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Published: November 30th 2009
There were many responses to our blog about the rescue from staff and passengers on board and family and friends back home. The wife of Staff Captain Alain, the hero of the day, wrote to say how proud she was of her husband. Alain told us that he talked with his 7 year old daughter and she asked him not to do that again! We also received an email from New Zealand TV asking if they could use our blog pictures in their report of the event. The story is big news here in NZ. There have been numerous newspaper articles as well as TV and radio reports. When we arrived in Dunedin the ship was met by many reporters from the local media. They interviewed Captain de LaCombe as well as Bernt Lϋchtenborg. Bernt said that while awaiting assistance his insurance company had advised him to accept help as our ship was the only craft within 500 miles who would be able to help him. Anita Lϋchtenborg, Bernt's wife, pleaded with him to abandon his stricken vessel. She was wiring him money and a copy of his passport so that he could start the process of recovering his boat. His
Stan and Alain
Captain and Staff Captain--"The A Team"
plan is to hire a fishing boat and go in search of his yacht. As Anita said, “He wants to catch his boat. She is alone on the sea.” He definitely hopes to continue his journey after he gets the repairs done. When we talked with him he had not slept in four days. Being off his boat had left him very unsettled and he said, “I cannot find my silence,” meaning that his mind kept replaying all of the events of the last several days. Also he had not been with another human being in the past five months and here he was on a luxury ship surrounded by 650 inquisitive passengers. Captain Stan said that it was because of teamwork and training that the operation was a success. The three rescuers were awarded a commendation from the Regent home office as well as the lasting gratitude of Mr Lϋchtenborg. Brian O’Brien, the Regent cruise consultant, wrote a beautiful tribute to the ship’s staff that were involved and Dodie Bacon used some of our pictures in the piece. Cruise Director, Paul Reynolds filmed all the action from start to finish and interviewed Bernt before the sailor left the Mariner.
There is still quite a buzz around the ship about this exciting event.
The rough weather followed us right into the fjords of New Zealand. It was rainy, windy and foggy—not exactly the kind of day to be sightseeing. We are fortunate that we have been here on clear days to enjoy the spectacular sights. But after all the excitement of the sea rescue, I think many passengers were happy to relax and just enjoy the passing scenery. Actually, because there has been so much rain recently, we got to see many lovely waterfalls and every now and then get a glimpse of some of the sheer cliffs rising up to the sky. Plus inside the fjords we are generally protected from the high seas and winds of the open ocean. We cruised into Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds over the course of the day.
We celebrated Thanksgiving on board and had much to be thankful for. We got a chance to talk with almost everyone in our families on the holiday. Of course in this part of the world there is not much mention of the all-American celebration. But on the ship we had a lovely turkey dinner with
friends Bonnie and Lou and then an after dinner dance to some American favorites.
This is a very port intensive segment of the cruise with eight calls in eight days. We enjoyed the very Scottish towns of Dunedin and Christchurch and then decided to take a “sea day” on a cold and rainy day in Picton. Actually it was a good time to make greeting cards, do laundry, catch up on email and work on the blog. I feel sorry for Captain de LaCombe as he hasn’t had exactly ideal weather since taking command of the Mariner. Last night after leaving Christchurch we encountered 77mph winds. So there we were sailing up the east coast of New Zealand at a decided list--nothing that the Mariner can’t handle. But I’m sure that Captain Stan is looking forward to Polynesia with its tropical weather and gentle breezes just for a change of pace. So are we!
Upon leaving Picton Captain Stan announced that we would drop anchor in the lovely Queen Charlotte Sound and spend most of the night on the hook. This is a protected anchorage and a fine place to gently rock at anchor and then cross the tempestuous Cook
Robbie Burns statue in front
Strait in the early morning hours when the wind has calmed.
We had sunny weather in “Windy Welly” as the country’s capitol city is called, so it was a good day for touring around. Wellington is now more famous for its movie industry than for its governing role. America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood and New Zealand has Wellywood. Home-town boy, Peter Jackson, directed the Oscar winning trilogy “Lord of the Rings.” There are numerous tours to the various filming locations around Wellington. We took our group to the Weta Workshop where we saw a film on how the wizards and monsters and special effects were made for the Rings movies as well as "King Kong” and “The Lovely Bones.” We enjoyed the panoramic views from Mount Victoria and took a cable car ride up the steep cliffs of the city. There are over 360 private cable cars in Wellington which enable residents to get from street level up to their homes. We had an all too brief stop at the wonderful Te Papa Museum which houses the country’s treasures of history, art and culture. We ended the afternoon at the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club where we dined at
Bob & Kathleen
Formal nite on Mariner
the award winning Martin Bosley Restaurant. Mr Bosley’s food is considered edible art because of the unique way in which he presents his culinary creations. We washed down Martin’s artwork with excellent Kiwi chardonnays and pinot noirs.
We are looking forward to our visit to Auckland where we will rendezvous with my brother Steve and wife Deb and baby Ellie. We will be visiting four more ports in New Zealand before heading up to the fabled islands of James Michener’s “South Pacific.”
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