Leaving a cold & snowy Ottawa in November 2007,
Looking like a winter wonderland. It was a very good time to venture south to warmer climes.
Had to wait for the plane to be de-iced
but soon away, up and over the US prairies, if that is what they are called outside Canada.
and then coming in to land at Honolulu. My second time here so not quite so exciting but still very exotic.
Time ashore before getting on the cruise allowed a quick flit to the North shore, famed for big waves & surfing
But no surfing today..
The waves were too big..
And the cliffs on the east coast. Met my nephew & his future wife who actually live here, silly people.
My nephew dropped me off at the Celebrity ship, the Mercury for a voyage to New Zealand. Taking in French Polynesia on the way.
This is leaving Honolulu..
FIRST STOP IS HILO on HAWAII'S BIG ISLAND
I don't know why, but I have no photos from here.
I remember walking the not very nice road into town looking to find a postcard to send.
I did find one but was told by the girl who sold it that they do not sell stamps & the post office is closed. I gave her 10 dollars & asked her to post the card for me on Monday.
And told her I would come back and ask for my money back if the card was not received.
It did arrive - about 2 weeks after I got home.
NEXT STOP IS TAHITI
Tahiti - what a name! Just rolls of the tongue. Doesn't everyone have an image of Tahiti in their head?
A lot of people do not like long ocean voyages. If they do not they should not be on this boat It took 6 days to get here.
I had said they were de-icing the plane when I left & that I still managed to get to Hawaii with plenty of time. That was a good thing. A lot of people were from Montreal & these poor souls missed Honolulu, and embarked in Hilo but their luggage did not catch up to them til Tahiti. Ooops!
This ship has formal nights so I did my James Bond impression, & borrowed Fred's wife
& and had a Martini.
I asked the barman what the difference is between shaken & stirred
"Well sir, one is Shaken, and one is Stirred"
He added that one might get more diluted than than other, or one more cold than the other.
Anyway - mine was so big & so strong it lasted from pre-dinner drinks to desert.
Getting here, we had to cross the equator, a first for me.
5 seconds north
and a 80 seconds south
And this is what the equator looks like, & no, there is no white line on the ocean.
And a Squall at sea..
This guy was either dead or enjoying himself. Either way, I left him there,
A rainbow in the squall.
Finally, Papeete, Tahiti
Where it was raining. I went for a bus ride to Paul Guagin's gallery but he wasn't in so I left
It was very wet...
This lady is a nurse from England whose name I forget. We met up for some tours & breakfast occasionally.
I was a little disappointed with Tahiti. Moorea on the other hand, I liked a lot.
Local ladies looking very nice on their way to church..
This little boat was in the process of sailing across the Pacific. A French couple with a young girl of about fourteen.
Quite the adventure for her.
I went out on a little boat with a Doctor whose specialty is Dolphins.
Naturally, I did not actually get to see any Dolphins, but that is par for the course with me.
A tip - never go on a Whale watch, Dolphin watch or any other sort of watch with me. I am a Jinx for that.
But you might want to have a look at this though, if you like whales.....
Anyway it was a great little boat ride & we did get to see things like this..
And this view of Tahiti
More on Moorea later we have moved on to
What wonderful names. I have wanted to come here since reading James Michener books - Hawaii, Tales from the South Pacific etc.
Some fish from a glass bottomed boat
some more fish
Not laundry, but sarongs that have just been dyed
And now another 5 or six days at sea until reaching New Zealand.
so - what to do?
Of course - line dance. What was I thinking?
Here's Fred's wife again, kicking up her heels. And the lady next to her has finally done something other than eat & play Bridge. Like a lot of cruise ship passengers, she plays Bridge. But all the time.
FIrst time I heard about Bridge on board I was disappointed we were to play cards & not tour the Bridge.
Say goodbye to the crew, a bit early, we don't get off til Auckland
Surprise Valerie. A long time breakfast companion.
Bay of Islands,
north of Auckland. I went for a ride on this sailing ship
Is this where the expression 'three sheets to the wind' comes from?
The nurse was really enjoying this & pulling her weight....
My favourite occupation - watching people work...
Here's the nurse again taking over. She asked me to take these photos for her but unfortunately, I never saw her again.
My favourite barman
Valerie took these of my sailing ship coming home but missed the cannon going off in salute..
NOW IN AUCKLAND
Just about to disembark in Auckland.
My ship with the Tower in the background. Come 2011 & I will be in that hotel,,
Say goodbye to two more breakfast companions, Diana & Peter.
GreenPeace in the harbour.
A ride on a sailboat out on Auckland harbour. Nice & windy. I decline the offer of steering ..
It's New Zealand & you learn to be careful of the Bungy jumpers .. even on the Ocean ,,,
I see there is a drug problem here too...
At Kelly Tarlton's Undersea World, we by-pass the line up & into a snow-cat for a ride to the Antarctic
Then a visit at the Botanical Gardens.
Lilies - a favourite of mine. Always look good.
for yet another final goodbye to Diana & Peter..
A last look at Auckland from the top of the hill & it's time for the flight to Rotorua, a bit further south, about the middle of North Island
Four days here to explore the thermal stuff around about..
It's all over the place .. Formal tourist spots where you pay entrance fees, & local parks & beaches. Even houses making use of the geothermal heat.
A KIWI - Not real though, a model..
A sheep shearing demonstration & beauty pageant outside Rotorua
The MC asks for people of different nationalities to shout out.
US - two people
UK - one person.
NZ - Ten
Korea - & the place erupts - must have been over a hundred....
Time now for the famous New Zealand sports.....
Canadian Ice Hockey on TV
A stop to look at the Lady Grey Geyser erupt ... right on time.
They force it to erupt by putting a little washing up liquid on top. It creates some tension & up pops the Geyser.
An unusual looking apartment block & nature taking over a street light
One of my first memories of New Zealand is the Black Swans on their stamps...
Howie the Pig Hunter is a member here.
The back of a bus....
Some one has a nice spot for their house.....
Near here is the Rotorua tourist place. I got advice & booked excursions there. Could not have been more helpful & even sent a van to pick me up from the hotel to bring me here to meet the tour bus.
Make very sure you go round the round-about the correct way.
JET BOAT RIDE AT TAUPO
The Earth in action
Boiling mud & wonderful colours
A rather bad little video, best played full screen...
& back to the lake at Rotorua
Homeward bound with a stopover in San Francisco
The hotel in Japan Town was excellent & I was able to walk most places from there.
We have a spider like that in Ottawa. I should check the artist..
I have crossed the bay & am now in the very pleasant town of Sausalito
Nuclear & Cholesterol free zones....
And a nice touch with the parking....
After walking around Sausalito I move out of town a little
I see this float plane & as luck would have it, there is room for me on a sight seeing flight over the bay.
After the flight it is a meal at a lovely little restaurant with a view of the city in the distance
Best not mess with the locals. They carry large weapons...
A longer stop in Chicago than anticipated - this guy died waiting. I know how he feels
more de-icing. Back to reality.
A very long trip. I may do it again one day. I love those long days at sea..