Blogs from Pacific, Oceans and Seas - page 12


Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 23rd 2012

Thursday, 23rd February 2012: We had never heard of Dunedin until Cunard decided to take us there but it proved to be the gateway to an amazing journey along the (famous!!) Taieri Gorge. And what made the journey great was the fact it was done on a wonderful old railway. 14 carriages were hauled by 3 old diesel engines and the return journey took us nearly 6 hours. Talk about rugged! There is almost no wildlife here: a few birds, some wild deer and goats and that's about your lot. We only saw 7 houses in all those hours and it's hardly surprising. The gorge makes Cheddar look like toy town. Its steep sides are covered in trees at the bottom of the gorge but it turns to large rocks and then just scree. You travel ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 22nd 2012

Wednesday 22nd February: For the first time in 6 weeks, our trip ashore today was affected by rain to the point where our plastic ponchos had to be wheeled into service. The clouds covered all the mountain peaks - and there are a lot of them - and our 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser took us straight up into them. So what should have been amazing panoramic views over both the north and south islands, was a misty view of not very much. We had an 'interesting' group in our vehicle. Just 6 guests but two of them were huge. They managed to make me feel positively skinny! At the first viewing point the rest of us got out but those two just wedged themselves into the front and stayed there. And began moaning. Kept on moaning. ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 21st 2012

Tuesday 21st February: Today we did our usual day at sea after a day ashore: we over-slept, missed breakfast in the main restaurant and had to drag ourselves kicking, screaming and bleary-eyed to the gym. But it was worth it because while we were there another mega pod of dolphins danced towards the ship. Hardly anyone kept going with their exercise as it's such a wonderful sight to see so many dolphins leaping out of the water. I wonder why they do that? Maybe it's just because they can. The other bit of news from the ship - and it's pretty mega - is that both Tilsons chose to skip lunch today. Never in the history of this trip has either of us chosen to go without a meal. Mind you it's really only reflective of ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 20th 2012

Monday 20th February: We've just got back on the ship as it's 7 pm and we sail in 30 minutes time and our feet throb, my hips are screaming and we've had a really excellent day here in Auckland. We had an early breakfast on board and then headed straight for the hop on/hop off bus and did the full 1-hour circuit of the city just so that we could orient ourselves. We then hopped off in time for the highlight of our day: a sail on one of New Zealand's America's Cup yachts. And it was brilliant. There weren't too many people on board so we had space to move around and anyone that wanted to join in with the actual sailing had plenty of opportunity. Richard helped man the grinders, hoist the mainsail, dragged ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 19th 2012

Sunday 20th February: Bad news this morning: for the first time since we left England the clocks had to move forward an hour. Every time we've had a time change until now we've gained an extra hour in bed but today we lost an hour. Which meant we woke up late so went to breakfast late so only just made the lecture at 10.00 (all about the air fight in the Falklands War). Notice anything missing from the list? This all meant we went to the gym late - just before lunch. And it was horrid having to dredge up motivation on top of a full stomach. Boy did it hurt today. Thank goodness the afternoon was dedicated to a classical guitar concert, swimming, reading, drinking tea and snoozing. Tonight we ate from a wonderful Chinese ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 18th 2012

Saturday 18th February: Phew, we are out of the Tropics so the temperature has crashed all the way down to the high 70s! It even rained a bit this afternoon but as we were already in the swimming pool it didn't really affect anything. Today has been a normal sea day with the usual rigours of breakfast, lecture, snooze, lunch, swim, snooze, swim again and just manage to cram in one more snooze before dinner. This evening we had one of those really out-dated events that Cunard places so much store by and that was the Captain's cocktail party. Having had all the day time activities it's quite a challenge to haul your body through the palaver of layering on make-up, bling and evening dress. And then you join a formal line before finding out if ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 17th 2012

Friday 17th February: Today I have a dilemma with our travel blog: two days ago I prattled on about how wonderful American Samoa was. Today I want to prattle on about how wonderful Fiji is. But as they are both Pacific paradises I hope you will forgive me adoring yet another place in this corner of the globe. Cunard virtually rented an island today and it was utterly perfect. Beachcomber Island is a little sandy outcrop sitting on top of a coral reef so the snorkelling was stunning. Neither of us has ever seen such a varied reef before so the coral life was magnificent and the fish even more so. Clown fish, angel fish, tiny fish in petrol colours, big fish with every type of artwork on them that you could imagine: spots, stripes, dark ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 16th 2012

Thursday 16th February: For the eagle eyed among you, you will have noticed that we failed to post a blog on Wednesday 15th February. This is because, unlike you, we have not had a 15th February. Crossing the international date line meant we had to put our clocks forward 24 hours which means we didn't lose any sleep but one chap on board did miss his own birthday! On board ship, it is now nearly half past ten at night and Richard has fired up the GPS on the iPad and it shows we've just nudged our way over the international date line but, for reasons known only to Cunard, although we actually crossed it about 10 minutes ago, they changed the time on board last night. At least with it being a leap year, we ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 15th 2012

Tuesday 14th February: Valentines Day brought us to American Samoa and as I'm writing this blog late into the evening, I can share with you the fact that many of the people on board reckon this is paradise. It is such a lush island; the tropical rain forest is dense and comes right to the water's edge. Once there, the water is crystal clear and tumbles gently over the occasional coral reef on its way in shore. Much of Somoa was devasted by the tsunami a few years ago but because it is so steeply volcanic, there are no rolling plains for the water to rush across and wreak havoc on. The wave got bounced by the high sides of the extinct volcanoes and many people were able to climb the hillsides and avoid the danger. ... read more

Oceans and Seas » Pacific February 14th 2012

Monday 13th February: Sorry to rub it in but the Equator in mid February is an absolutely fantastic place to be. It got to over 30 degrees today so we spent much of the morning on our balcony as that was on the shady side of the ship. By the time we went up to the pool area in the afternoon it was so hot there wasn't a single sunbed in the sun with a body on it. But we managed to find Richard a perfect arm chair in the shade. I wallowed in the pool with an eclectic mix of other guests. The pool could only have been improved if they'd chilled it down a bit to become refreshing. No-one was swimming but we all looked like a multi-coloured group of hippos wallowing at a ... read more

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