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2020 Journey to New Zealand and Cruise Back to San Diego

2020 Journey to New Zealand and Cruise Back to San Diego

While our previous journeys have been exclusively cruises, this one is a combined land and sea adventure.  When we have visited New Zealand on two previous cruises, we wanted to stay longer than the 8 hours in each port that is the norm for cruises.  We have been intrigued by the culture, the people, and the geography and wished for a little more immersion.  On one visit, on a whim, we took a ferry over to a quaint little suburb, called Devonport – so we have rented a house in Devonport, about two blocks from the ferry for the month of February. (in New Zealand we noticed that most people pronounce all “e”s as long “e”s – so one of my first tasks is to see if the town is pronounced “Deevenport” or “Devenport”.)

At the end of our stay in Devenport, on March 1, we board Holland America’s Maasdam, for a 35 day cruise across the South Pacific, stopping in Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia (including as overnight stay in Bora Bora) and Hawaii, arriving

in San Diego on April 3.

A Different Sort of Journey

While our previous journeys have been exclusively cruises, this one is a combined land and sea adventure.  When we have visited New Zealand on two previous cruises, we wanted to stay longer than the 8 hours in each port that is the norm for cruises.  We have been intrigued by the culture, the people, and […]

Blog Day 1 – Trip to Auckland

I am writing this first entry to the journey in the middle of the Pacific at 38,000 feet – to be posted from Auckland.  As I have said this is a different sort of journey – not our normal long cruise, but rather a long stay in New Zealand (the month of February) followed by […]

Day 2 – Feb 1 – Arrive in Auckland, and make our way to Devenport

You will notice that the date of this post is Feb 1, not Jan 31, since we crossed the international date line, we lost a day, which we will get back on the return to the U.S. Auckland is 19 hours ahead of Dallas, or you can think of it as 5 hours behind Dallas, […]

Day 3 – Feb 2 Sunday–First full day in Devonport

On this trip, I am really noticing the recent enhancements to Google Maps.  I think the routing, particularly “on foot” is much improved, and we are using it frequently – to the store, to restaurants, to the hardware store (more electrical plug adapters) and this morning the local Methodist Church. Despite the assurances from Google, […]

Day 4–Feb 3–Monday What an exciting day!!!

It is Monday here in New Zealand, Super Bowl Sunday at home.  The game, at 12:30 pm our time, was not to be shown on local television, and I was not successful finding a way to stream it (at least not within my capabilities).  After a little bit of research I determined that none of […]

Day 5 – Feb 4 Tuesday

  Basically a day of much needed rest.  We walked into town (about 10 minutes) to the super market and picked up a few supplies – coffee, Coke Zeros, bread, sandwich fixings, and breakfast stuff.  This is a pretty expensive place to live although it is a little hard to calculate due to the difference […]

Day 6 – Feb 5 Wednesday – A brief exploration using local mass transit

  As I have said, I am not driving a car on this trip.  A decision made out of stark terror caused by driving on the left side of the road.  Given that bit of caution, we still are nearly run over every time we cross a street, by looking the wrong way for oncoming […]

Day 7 – Feb 6 – Thursday – Over to Auckland for a whale watching excursion

  We hiked down to the ferry, to head over to Auckland for a whale watching excursion. It is only a brief 15 minute ride, and we still sit where we can catch a view of either Devonport or Auckland, where many of the passengers are obviously commuters, sitting inside with their noses buried in […]

Day 8 – Feb 7 – Friday

There are several “Heritage Walks” published by the Rotary Club, so we decided today, instead of walking into town for breakfast, to take off on one of the walks, since it appears there is a breakfast place on the the route.   We walked down the hill to the beach, turned left and started toward […]

Day 9 – Feb 8 Saturday – To Auckland for the hop on hop off bus

      We boarded our trusty ferry for the quick ride to Auckland – the Golden Princess was in port – there is a different cruise ship almost every day.  We found the guy to buy the hop on hop off bus passes from.  On earlier travels we have learned that these are one […]

Day 10 – Feb 9 Sunday–Day 2 of the Hop On Hop Off Tour of Auckland

  After Church we headed over on the ferry to continue the second half of out Hop On Hop Off tour – it just couldn’t be done in one day.  We joined the bus from the same spot as yesterday, and began the circuit.  At one point, the bus route was around the bay, directly […]

Day 11– Feb 10 – Monday – Our postponed Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip.

