Fiji’s welcome was loud and dramatic. At 0700 as we neared the quay we woke to the sound of a marching band. They marched and they danced. They rarely flagged but when they did take a break, a rock group, half hidden in the shed, played electric guitars at full volume.
Brisbane marks the halfway point on this epic voyage. It is difficult to believe that we have been on the ship for nearly two months, but my waistline proves it.
Sydney has to be one of the world’s top ciites. I woke to my alarm at 0500 and shot out onto the balcony expecting to see the approach into Sydney Harbour through the Heads. I was too late. By then we were passing the Opera House and approaching our berth. And it was still dark, so an earlier alarm call would not have helped!
Cunard have been producing a number of speakers on each segment and one of them is said to be the Celebrity speaker – John McCarthy, Admiral Lord West and Peter Snow so far and for this leg Roger McGuinn. I will report on him later as he has yet to speak. He was one of the founder members of The Byrds. I have heard him before on QE and am looking forward to hearing him again, hopefully with fresh presentations!
The Tasman Sea was easy on us. The two days it has taken to reach NZ were calm – in fact apart from the massive storms experienced in the first 5 or 6 days after leaving Southampton, the oceans have been kind to us.
Usually the Commodore of the fleet is in command of the flagship, but in fact the Commodore is here with us. I gather that when he took up the position he made it clear that he wanted to move around the fleet, rather than staying on QM2 throughout. He joined us in Sydney and has a few days aboard familiarising himself with the ship’s systems before he takes over from Captain Inger, who goes on leave in Wellington.
Maori settled around the large natural harbour in this part of South Island, New Zealand (the Otago region) from about 1100 AD, but it appears that when Captain James Cook came here in 1776 there were not many Maori still here. In 1848 Scottish migrants arrived and established Dunedin (the Celtic name for Edinburgh). It is New Zealand’s oldest city and it is home to NZ’s first University, The University of Otago.
We like Wellington. Strangely Captain James Cook did not appear to be excited about it. In 1773 he anchored about a mile outside the harbour and went no further.
Championship taking place with scores of teams involved. Our visit this year was on a Monday and the Waterfront was less frenetic, but it was a beautiful day and the locals and the tourists were out in force enjoying the autumn sun.
but because of its height and the difficulty of getting Jane into it, it was agreed that she would come in Bruce’s very respectable Subaru. Bruce bowled up in the new car when we stopped for coffee.
Before I tell you about Auckland I need to organise my photos but for those of you following our progress by satellite I have to report a change of plan.
Auckland is known as “The City of Sails”. It was a wonderful sunny day when we arrived before 0700. The Cruise terminal is at the bottom of Queen Street which is the backbone of the City and it is easy to explore on foot.