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11/28 Christchurch, New Zealand

Today was a catch-up-on-our-sleep day. We had a light breakfast at 8:30 with the intent to go for a morning run through the park, the Botanical Gardens and the downtown. By the time we finished eating, though, Lisa said she was dizzy and had to lie down. So, back to bed.

We got up about 3:30! (Exactly what you're NOT supposed to do to recover from jet lag!) THEN we thought we'd run. But first, we had better check on a hair stylist appointment, stop by the visitor center, drop off the laundry and stop in a book store for the "Bicycling New Zealand" book. And, maybe later we would go to a movie.

But, you know how best laid plans go. At our first stop, the hair styling salon could take us right away. We put them off for an hour so we could make the other stops. When we got out of there, it was a little after seven -- AND it was drizzling. We had time for a run, dinner, OR a movie. Maybe even dinner AND a movie. But not all three.

A quick evaluation brought us to a decision. We'll first check on the movies playing, find out the schedule for the one we like, then decide on the where, what and when for dinner.

The yellow pages showed five movie theaters in town, including one at the Arts Center. We set out to drive by and see what's playing.

The Arts Center was dark tonight. The two small theatres downtown were so well hidden that we couldn't find them, so we headed out to the multi-screen theatres on the edge of town.

We found the "Roxie 8" but they only had partial titles listed on a reader board, no posters and few descriptions. Nothing looked good enough to invest an evening on.

That left the dinner decision wide open. We remembered that the hair stylist had recommended a restaurant that was "at the pier in New Brighton, just 10 minutes away."

We didn't have a clue where New Brighton was, so we asked a policeman in a cruiser. He said to follow him. So we did -- for about 15 minutes. Then he pulled over and told us to "Keep going down this road. Go straight through two circles, follow the road through the business district, and it will end at the beach. The pier is about 200 meters to the left." About 10 minutes later we arrived at the water, found the pier and found the restaurant.

By then the drizzle had turned to a steady, light rain and it was starting to get cold. The small, intimate restaurant was, as promised, sitting right on the beach at the end of the city pier. Quite a nice venue. The food was very good, and the company was wonderful -- and no yellowheads in sight!

We got back to our B&B about 10:30. We decided on two possible courses of action for tomorrow, depending on the weather.

If the sun is shining at breakfast, we'll go for a 40 km loop ride to the ocean, over the top of a volcano and back to town. In that case, we'll stay another night.

If it's cloudy or still rainy, we'll go for the run through the park and the town, then shower and head out to the Antartica Center. Then we'll head toward Lake Takepo.

Love to all,
David and Lisa


11/29 Christchurch, New Zealand

Today was quite a day!

It was still rainy and overcast when we got up. And, it was COLD -- it only got up to 10 degrees C (about 50F) by 9:30. So we started off after breakfast with a run rather than a ride. (I guess that's not THAT cold, but compared to the weather we've become accustomed to near the equator...)

The B&B is a half block from the northern end of the big central park of Christchurch. The park is divided into two main parts by a road. Then the Avon river carves a piece out of the South park. That piece has been developed into a botanical garden.

We started out with the intent of running around the North park then back to the B&B. The weather was very nice for running and the park was so pleasant, we decided to run the South park, then along river loop around the botanical garden, then into town.

We jogged through town, stopping for a bit of shopping, to Cathedral Square. We visited with people at the cathedral -- who all thought we were crazy running in our shorts and tee shirts in 10 degree weather. (Almost everyone else was dressed in winter coats and sweaters.)

We stopped in a few more stores looking for a new fleece jacket for Lisa. Didn't find any that she liked though. Then we jogged across town to pick up the laundry that I had dropped off yesterday. Then back to the B&B. All in all, we were out about 3 1/2 hours.

We decided we would go visit the Antarctica exhibit, then move on today towards Mt. Cook. So we packed our stuff and headed out.

We saw an interesting vegetarian cafe and decided to go there. As we were trying to park, a man in a suit ran over to the car. He said he saw our tandem, said he had just boiught a tandem and knew how hard it was to park with one on the back of a car. He offered his driveway for our use. We were parked by then so we declined.

