NZ Bits and Pieces

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February 18th 2020
Published: February 18th 2020
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NZ 2020 Bits and pieces.

It’s been ten days since I got home and still feeling the effects of jet lag.

A word about the flights. No matter how you fly, these flights are killers. One thing I noticed when landing in LA from NZ was how grumpy the people were. Grumpy and rude.

The people I came in contact with in NZ couldn’t have been nicer, more friendly and helpful. From the woman pushed my chair to the wait staff at the hotel to the port personnel, smiles were everywhere.

Contrast to LA where I felt I was putting everyone out. Just doing their job seemed a burdensome chore. Also the difference between the Auckland airport and LAX is striking. It seems like we are becoming a third world country.

One thing stood out was the lack of graffiti in NZ. I’m sure there is some but I didn’t see any at all. Auckland is in a construction boom, improving infrastructure and preparing to greet the word for the next Americas Cup Race. It’s inconvenient but NZ is moving toward the future. What a concept.

It’s summer in NZ and it was refreshing to see green trees and flowers. One plant in particular is the agapanthus which grows wild here. These are giant purple or white blooms on tall stems and grow in clusters. Stunning.

While walking around the deck I noticed a fellow release a sea bird. It seems that the ship’s lights attract them and while most head right out to sea, this little guy was stunned on landing. The Good Samaritan gently picked it up and opened his hands. The bird flew out to sea. Very nice.

Most of the passengers on the cruise are Aussies, Canadian or Kiwis. One overriding concern of many Aussies was their homes on the edge of the brush fires. Those I spoke to were depending on family or good friends to keep them informed. Still, they were fun companions on our adventures.

When we set sail from Rapier, we lost propulsion of our starboard engagement engine. This meant we would skip the port of Gisborn.

While the crew scrambled to correct the problem, the Captain worked with the home office, the ports of Gisborn, Tauranga and Auckland, the underwriters and port authorities to figure out whether we can continue on one engine and when. As mentioned Gisborn is out, our port call in Tauranga was curtailed and we arrived in Auckland six hours early. Such is the cruising life. Ship happens.

Since my flight out of Auckland was a 11:00pm, I booked the longest excursion I could find. This took me to the Antarctic Adventure aquarium. The vision of an adventurous explore and diver, it contains not only animals but artifacts from Antarctic explorers. I especially loved watching the penguins, rays and sea horses. From there we went to the Sky Tower for an incredible view of the city and harbor and watched very either brave or stupid folks bungee jump off the tower.

From there we rode to a beach front village of Takanini where I enjoyed a lovely lunch with two Marine vets and their wives. I ignored the Vets for Trump hat and relaxed and enjoyed their company.

Then it was to the airport for a six hour layover.


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