Goin' Down, Under travel blog

Dunedin .... as close as we got

Sun rising somewhere over Dunedin

Today was to be a full day of visiting Dunedin, an area dubbed the "Edinburgh of the South" because it was settled by Scots who maintained many of the traditions of their homeland in the society they created. Given my pseudo-Scottish heritage (Dad, born of Lithuanian parents who immigrated to Scotland, was raised in Glasgow before himself immigrating to Canada in the early 50s). I was quite looking forward to the full day tour laid on for us that would se us visiting New Zealand's only castle (Larnach Castle) and its reportedly beautiful gardens, followed by a tour of the Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head (the "world's only mainland colony of albatross"). My own personal history of 23 years in the brewing industry also had me looking forward to the tour of the Speight's Brewery, which ironically was to followed up by a hike up along "the world's steepest street!

Was? Had been?

I got up early this morning, got my trip in to the gym well before sun up, and in time to watch the ship enter Port Chalmers and watched with some curiosity as we seemed to be continuously changing course as we neared the coast. Finally came the always-ominous announcement from the bridge: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. I'm sorry to disturb you at this early hour, but ..."

Unfortunately sea conditions had not improved dramatically overnight, and with no sign of a break in the weather for at least the next several hours, the captain decided it was too hazardous to attempt an entry to the port, and we'd therefore be heading back out to sea and directly for our next port of call, Christchurch.

I immediately called our tour coordinators, Jim and Karen, who I'm sure were expecting me to be all over them to get some money back (I've established a firm reputation with them over the past couple of weeks as demanding full value for my money ... Jim/Karen, as you read this you know I was kidding right???). Instead I invited them to the dining room for a most enjoyable little breakfast of blueberry pancakes (billed as what I would not have guessed to be a "Philadelphia favourite").

So as a result, we've been crusing along the New Zealand coast today at a noticeably lower 6-7 knots, about ½ our normal speed. About mid-morning the weather changed dramatically, and coincidentally I enjoyed partial to full sun most of the day on my balcony upon which I spent a most enjoyable day. At noon I broke open a bottle of Australian Semillon (delicious!), and burned through about 300 pages of a novel my daughters bought me for this trip.

Life is indeed good!

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