat and I went on an bigger boat so that I could stand up.
When I asked our captain who was also the boat owner how close we were to where they filmed The Lord of the Rings, he told us about his journey to Wellington to try out for a part in the movie. After four days they did actually cast him as a Dwarf Trader but then decided to cut that part out, as the movie was going too long. Don’t you think he would make a perfect Dwarf Trader?
We saw lots of nesting birds, seals and some beautiful water!
These little dolphins where everywhere and these four stayed at the front of the bow with the boat going full-speed for about 10 minutes! Fun to watch!
On to Wellington!