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twangster

Standing Ovation from the Land Down Under - New Zealand 11 Nights Feb. 2, 2020

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I saw more long boats racing in the harbor.

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As I wandered along the waterfront I came across the starting line.

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It's a very pleasant city to walk around.

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In this area I found an underground craft market.

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I also found the nest for the long boat participants.

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Using my Anchor app I headed in the direction of the second bus stop.

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Back on the ship here is the bus area for cruise ships at the port.  It's very well organized.

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Did I mention trees are a major export for New Zealand?

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Some views of the harbor from the ship.

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Sail away and back into the Pacific.

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I hit the motherload in the Windjammer tonight.  I used to painstakingly carve the skin off with a knife but I've learned there are a lot of nutrients in the skin so after a quick rinse... yum.

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Temperature tonight for those keeping score.

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Oh my goodness! Your comment about hitting the motherload in the WJ made me laugh so hard! I have a good friend who eats the entire kiwi all the time and both myself and the kids that we teach all take turns laughing at him. Little did we all know. 😆

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Day 8 - Dunedin Sea Day 

I had a feeling based on prior announcements we wouldn't make Dunedin.  Morning confirmed that.

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Given our position well off shore at this hour I knew we wouldn't be visiting Dunedin on this day.

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This is perfect.  We never made it to the South Island of New Zealand.  This is actually pretty ideal.  Now I have full and legal justification to book another cruise to New Zealand.

We slowed our speed and took the windy swell under a nice gentle speed.  Eventually our pilot for the sounds approached and we turned to shelter the pilot boat from the wind.

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The turn gave those on the port side a nice view of the coast.

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I'm time shifting here.  Captain Ryan recorded a video that was put on RCTV later on this day.  I'm cheating by throwing it in here.  

I always appreciate when the Master of the vessel takes the time to explain in detail why we had to skip a port.  

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The channel into the port is very narrow and not a simple straight line.  That makes it complex for a large ship (or any ship) to navigate safely in strong winds.

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And so we will slowly continue our way towards the sounds for tomorrow.

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Day 8 continued...

Kind of a gray dull day but the sea was amazing to watch from my balcony.  It's quite mesmerizing.  I used the day to catch up on this thread.  My Royal excursion for Dunedin was automatically refunded.

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Tonight live from the Ed Sullivan Royal Theater... The Australian Beatles!

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Very good and quite enjoyable.

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Day 9 - Cruising Through The Sounds

Last night our Captain had apologized again for having to skip Dunedin but was very optimistic about Dusky Sound. 

Milford Sound was still questionable since they had sustained flooding recently.  Something like a month's worth of rain in a few hours.  That had washed a lot of debris into the Sound and as of last night it was closed to ship traffic.

Overnight we had cruised around the Southern tip of New Zealand.

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This far South we are out of range of O3b satellites.  That period of intermittent connectivity yesterday occured as we switched over to traditional satellites for internet and so our internet speeds had slowed and ping times (latency) had increased dramatically.  Very much like Voom in Alaska.  

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For those keeping score at home, 12°C or 54°F.

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Little did I know we were about to experience the highlight of the cruise.

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Somewhere around 8am we approached the entrance to Dusky Sound.

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There was a sea mist in the air that made photography challenging.

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At this early hour the sun was low and very bright.  That didn't help with photography.

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Pictures don't do it justice.  It was stunning.

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Looking forward it was hard to see where we were going or how we would fit in between the islands.

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As we slowly made our way forward a path opened up for us.

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With the sun rising by the minute the beauty of this region became more apparent. 

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Like Alaska in some ways this is what sets these cruises apart from a traditional cruise.  It's amazing to see the ship in such close proximity to land and the peaks of the mountains around us.  It has to be experienced in person to fully understand.

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Amazing for a ship this size to navigate in these narrow waterways.

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Doubtful Sound

Named by Captain Cook in 1770 when he wasn't sure he would be able to get his ship out of the inlet so he never entered it.  As it turns out like Dusky Sound there is a passage we will transit through.  If there was any doubt that we would get to experience this sound today that fear was put to rest.  

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Photos do a poor job of showing the scale of the terrain right next to the ship.  It's quite amazing and needs to be experienced in person.

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Maybe it was a better understanding of what we were experience having been through Dusky Sound, or maybe it was better lighting with the sun higher in the sky but it seemed like Doubtful Sound was even better than Dusky Sound.

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This super wide angle photo doesn't give the same feeling seeing this massive mountain so close to the ship yet tower above it.

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All good things must come to an end and so does our passage through Doubtful Sound.

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You could see a distinct difference in the water between the open sea and the sheltered waters in the sound.

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Looking North up the coast.

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Looking South down the coast.

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At some point the Captain came on with news of Mlford Sound.  It's a go! 

We are to be the first large ship allowed back in since it was closed from the flooding.

Scheduled for a 4pm arrival we have a few hours of downtime on our way up the coast.

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Our progress...

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I keep waiting for "The line was short so I hopped in the North Star" but it hasn't happened yet. Is it a very popular attraction on this cruise?

Loving the photos from ship level though, and thrilled that you get to do Milford Sound. Can't wait to see the pictures of that!

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Milford Sound

When I booked this cruise I was focused on the port of calls.  The fact that we might also visit the sounds was an added bonus.  Little did I know the sounds would be the highlight of the cruise with Milford Sound leading the way.  Milford Sound is worth the price of admission alone.   

At a distance you can't see the entrance.  Milford Sound is an inlet where we go on, turn around and come back out the same way.  In that respect it's similar to Endicott Arm in Alaska.

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Like Doubtful Sound there are high mountains on each side.  However the terrain in Milford Sound is much more dramatic.

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