We walked over to the restaurant and ordered lunch. As we were eating, the man in the suit appeared again. (It turned out that he owned an engineering business next door.) He invited us to have dinner at his house. Wanted to pick our brains about tandeming.

Of course, we accepted. Then we marveled over the fact that we COULD accept because we were not tied to anyone else's schedule right now.

As we were eating lunch, I overheard three people, who were at the other end of our table, talking about bikes. When I heard that two of them were extolling the virtues of tandem riding to the third, I just had to butt in. We ended up talking with them all through lunch, then the man invited us to have lunch or dinner with them tomorrow if we were in town. We thanked him and told him we really had to move on, but we exchanged names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

From there we went to the Antarctica visitors center. We found out that Christchurch is the base for the New Zealand and U.S. Antarctica research stations. (The U.S. has three stations there, N.Z. has one.)

The visitors' center showed what Antarctica is like and how life is in the "land of the midnight sun." Actually, of more interest was how humans survived during the 4 months of darkness.

I (David) went for a ride on the all-terrain vehicle. (Not recommended for people who are prone to motion sickness, so Lisa declined.) On that tour we visited the U.S.'s arctic clothing distribution center where we saw the various types and styles of clothing that are worn in the cold weather. It was pointed out that, once you were issued a set of arctic clothes, you tried everything on before you left because if you found out that something didn't fit once you arrived at the research station, it was too late to exchange it. You had it for the duration of your assignment.

Of course, we heard about how cold it gets and the whys and wherefores of wearing enough cover on your body. We heard that the coldest temperature ever recorded on earth -- minus 89.2C -- was at the Russian research station on Antarctica. At that temperature, dressed the way we were today, we would be dead within 15 seconds.

Next we visited the U.S.'s disembarkation station. Actually, it was very much like the waiting room at the gate of a small air terminal. We were told how everyone waited for their 20-year old DC3's to be ready to leave.

Finally, we put the Swedish-made ATV through it's paces. We went into deep gullys, climbed very steep hills, crossed a 1.2 meter wide crevasse without falling in, then up some 30 degree side slopes, and, finally, went into some deep water to show the ability of the vehicle to float and "swim."

The ATV is made in Sweden. It has two sections. The front has the motor and room for the driver and five passengers. The back section has room for eight passengers. Both sections have independent, powered tracks and are independently steerable. Quite a vehicle!

When we left the Antarctica Center, we went over to Peter's house for dinner. We met his wife, Anne, and their two kids, Peter and Katie. We had a WONDERFUL evening talking about tandems, talking about the Odyssey,talking about their upcoming trip to America to do the bike-centenial trip across America.
And they explained "the big O. E." Overseas Experience. It's quite common for young New Zealanders to travel extensively overseas -- for a year or more. Anne thinks that tradition probably developed because New Zealand is so isolated from the rest of the world.

And the meal was fabulous. Anne even prepared the New Zealand "national desert" - pavlova. (A delicious whipped kind of thing with kiwis.)

We talked 'til midnight as Peter told us HIS opinions about where to go, what to see and what to do in New Zealand.

A fantastic evening with really great people!

Love to all,
David and Lisa


11/30 New Zealand, Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Up at 7:30 this morning. Had a nice breakfast with Ann, Peter and the kids. (I don't think we mentioned yesterday that they invited us to stay over at their house.) We were able to get to know the kids a bit. (We didn't see them much last night, since they went to bed at our dinnertime.) They are both really cute! And both real proud of who they are! We enjoyed them.

Peter and Anne had places to go but they insisted that we stay and enjoy the hot tub and the house for the morning. As tempting as it was, we decided to hit the road.

We drove through beautiful countryside on the way to Lake Tekapo. We saw lots of wild flowers, many cows, and many, many sheep. For most of the ride, the backdrop to the East was the snow covered Southern Alps -- a spectacular view!

We stopped for lunch at the Barn Farm, a lovely little restaurant on a hilltop near Burkes Pass. We had some really delicious carrot soup (we have been very lucky in finding good soups in New Zealand) and a WONDERFUL sandwich of smoked chicken, brie and apricot on grilled panini. And we met and talked with the very friendly proprietors. (They convinced us to do Doubtful sound rather than Milford Sound.)

