Thursday, February 10, 2011


Overnight we gained an hour, so we were able to sleep in a little before our breakfast came. We are still having a tough time figuring out what time it is at home and for that matter, what day and time it is here. I guess that is the price you pay for so many days at sea, you lose track of them. We did make it out to see the lecture on Bay of Islands, which is our destination for Friday. Dr. Lew has been giving all of the presentations and they are all quite good. Afterwards we spend some time talking to Gregory who is the concert pianist onboard. We have managed to spend a great deal of time in the bar, no matter what time of day! It was just before noon when we reached the port of Tauranga. We immediately saw that it is quite a busy place. By 12:30 we were docked and people were disembarking for various tours. The weather here is VERY changeable. It was very cool and rainy this morning and then an hour later it was hot and sunny. It truly is the strangest phenomenon. We did grab a bite of lunch up in La Terrazza before heading into town. Since the weather was iffy, Mom decided to stay aboard ship with her Nook (her best friend this trip). I walked to town and enjoyed the scenery and the sun coming out. 
A bird posing for me
It was interesting to see the various vans and RVs that were parked all around. It seemed as though most people were just “hanging out” in their cars, houses, etc. It was all very laid back. There are these fabulous pine trees that are so different from what we have at home.
Close up of pines
I walked all the way to the other side to the main beach area. There were lots of people surfing and just enjoying some sunshine. The landscape is very striking as there are mountains, though rather small, coming right out of the ocean. I did hike up one small island and had quite a view.
Waves crashing on the rocks.
The little island I climbed.
After coming down I spent some time walking up and down the beach and picking up some rather interesting shells. I’ve never been one much for doing this, but I found such unusual shells here. 
Time was quickly running out so I started walking back through the shopping area.
Tree with branches that touched the groud
Since it is towards the end of summer here, there are lots of sales going on. Too bad I do not have any space in the suitcase for more clothes! We had to be aboard by 5:00, and it was already 4:45. I thought Mom would be pacing the floor by now, but she was sound asleep when I came back to our room and I in fact startled her. I think she was enjoying a very long afternoon nap. Bingo was at 5:00, so we had to move right along.. Unfortunately, it was not a good Bingo day for either one of us. We had to get back in order to get ready for this evenings activities. First, was an “art show” of our various painting we’ve created during this trip. Some of the items really were quite good. Gregory, our guest pianist had another concert at 6:45, and as usual, it did not disappoint. He is truly an incredible musician. Tonight we had dinner in the main restaurant. We decided to dine alone as we wanted a “night off” from conversation. It really can be tiring to meet new people at every meal. Ironically, we were seated near a couple from Washington DC and we ended up talking with them through most of our meal. In fact we’ll hopefully dine with them at some point during the upcoming segment.
Dinner was fantastic as always. We had a cheese stuff cannelloni for intermezzo and a prosciutto encrusted pork tenderloin for our entrée. After dinner we ran in to our friend from Paris who joined us for an after dinner cocktail. Tomorrow we arrive in the Bay of Islands and I have to go kayaking very early so we have decided to call it a night.

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