Big seas and heavy weather in the Tasman Sea

Big seas and heavy weather in the Tasman Sea.


Our two days at sea (before our cruise into “The New Zealand Sounds” and Fiordland) sounded promising, but I had forgotten the opportunity to pitch and roll across the Tasman and, sure enough, it was a repeat performance of my previous experience. The Captain mentioned a bit of a wind getting up and I then knew he was a master of the understatement. The inelegant stagger you need to adopt to counter the rapidly fluctuating pitch of the floor certainly has its comedy moments. However, not so funny if your tummy doesn’t quite keep up the pace. We were all great at breakfast, we were still happy to go and have the lunch to which the Captain invited us (only because we have all sailed with Holland America before, don’t you know!), but by dinner poor Ann decided that being horizontal was the only way she was going to resist the threatened seasick lurgy. Carolyn and I felt obliged to fly the flag and persuaded ourselves that the Filet Mignon served with lobster ravioli was the way forward. Even the fabulous ‘rock’ violinist we saw later in the theatre had a slight stagger at times, which was definitely not part of his act. However, we stalwarts declined all alcoholic opportunities for the evening on the basis that, were seasickness to hit us, we were not going to blame it on the booze.

Day 2 arrived, having moved the clocks forward an hour on two consecutive nights to get us onto New Zealand time, revealing more of the same weather. Fortunately, Ann’s sea legs are back in place so pancakes for breakfast. Then came our “Immigration Inspection” to test our suitability for entry into New Zealand. We had carefully read the declarations but noticed a small area with which we were not quite compliant in terms of what was coming into the country with us. Back in Sydney, we had each bought a couple of wooden racing kangaroos (don’t even ask), but our declaration said we had to produce anything made of wood in case it was banned material. My comment to Ann this morning, “Don’t forget to get your kangaroos out”, produced much laughter all round. Definitely could be a euphemism for something unspeakable!! Kangaroos were displayed to nice Inspector, who signed to say that not only had he seen and approved Ann’s kangaroos but mine as well!! He gave us a wink and we are good to go.

What do you do on an afternoon when you walk past a swimming pool which is hell bent on emptying is contents in great waves which wash across your feet? Stop walking, retreat to your cabin and catch up on at least one of the two hours’ sleep missed. For me, I will watch a movie selected from the 1,000+ on offer.

The cabin stewards entertain us each evening with animals made from towels but my favourite so far has been Dumbo! Always fun to come back to your room and see what is sharing your bed!

Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities

Being on board with limited and expensive Wi-fi, I struggle with not being able to look up things that puzzle me. Similarly, my seemingly insatiable appetite for up-to-the-minute news has to be assuaged by printed morning news extracts from the UK, US etc. We do have BBC News on the TV but, somehow, don’t find enough time to watch it. We are aware that Brexit, Trump and the weather are still ‘hot’ items as, now, are the Korean Winter Olympics.

I’m aware that we haven’t said (or shown) much about our ship, MS Noordam. It’s far from the biggest or grandest cruise ship but it suits us. It is spacious and the staff are excellent. Truly excellent. Every member of staff says good morning etc. with what appears to be a genuine pleasure to see us… and, of course, keep them in employment. The restaurant staff are Filipino or Indonesian and join in with the Indonesian version of ‘Happy Birthday’ for appropriate diners. Being aware of the danger of grazing on the free all day buffet, we restrict ourselves, usually, to set menus in the restaurants. Great choices available; albeit we still end up with three courses. Yes, even for breakfast! Diet when we get back. I have learned a ‘magic’ card trick from a waitress which I shall share with Lexie when we see her next.

The entertainment is good but, frankly, not as good as on the P&O Cruise last time or even the last Holland America Cruise. The B.B. King’s Blues Club band don’t seem to be as tight or tuneful but, perhaps, we’re being over critical. It is ‘good’!

The shows are of variable quality and a card trick magician on stage of a theatre showing us a normal size playing card didn’t work. The highlight was, I guess, the ventriloquist with ‘Matilda’ … a West Indian female dummy. Sounds odd but it worked superbly and we’ll be going back to see him (and her!) again in a couple of days.
Last evening’s ‘rock’ violinist was very good as was the backing band not just because they had a left-handed drummer!

Talking of strange Sounds – subtle segue – our itinerary has been changed and we were expecting to visit the Milford Sound today. It’s now tomorrow … very early morning! Hmm!



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