We drove on to Tekapo where we visited a beautiful stone church on the shores of Lake Tekapo. The small stone church was constructed entirely from local stone. The interior wood objects were built from the wood of a local bridge that had been replaced many years ago.

The church is oriented so that while sitting in the pews you look over the altar right up the beautiful lake. The cross is outlined in the spectacular view.

Our B&B was just up the hill from the church. From the bed in our room on the second floor we looked out over the lake. Peter and Jenny were very friendly hosts. They are both pretty unique characters in their own way.

Peter is a basically nice guy, but was something less than straight with us about the lodging. It turned out okay but his "bait and switch" methods left me with a bad taste. He is an interesting character, though.

Jenny is a busy, busy woman. She is an elected member of the district council. As such, she is on many committees.

They are foster parents to a young, half-Maori woman, who Jenny had driven to Christchurch today for a job interview. And, she runs the B&B business for several homes in the area.

We read, talked and enjoyed the nice view of the lake from our deck for most of the evening. Then, after a short nap ( guess we're still catching up from jet lag) we walked to town for a nice dinner at Reflections.

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/01 New Zealand, Lake Tekapo to Mt. Cook Village

We had a great breakfast this morning. All kinds of choices. Jenny cooked before she rushed off to a supervisor's meeting.

Before we left, a couple came in who are from England. They are doing the same trip we are only in reverse. They had crossed paths with the Odyssey group a day or two ago, so they knew all about us and what we are about.

Lisa drove the whole morning so I could catch up on the journaling -- and I only "back seat drove" a few times about keeping left.

Her biggest problem was getting the turn signal to work right. (They're "backwards" here.) I discovered that we each look at turn signals in an entirely different way. To me, clockwise signals right, and counterclockwise is left. To Lisa, up signals right and down is left. So we both act intuitively.

Lisa drove over to the road that cuts off to Mt. Cook Village. We parked and got our trusty Santana ready to roll. We intended to ride the road that parallels Lake Pukaki to the village.

We were told it is a beautiful ride -- and it is! The road heads straight for the large, imposing, snow-covered Mount Cook for the whole way. However, like riding up to Yosemite valley, the road is generally uphill the whole way. On top of that, we hit fierce, afternoon headwinds blowing down the valley. (In fact, the worst head wind we've encountered since an infamous day in South Africa!) The final blow was the sky. Black clouds were blowing over the mountain and heading our way.

So, after about 20K, we decided to turn back. We rode back to the car and drove to Mt. Cook Village. Our prudence was rewarded, though. It started raining on the drive up.

I met the scourge of the South Island when we were loading the bike in the sand-covered parking lot. With the weather turned cool and overcast, the GIANT, FEROCIOUS, HUNGARY, BITING AND BLOODSUCKING SAND FLEAS attacked. Of course, Lisa was safe so long as she stayed near me, since the flies like me more. I, on the other hand, collected five or six bites in the few minutes it took to load the bike.

We drove to The Hermitage, the most famous hotel in New Zealand. (It's sort of like the Ahwahnee in Yosemite in that it's relatively old and it commands the best view of Mt. Cook in the valley. And it is very expensive.)

We made reservations two weeks ago because the place is so popular. They were booked solid for the time we wanted so we had to take a motel unit. That turned out to be fortunate for us because, while the motel units look like old 1950's buildings on the outside, they are quite nicely appointed on the inside. AND, we think we have a view of Mt. Cook that is at least as good as the one from the Hermitage. But, that only made a difference when the clouds parted this afternoon. As evening descended, so did the rain -- and it got harder and harder as the night wore on.

For dinner this evening, we walked over to the Sefton Terrace bar and pub in the "Glencoe Wing" of the hotel. Unfortunately it wasn't open, so we went into the Chamois Bar (the locals pub) and had some bar snacks of ribs and chili. Actually, it was quite good.

After dinner we walked back (yes, it was still raining) to our motel unit. We spent the rest of the time lining up our lodging for the next few days.

