Sunday 6 Jan
A busy day while the ship was at sea. First up after breakfast was Morning Trivia. We teamed up with another couple we met earlier and performed abysmally (with a score of 6 out of 15)...obviously geography was not our strong point. Darryl competed in Lawn Games (golf) and made the semi-finals. Next was 'Heartbeat of the Operation: Galley Tour which started with a glass of champaigne and ended with “Taste of Solstice Cooking Demonstration”. A typical cruise (of 16 days) goes through 25,500 lbs of beef, 58,500 lbs of fresh vegetables, 52,500lbs of fresh fruit, 35,000 litres of beer, 96,300 litres of milk, 18,500 bottles of wine, plus lots more. All leftovers are processed and then used to assist to fuel the ship. We watched a Destination Presentation, about Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin and Milford Sound, which really was trying to sell the shore tours. Once again we enjoyed the Hot Glass Show for the afternoon, where the 3 craftsmen made different pieces to the previous show. I went to a Whiskey Chat (tasting) and learned that I quite like Jack Daniels! Then I enjoyed a “Memories @ Sea Scrapbooking” session, while Darryl watch some people lose lots of money at the Casino. This evening was a formal dinner, which we didn't want to attend, so we went to the buffet and enjoyed Sushi and other delicacies. In the evening we had the Captain's Welcome Toast, with a free glass of champagne, a Guess the Gemstone competition – it was an opal but we still didn't win, we had about an hour in the Whirlpool Spa, I attented the second Captain's Toast to get another glass of wine, while Darryl enjoyed the Impreza String Trio: Classical Strings, before we went to watch the movie “Hunger Games”.
Monday 7 Jan
A beautiful day in Wellington, no wind and lovely blue skies. First we walked to Te Papa – the National Museum – as we had enjoyed it so much in 2005 that we wanted to see it again.
There were some new exhibitions, but even the old ones were still interesting. They now have a giant squid, the largest invertebrate in the world, and the only one on display anywhere in the world. It was interesting to see the geologic history of New Zealand again. We then went our separate ways, Darryl walked up Mt Victoria, and I went on the Cable Tram up to the Botanic Gardens, before going to the National Library to do some family history research.
Tuesday 8 Jan
We were anchored in Arkoroa Harbour and tendered in to the beautiful little French town where cousin James and his wife Liz were waiting for us. We had a coffee at Bully Hayes (named after the notorious American pirate of the 1800s who used to frequent the bays) ,then Darryl made for a walk up the mountains around the town, while we had a lovely time looking through shops, the markets, lunch and then to the Giant's House, a wonderful, colourful, fantasy garden mosaic sculpture.
We relaxed there to French music and chatted until time came to head down to the dock for the tender trip back to the ship.
It was a really enjoyable day for me, as I had good company, and Arkaroa is such a lovely place to be. Darryl had walked up past the Lighthouse, a historic landmark from 1879 which had been relocated to its current position in 1980. He took photos at the cemetery above the lighthouse, After dinner we headed up to Deck 15 the lawn deck for the Hot Glass Show again, and were once again enthralled by the making of a huge black and white apple, a turtle hatching out of its shell, and a crackle goblet.
Wednesday 9 Jan
A bit of a miserable day to start with, and I wasn't feeling the best. Combined with us being docked 2 hours walk from Dunedin, I decided to stay on board. Darryl, of course, headed for the nearest mountains! He found Scott of the Antartic's memorial, Flagstaff and Sculpture Gardens Beach Road Walk, tasted some wild-growing wild.
I was chatting to a lady from Taupo and we ended up going to the Bistro together. Darryl was there and he didn't take much to convince me to go into Port Chalmers to check out “The Barking Fish” a jewellery store where the pieces are pretty much all hand made by the man who runs it...I bought earrings and a ammonite neck ornament. In the evening I went to a liquor tasting and found a liqueur I really like – Amarula. After dinner we participated in “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” and really didn't do very well, but it was still quite fun, before heading to the show - “Michael Harrison” a very funny ventriloquist and comedian.