The weather looks very promising for our Whale Watching excursion – Sunny, 75 degrees and light winds.  Since the trip doesn’t leave until 1:30, we decide to head over to Auckland at mid-morning and have lunch before the trip.   After lunch we boarded the boat, received our safety lecture (don’t fall off) and started […]

Day 12 – Feb 11 – Tuesday A Day of Rest–and we need it!

  While our various tours haven’t been particularly taxing – just living in a hilly place where you walk EVERYWHERE, is plenty taxing.  Not complaining, mind you, as I probably wouldn’t generate much sympathy anyway, but it is indeed an adjustment to our normal activity level. I grabbed this screen shot from my phone, from […]

Day 13 – Feb 12 – Wednesday–A trip to Waiheke Island

  There are several islands within a few miles of Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf – some of them quite developed, and some quite primitive, with no permanent inhabitants.  One of the more developed islands is Waiheke Island, which, beginning in the late 1970s became a center for wine production.  At the current time there […]

Days 14 & 15 – Feb 13 & 14 – Thursday & Friday A couple of quiet days around Devonport

This is an aerial shot of Devenport which I found on someone’s wall and photographed.  The old saying about a picture being worth a 1000 words was never more true.  Our house is located approximately at the red circle.  King Edward Parade runs along the right side of the photo, the ferry landing is at […]

Day 16 – Feb 15 – Sky Tower

Everywhere we look, and in many of our pictures, the Sky Tower is a prominent feature of the Auckland sky line. Today, we decided to go over and ascend the tower. First stop – the ferry.  The second story space, on the left is a really nice “workspace” company, like an executive suite space, called […]

Day 18 – Feb 17 – Monday – A trip to Piha Beach

Piha Beach is on the west coast, WSW of Auckland, about an hour’s drive. Since Piha fronts on the Tasman Sea, between New Zealand and Australia, it is quite different than the beaches on the east side.  The surf is bigger, and the sand is black, volcanic sand, like some of the beaches on the […]

Day 20 – Feb 19 – Wednesday – A Quick Trip to the Devonport Museum

Todays adventure is a quick trip to the Devonport Museum.  We tried to go earlier, but it is only open for 2 hours, a couple of days a week, and we were off their schedule.  Today we specifically timed it when they would be open, and began the walk – sadly up hill instead of […]

Day 22 – Feb 21 – Friday–The Museum of Transportation and Technology

Today we decided to to Auckland’s Museum of Transportation and Technology, known locally as the MOTAT, which we had passed on the Hop on Hop Off, when we were hustling back to the city center.  Today we had the time and decided to visit.  We ferried across and after a brief attempt to figure the […]

Day 24 – Feb 23 – Sunday – A day spent sailing

We have been waiting for the right day to go sailing, from Auckland – windy, but not too windy, no rain.  Today is the day. After breakfast in Devonport we caught the ferry to Auckland and made our way to the dock area.  After booking our reservation for the sailing tour, we decided to kill […]

Day 26 – Feb 25 Tuesday–A solo trek up the North Head

  I decided to climb up North Head, the second tallest volcanic hill in Devonport, having previously climber the tallest one, Victoria.  Here is my target for the day, seen from Torpedo Bay. At the base of the hill, I discovered the Navy Museum – so I ventured in.  New Zealand has a relatively small […]

Days 28 through 30 – Feb 27 through Feb 29–Our Friends Dan and Zaga arrive in Devenport and we visit Waheke Island again

Our friends, Dan Hickox and Zaga Novakovic from Austin have joined the grand tour.  Dan booked their Airbnb completely separately from me, but coincidently they wound up just across the fence from our place, and I saw their Uber deliver them.  It sounds close, but due to the placement of the places, it is about […]

Day 31 – Mar 1 – Time to board the ship

Well, after a wonderful month in Devenport, it is time to board the ship for our cruise across the South Pacific back to the U.S.A.  We packed everything up and restored our little home to the way we found it and waited (and hoped for) our ride to the ship.  Far too much luggage to […]

Day 32 – Mar 2 – Monday – Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands is an historic area of New Zealand.  It is the site of the signing, in 1840, of the treaty between the Maori and the English, known as the Treaty of Waitangi, which is a very important founding document of New Zealand.  It established a British Governor of New Zealand, addressed Maori ownership […]