We also looked hard for a time and place we could do a "Farmstay." We want to experience this uniquely New Zealand accommodation before we leave. On a Farmstay, we understand, the guest lives with the family, eats all meals with the family, and has the opportunity to tour the farm and participate in the activities of the day.

Who knows, if we like it, we may even do it twice!

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/02 New Zealand, Mt. Cook

This morning we skipped breakfast at the Alpine Restaurant at the Hermitage (well, actually, we slept too late) and opted for the cafeteria-type breakfast at the cafe. As we ate, we reviewed our plans for today. The weather looked a little ominous, but we decided to go for one of the "treks", "walks" or "tramps" (all the same thing.)

We headed out in a light, intermittent, blowing rain. The track headed across the moraine toward the campground, then directly toward Mt. Cook. Much of the track was over rock flow and over wooden walkways.

As we headed out the wind picked up a little and the rain got a little harder. As we turned up the valley towards the mountain, the wind got REALLY gusty and the rain got colder and harder. At one point, about the time we reached the Kea Point lookout, it felt like sleet blowing in our faces.

We didn't linger very long at the lookout. We saw the Mueller Glacier and lake; I took a picture of Lisa's hair being blown straight out by the wind; and we headed back.

On the walk back, we often had to balance against the wind. A few times we were almost blown off the track. Of course, we got soaking wet from the blowing rain.

When we got back to the campground area we saw a bus sitting and waiting. We asked the driver if there was a shuttlebus that might take us back to the village. He said no, but he would be heading there in about 30 minutes if we wanted to hop on. We opted to walk instead.

About 5 minutes later, the bus drove up, stopped, opened the door, and the driver said "Hop in!" We gladly did. We were really soaked and getting cold. It turned out that the bus was transporting visitors who had paid to go on the hike we had just done. Their hike was cut short because of the weather; that's why the bus was early.

We got back to our very nice, very warm, and very dry room. We quickly shed our wet clothes, put on some water for tea, and settled in to watch the weather through our grand picture window. It stormed, rained and blew all day long!!

This was not the heavy rain like we had in Malaysia. That looked like there were ten thousand buckets pouring water at the same time -- and it came straight down. This was more like a very heavy shower that was that was blowing between horizontal and 45 degrees -- and it was consistent for the whole day!! Even on the few occasions when a bright, warm sun shone in our window, the rain was blowing.

We had dinner tonight at the premier restaurant at the Hermitage, the award-winning "Panorama" restaurant. (It was still raining when it was time to leave, so we drove the 800 meters to the restaurant.) Lisa had rack of lamb, I had lamb shank. Both were really delicious!

It rained the whole time we were there, and it was still raining when we left. (We were glad we drove.) We went back to our room, dried our clothes, relaxed and listened to the rain.

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/03 New Zealand, Mt. Cook to Queenstown

The rainstorm kept up until about 2 a.m. This morning there were still a lot of clouds, but we could see that there was a lot more snow on the mountains.

The breakfast at the Alpine Restaurant was really good!

Checkout time was a pleasant surprise too. The bill -- for two days at this premier park, staying at a top-ranked hotel, two dinners (one at the five-star restaurant), two breakfasts and including about a dozen phone calls (to set up lodging) -- was only $471NZ. (Remember the exchange rate is about $2.50US to $1NZ, so that's less than $200 US)

We were on the road by 8. The weather forecast for the park was partly cloudy in the morning turning to rain in the afternoon, then "fine" for tomorrow. (We're not quite sure what "fine" means, but we've heard the term used all over the old British Empire area. It seems to mean "clear" or just "nice" in American terms.) Lisa has expressed several times that she hopes the Odyssey riders aren't hitting the same weather. Trying to ride in that stuff yesterday would have been miserable!

We stopped in Twizel to get something to ease the itching of my sand fly bites. Twizel looks like a town that's still in the 50's. Downtown was like a 50's main street that has been turned into a mall.

We found a pharmacy but it was closed. But a woman asked us (through the storefront plate glass window) what we wanted. We told her, she said she had something, then opened the store for us. This is a REAL small town!

