Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stewart Island

This morning was a late morning for us both since we weren’t arriving at Stewart Island until about 11 AM. We looked out only to see a pure white out with fog and thought that it didn’t bode well.
I was feeling pretty miserable anyway, so it wouldn’t have broken my heart if the port were called off. We went down to grab a late breakfast at the bar and watched the fog eventually burn off. Thy had to reschedule some of the trip times, so we were now going at 3:20 PM. We opted to go and get lunch at Le Terrazza while many were in on excursions. While sitting there we noticed how the fog had once again began to roll in. We went back to the room for a brief rest before we had to head out. I was out on the deck checking the temperature when I saw 100s of jellyfish down below. 
It was really interesting to see so many and even some that were orange in color. I confess, I took my cold meds and got back into bed for a brief time, but then we had to get on the tender over to Stewart Island. Here we were greeted by our driver who would show us around the island. The island is quite small and only has 380 full time inhabitants. 
The Maori call this place Rakiura that translates to “the great and deep blushing of Te Rakitamau” – this is another whole story to tell later. We took a lovely bus tour around the island into the National Park to see the various views and plant life that exists here. It is considered a rain forest, but very unlike the one I saw in PR a few weeks ago. This is much dryer and the brush is thick all the way to the ground. 
We also saw the “predator fence” that is electrified and reminds you of something out of Jurassic Park. We saw the main town of Oban, which is a very interesting place to say the least. I even took a picture of one of the earliest phones on the island. 
We saw many backpackers along the way and many commercial fishing ships out in the harbor. 
The roads on the island are very steep in parts and we had to back all the way back down to where we were to take the tender back to the ship. By the time we arrived back at the ship it was almost 5:30, so it was again time to start getting ready for dinner. Tonight we dined in Le Terrazza, the Italian restaurant on board. You really have to make reservations days in advance since it fills up so quickly. 
Dinner was great, but with all of these courses we have managed to fill up even before the entrée was served. We both loved our pasta course and then our entrée was a local fish, but neither of us can remember the name. After dinner we went down to the show, which was basically a jazz production, but very entertaining. Ann, who plays trivia with us, sat down and joined us. We stayed after and talked a while and before long it was midnight. Not matter what we do we can’t seem to get back to our room much earlier. Tomorrow we are cruising the Doubtful and Milford Sounds and then it’s on to the Tasman Sea. 

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