Holland America Lines Cruise - Auckland to Vancouver - 2017
March 30 - Akaroa, NZ (Christchurch)
We had another good night's sleep. I haven't discarded my earplugs yet, but I am getting used to the stateroom and ship sounds even though they are faint.
We arrived in Akaroa at 8:00 surrounded by fog. My routine for getting ready for the day is to used the facilities, get dressed, turn on the TV and tune in to Morning Joe, and to peel and eat one of the oranges that our room stewards leave for us each day. After Ann does her routine we are ready we go to the main dining room for breakfast. Today we sat with a woman from Oklahoma. During our conversation we discovered that she has relatives in Tacoma where I grew up.
There was no pier for us to tie up to in Akaroa. Our ship anchored in the middle of the bay. After eating a sandwich, we were transported to land in a tender which is a bare-bones boat with bench seats that holds around 50 passengers. After we reached the town's dock, I took off down the street to find a pharmacy. I needed some over-the-counter pain pills to combat some soreness that I was having. I learned that common pills in the USA are not available in New Zealand. I was looking for Aleve and Tylenol, but could not find them. I gave up and walked back to where we were meeting our shore excursion. The weather was sunny although high fog lingered over the bay. There were lots of people enjoying the sun in outdoor cafes.
The Bensons joined us on ShoreTrips Akaroa Scenic Nature Tour. A lot of passengers took tours into Christchurch. We considered this but we wanted to see nature instead of a city. We hopped into an eight-passenger van with our guide Avril, and caravanned with two other vans up a very steep hill into the countryside. Once we were above the fog layer, we stopped for a photo op. We could see down to the town and the bay. Our destination was the Pohatu Reserve although we made a few stops before we reached it. The family that ran the tour is headquartered there. They are a naturalist/sheep rising/penguin tending family. We stopped at their rental cabins for coffee, tea and muffins. Then we stopped at their sheep farm to pet and feed their sheep. At another stop we were privileged to watch them release a mother penguin and her chick who were left behind when all of the other penguins left on their annual migration. We missed the migration by a couple of weeks. After walking down a trail to try to see some seals which were gone, we made our way back to Akaroa. The fog had left and the temperature had risen
This was an excellent tour with knowledgeable guides. We saw the beautiful unpopulated countryside. With the exception of sheep, we experienced wildlife that was unique to this part of the world.
On the tender back to the ship, we unexpectedly met the Matutes who were very happy with their tour of Christchurch.
We boarded the ship in time to clean up and go to our 5:30 dinner. Afterwards, we went to the Vantage Lounge for the 8:00 show which included entertainers from the previous evenings.
Releasing the Penguins