January 31, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 26

Day 26 – At sea on our way to Waitangi, New Zealand. Seas are pretty calm, temperatures in the low 70's with sporadic rain. The prediction for tomorrow is better.

Barbara gives a presentation on Auckland and Picton, our upcoming ports on Day 28 and Day 30. New Zealand has very strict agricultural laws, and the only food or liquid any passenger is allowed to bring off the ship is commercially bottled water. Port officials use canines to sniff out anything else, and of course all passengers are subject to search. I think I will not carry my own water bottle like I have been doing in other ports, if I get thirsty I can sample a local brew.

I learn a little background on the Maori cultural welcome team we have on board. The group is officially sponsored by the government. The leader is the head of the cultural studies at the university, and the others are all graduate students doing an internship as part of their studies. Their mission is a combination of education, entertainment, competition and presentations to represent the Maori culture in all aspects of New Zealand life including religion, tourism and the political process.

The captain has announced that to help compensate for the lack of tender 9, he is going to arrive in Waitangi several hours early. He didn't say so, but this implies they he was unsuccessful in securing a local vessel to use as a tender.

One of our other guest speakers, Joseph Kess, does a presentation on the expectations and findings of the early Dutch, British, and French explorers this afternoon. His presentation is good, but it is hard to be attentive mid afternoon.

The skies have cleared to partly sunny. After having spent over 70 years of my life in the Northern Hemisphere, it sure creates a strange internal feeling to have the sun in the North as we travel West. For those of you with no sense of direction, it probably doesn't matter.

It occurred to me that some of you are probably wondering what you would do on a ship all day, day after day between ports. I thought about just listing the activities for a complete day, but that would probably take 3 or 4 pages, so I will try to group and summarize the major organized activities. Activities today are:

10 various fitness activities; Catholic, Jewish, and interdenominational services; Watercolor painting, arts & crafts, knitting, and needle crafts; 3 seminars on Windows; 2 levels of bridge and many other board and card games; 2 different deck game sessions; 6 different lectures; A main stage show with 2 performances; A different movie every day, usually shown 2 or 3 times per day; Several sessions of trivia; Bingo; 3 different food and/or beverage preparation demonstrations; Gatherings of groups such as veterans, LGBT, friends of Bill W. and cigar smokers; Use the fitness center; Go to the casino; Read; Walk; Swim; Giant chess; shuffle board; Ping pong; Sun bathe; 4 Venues to dance and/or listen to music; Use the library; about 6 bar/lounges; and of course eat any time you want including daily afternoon tea.

I'm sure I have missed many others, including taking an afternoon nap, typing a blog or sitting on your balcony, sipping a glass of wine and watching the dolphins swim by.

Next on my agenda is The Maori Cultural Show in the Queen's Lounge. An extravaganza of costume, dance and song. I quickly leave the show to catch the last few minutes of happy hour in the Crow's Nest, and then to the Lido for dinner. A small salad and small portion of roast pork loin. (Definitely a smaller portion than what they would have served in the dining room.)

I Listen to Debby Bacon for an hour, and then go to tonight's show. While waiting for the show to start, I catch Gene Young to ask if he can have some influence on adjusting the cold temperatures in many of the public areas of the ship. Most people are bundled in sweatshirts, jackets, etc. Those that know me realize if I thinks its cold, it must be really cold for other people.

Simeon Wood plays several flute type instruments. Of course the standard concert flute, a bass flute, a curved pan flute, a long whistle, a short whistle, a recorder, and an instrument he designed himself, a cane flute. Yes a standard metal walking cane that he fashioned into a flute. I'm glad Debby was next to me so she could identify the pan flute for me, I had never seen one before.

The arrival party begins at 6:30 AM tomorrow morning on the bow of the ship. I guess that means an alarm clock day.