Thursday, February 1, 2018

Report #32 Day at Sea February 1, 2018 Thursday Partly cloudy & 78 degrees

If you think we’ll start with a weather report, well, you may be right.  The sun was out full bore at the beginning of the sunrise at 6:29am, about blinding us this morning.  There’s something different about this part of the world we are now approaching.  The air is particularly clean and clear of the usual haze we have seen on the way here.  Along with this, comes some danger, namely, an opening in the ozone layer, called The Black Hole.  Now not to get technical, it simply means that one can get a powerful sunburn here.  It happened to us about 10 years ago, when we flew to Auckland, and had a hotel stay for three days prior to a cruise.  Booking some tours out of the hotel, we took a ferry to one of the nearby islands out of Auckland.  Sort of forgot to use sunscreen, because it wasn’t that hot out.  Well, both of us got pretty toasted in a matter of a few hours.  A lesson learned.


We’ve had a few questions about sea sickness, and possible remedies.  Years ago, we tried the “patch” behind our ears on a seven day cruise, not knowing if we would experience sea sickness.  Within a couple of days, our eyes would not focus to read a menu.  It wasn’t for us, so we took them off.  And we never did get seasick, because the weather was fine… was a Mexican Riviera cruise.  Then as a precaution on longer cruises, we graduated to a low dose of meclizine, but only when we felt it necessary.  Getting a prescription was the way to go, since the price was way better.  Now only one of us needs it occasionally.  One side effect is sleepiness, so taking a pill at night works better.  The wrist bracelets may work for some people, but we never tried them.


The other question was about staying in shape, more or less.  That’s simple.  We don’t do gyms.  We never have.  As many months that we have spent on this ship, we have only looked in the gym once. Really just to see where it was located.  It’s great for the passengers who don’t like the heat, wind, sun, or the motion of the ship.  So we walk.  A lot.  It’s not unusual for us to walk three different times during the day (sea days), doing 2 or more miles at each session.  And we take the stairs, but not exclusively.  We do this at home every day, a different trek each day, enjoying lunch out, before heading back.   This has also doubled as therapy for not-so-great back problems for one of us.  Walking, as well as swimming, seems to be the safest form of exercise without the danger of more injury.


It seems that we missed an event last night, a big one at that.  The eclipse of the full moon.  It  was the second full moon in the month of January, making it a blue moon we heard. Except that during the eclipse, this moon turned red.  Barb found out late last night, when she ran into a larger than normal group at the Seaview Pool around 11pm.  Sometimes when these things occur, the ship’s itinerary does something special.  Not this one, we guess.  Perhaps it was due to the fact that the real event happened around 2 or 3am.


The EXC guide Barbara was giving talks on Port Chalmers today.  We still have to catch up on what to see and do in Auckland, Tauranga, and Napier.  This afternoon would be a good chance to watch these talks on TV.  Have we mentioned that the guest speaker’s lectures have not been rerun on TV?


Now that we have three ports in a row, this would be our last day to spend some time at the pool soaking up the sun.  The further south we travel, we expect the temps to cool off.  And Captain Jonathon did say that we will be getting some rain tonight and tomorrow.  Can’t remember ever having rain this time of year in Auckland.


Today we got our delivery of vitamin waters for the President’s Club amenity.  A fresh flower arrangement should arrive in two days.  This afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit with Christel, the guest relations manager.  We caught up on recent ship news, as well as asking some questions.  We wondered if we could get the $40 per person allowance in shipboard credit, where it could be used for a larger variety of things on the ship.  She said we were not the first ones to figure that out.  But the company said no to that, although Christel thought it was a fine idea. 


Another question we asked was how many people were leaving the ship tomorrow.  The answer surprised us because it was only 14.  Then, 22 new folks will be joining.  Auckland is not the end of a segment, but Sydney will be a debarking port for many more.  Better yet, there will be no muster drill for all of the guests tomorrow.  That should happen next in Sydney.


To commemorate the occasion of arriving to New Zealand, beef wellington was one of the entrees for dinner tonight.  And it was delicious.  We had written some positive remarks about the dining room staff today, and Phillip, the manager, came over to thank us kindly for our comments.  He showed us a copy of our note, and said he puts it up on the wall in the crew mess for all to read.  Never knew that before.


Last chance to see Gary Arbuthnot and Hyperion Knight, both back with all new shows.


Looking forward to exploring Auckland tomorrow…..rain or shine.


Bill & Mary Ann








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