I write from the comfort of my desk as we sit in Auckland, having arrived here this morning. No photos of the city as yet, for Karen has ‘borrowed’ my camera for the day and on it are this morning’s arrival 👿 (I’m going to have to see if I can find one for her, Hong Kong seems the best place to try).
Yesterday, (which was the 1st), saw us, early in the morning, steaming into the Bay of Islands towards our anchorage off Waitangi. This place has deep significance for the New Zealand nation; in 1840 the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ was signed between the then British Crown and the Maori Chiefs. Each February 6th is is a National Public holiday and they descend in droves to the Treaty grounds to celebrate with pomp and ceremony. Up to 60,000 attend with dignitaries, members of Parliament and VIPs. No such ‘crowd’ was there to greet us and, apart from the “Azamara Quest”, also at anchor, we had the place to ourselves. We had to board a (compulsory) pilot for the last short miles and then he disembarked.
Having used our starboard anchor and 5 ‘shackles’ of chain, we kept our heading, (to provide a ‘lee’, or shelter), to our port side tender platform. In case you wonder, 5 shackles equates to 75 fathoms of chain, or 450 feet, 137 meters.
Karen was off for a wander, (more of her photos later), while I remained on board for the most of the day, a brief interlude ashore for your photos and then back to the ship. The photo above was taken close to the ‘Treaty Grounds’ where the document was signed.
Off ashore, it’s the ‘little’ things that count. The grass had been mowed, the aroma assailed one’s nostrils and I even took my (uniform) shoes off so I could feel it under my feet 🙂
Now it’s Karen’s turn. Initially, the ladies took the tender to Waitangi pier and then took one (of the many) inter-island ferries to ‘Russel’, once the shore-leave destination for sailors, whalers and traders during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was an established Maori settlement prior to Captain Cook’s arrival. From the early 1800’s, whalers found Kororareka, (as it was called), an ideal provisioning port and it gained a reputation as a ‘lawless and bawdy’ port, becoming known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”, sounds like my sort of place! 😆
Now of course, it is a destination for holidaymakers and shoppers…….
I leave you with a more humorous photograph, that of Tom, the Dining Room manager and I, during dinner one evening. Our DR stewards were in fact wearing the hats, however we ‘borrowed’ them for this candid shot.