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Day 29, February 3rd At Sea crossing the Tasman Sea en route to Newcastle, Australia

S35 degrees 12.030' E159 degrees 57.129' now 73 degrees with mostly calm seas with 4' swells from the south. Making 16.5 knots at 287 degrees west it is a much nicer day on the Tasman sea than yesterday. The Tasman sea is known to be a very stormy rough area especially in the winter. Good thing it is summer here! Yesterday was rain all day and high winds of 40 mph, too much for walking on deck at all. Pool deck was deserted and indoor dining was full. We spent about 2 hours at breakfast, an hour at lunch and two hours at dinner. Hard to fit much else in during the day. Today is a different story of calm winds and 70 degrees. Busy day today, all have walked the deck, Bill had a massage, at 10:30 we have boot camp with Karen again and then right off to jacket fitting for world cruisers followed by a lunch for world cruisers. They are filling the pool again this morning as yesterday was too much for it spilling out on the deck. Pool volleyball should be held once again at 3:00 pm. Our last port was New Plymouth and it was on the NZ news that we showed up as only their second ship for the year. We were off to Mount Taranoki for the morning. There was a German hiker that had been lost for 48 hours and there was an active search in progress for her. Bad weather was due in the afternoon so they were hard at it and even had military helicopters briefly overhead as conditions allowed. The top of the mountain is a 10 hour round trip so we did an area around the visitor center, the same walk that the German got lost on but we had a guide. Off now for boot camp, will fill in later. We have two half days at sea and two full days to Newcastle. We are now on our last full day.

A private garden area we visited

Our rocky trail

Dawn on Taranoki Mt. Hike

After the bus came down the mountain we stopped at a private garden for an hour and a half and had some tea and sausage rolls and walked around the garden paths. One path connected to the city trail that is over 20 kilometers running by the ocean and wooded areas. Dawn was on this for a while and got lost for 20 minutes. She eventually made her way to a city street where a friendly Kiwi garbage collector directed her back to the garden start.

Our previous port of Nelson, NZ we had no shore excursion so took a rest after hiking Mt. Victoria in Wellington and just walked the town. Stopped at Starbucks for the internet but found that Nelson had a citywide free wifi that was blazing fast so switched to that. Walked up their nice main street after taking the ships shuttle to city center. Got Bill to at least walk up a bunch of steps to an old church that had nice grounds and a huge large bell tower. After stopping at the Kathmandu store to buy a little backpack for me we walked through a little open area and found a very good one man band playing. (Note: Kathmandu is a Kiwi outdoor outfitter chain and I got a buyer discount because they still had me in their system from five years ago in Queenstown for the Millford Sound hike) A guy had a little trailer with a wood fired pizza oven so we had one for $10 Kiwi, it was good. Dawn went shopping so Bill & Paul found Macs/Vics brewery and sat outside for a beer or two followed by a nice bottle of Ned Pinot Gris and another "platter" but this one wasn't very good (except for the olives).

Macs or Vics

Wood fired pizza oven

Mac's, same as Vics. A gull flew in the open door of the restaurant and we had a good time watching staff trying to get it out.

Just done with Karen boot camp. Yes she dreamed up new ways to punish us. We had timed exercise tests so we can compare in a month or two what our progress is. We left room for improvement.

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