Day 34 – Mar 4 – Wednesday – Suva, Fiji–Our first stop In Melanesia

Fiji, unlike most of the countries we visit on this trip is in Melanesia, as opposed to Polynesia.  This designation has to do with which peoples settled the island group, more than its geographical location.  Melanesians are darker skinned and they occupy New Guinea, the Solomons, and Fiji. Prior to getting off the ship in […]

Day 35 – March 5 – Thursday – Savusavu, Fiji

Savusavu is a smaller island, still part of Fiji.  Here we have to take a tender into the shore. Dan, Sally, and I went down the main street browsing.  Dan wanted to find some small fans for their cabin, to cool it off. Really not much to see in Savusavu, just a commercial street with […]

Day 36 – March 6 – Friday – Dravuni, Fiji

Dravuni is a very small Fijian island, directly south of the main island of Fiji.  When I say “small”, I mean tiny – perhaps a half mile long, 200 acres in size. Dravuni is a very small Fijian island, directly south of the main island of Fiji.  When I say “small”, I mean tiny – […]

Days 37-41 – March 7 – 10 (Crossed the Intl Date Line so we had the 10th twice) Sea Days Enroute to Rarotonga

Great days at sea as we headed toward Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.  Some beautiful seascape photos from Zaga. Along the way, the news from the Captain grew more ominous – the nation of French Polynesia (Tahiti) had declined our visit to Moorea, which was to be our first stop in French Polynesia.  The coronavirus […]

Day 42 – March 11 – Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga has agreed to let us visit – hooray!   Rarotonga is the largest island of the Cook Islands, even though its fellow islands are several hundred miles away.  While it is a self governing independent nation it is closely aligned with New Zealand for international relations and defense.  The capital of the Cook Islands is […]

Day 43 – March 12 – Thursday–Still in (near) Rarotonga

As we boarded the ship last night from Rarotonga, the Captain announced that the French Polynesian government had refused to let us visit French Polynesia, which includes stops in Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora, and Huahine Iti.  He said he was in negotiation with them to allow those passengers whose cruises were due to end in […]

Day 44 – March 13 – Friday – Still offshore Rarotonga

Our third day with this view. The Papeete passengers continued debarking by tender, and we watched occasional flights taking off from the little Rarotonga airport – big planes for such a little airport. After all of them were off the ship, we set sail considerably less crowded, which was good since French Polynesia had not […]

Days 45–50 March 14-19 Sailing north from Rarotonga toward Christmas Island

After dropping off almost half our passengers we sailed north toward Christmas Island.  The Captain announced that because we bypassed French Polynesia, the plan was spend 2 days on each of the Hawaiian Islands.  Sounds good. Shortly after this he announced that our stop in Christmas Island had been cancelled. The next day we were […]

March 18 – Another change of course

Today the Captain announced we would not be going to Hilo.  Apparently the fine folks of Hilo decided that somehow we were a threat to their health – despite the fact that we have no illness on board and certainly no coronavirus.  They threatened to come out in small boats and block the harbor.  The […]

Day 51 – March 20 – Friday – Honolulu

We arrived just before dawn this morning in Honolulu and tied up at the pier – well at least there were no irate citizens with pitchforks trying to stop us.  There were however lots of police. I think they wanted to make sure we didn’t revolt and abandon ship in mass. Once we were advised […]

Day 52 – March 21 – Saturday – Honolulu

We are still tied up at the Honolulu pier with no word on whether or not we will be allowed off.  The Captain keeps informing us that negotiations are on going.  As the day goes on it becomes increasingly obvious we are not getting off the ship.  By mid-afternoon the Captain makes the announcement that […]

Days 53 – 57 March 22-26 – Enroute to San Diego

We are on our way to San Diego hopefully to debark the ship and head home.  While the State of Hawaii refused us entry, and we are hearing of other cruise ships around the world which are being turned away from ports, we have been told that San Diego will allow us in to the […]

Days 57-58 – March 26-27 Thursday and Friday San Diego and Home!

After over 2 weeks at sea, the California coastline was a very welcome sight, and the Captain has assured us that, unlike Hawaii, California is going to let us dock and debark.  Apparently the Port of San Diego has taken up the task of aiding the many cruise ships stuck at sea debark their passengers […]