We drove on to Arrowtown, an old goldmining town just 15 km from Queenstown. Arrowtown is a short main street with lots of old, gold rush era buildings that now house boutiques and restaurants. We walked the whole town, checked in every store, and had lunch. Then, on to Queenstown.

Queenstown is well-known, but is actually a very small town. It has a permanent population of only 7,500. We went directly to the sight-seeing gondola and rode to the top. What a beautiful view we had of the city, the harbor and the lake.

There was a summertime "luge" ride on top. On it you ride a three-wheeled sled down a concrete track that is built to resemble a luge track. There are two tracks -- a "sightseeing" track and an "expert" track. Being first timers, we first had to take the sightseeing track. Then we graduated to the expert track. We each took four runs. What a hoot! We probably could have done four more, but we wanted to move on.

Next, I went on a tandem hang-glide ride! Tandem meaning two persons -- the pilot and me -- riding together. That was a blast, too. Not as exciting nor as long as I expected, though.

We found our hotel, the Esplanade. It is a great location -- eight minutes walk from downtown and right across the street from the beach. The room is basic but the hotel is kind of a dump.

We walked to town, nosed around a bit, and asked a storekeeper for her recommendation for the best fish (dinner) in town. She said, "Well, the Boardwalk is the best, but you'll never get in there." Then she directed us to another place.

We decided to walk down to the Boardwalk anyway just to find the place and maybe make a reservation for tomorrow night. We ended up getting a table overlooking the harbor and having a delicious dinner.

Over dinner, we decided that, with a half day tomorrow, we'll have seen enough of Queenstown. We decided to move on. We went back to our hotel and made reservations in Te Anau for tomorrow night. Then we settled down to reading our books.

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/04 New Zealand, Queensland to Te Anau

We ran to town for breakfast this morning. We took the scenic route -- along the water and around the park. We did the Par Course stations along the way. That gave us an upper body workout as well as the legs and cardiovascular.

We came out of the park at the upper end of town. We wound our way through town (it's pretty small) back down along the waterfront to the marina.

Our waitress last night recommended a place there called the "19th" for breakfast. We got there about 8:30. Unfortunately, there was no sign of life and no hours were posted.

We looked for someplace open. Close by was a coffee shop whose owner was just opening her eyes. We asked her for a recommendation. She suggested a place called The Vudu.

We jogged over there. It was TERRIFIC.

We jogged (the shorter way) back to the hotel, showered, packed and headed back to town in the car. I got the pictures from my hang gliding adventure developed, then went with Lisa for awhile while she checked out the stores.

We picked a restaurant for lunch and sat down at an outside table. After 15 minutes, I went in to see if someone was tending the tables outside. About five minutes later a waiter brought a menu and told us there would be a 35-40 minute wait for them to start making our food. We decided to go elsewhere.

There was a highly recommended "gourmet burger" place a few blocks away. We went there. We were quickly told there would be a 30-35 minute wait until they could start coking our order. We left.

Our third choice was a fish restaurant, They gave us quick service and, again, good food. (Actually, we've had a lot of good food in New Zealand.)

Finally, about 2, we left for Te Anau. It was a beautiful, narrow, winding, hilly road around first one lake then another. The landscape is a lot like we saw in Norway. The mountains aren't quite as steep though.

Our motel room was very nice -- a queen and a single bed, a TV, a telephone, and . . . a kitchen. (I guess most middle and higher quality motels in New Zealand have kitchenettes.)

We walked over to town and had dinner. Then we checked out the downtown -- all two blocks of it. A walk back along the lake and we were home just in time for the local TV movie.

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/05 New Zealand -- Te Anau to Manapouri

Our plans for an early morning went astray as we ignored the alarm. Instead we packed up, moved out, went into town for breakfast, THEN went for a run. We kept it short, though. David seems to be fighting off something (right now, an undefined sore throat).

We met at 1:45 to catch the 2 o'clock boat trip to the glowworm caves. What a fun and fascinating trip that was!

First, a 45 minute boat ride up and across the Te Anau lake. Then a walk into cold, dark, limestone caves. The path was on metal grating suspended over a rushing river of water.

Then we went in flat-bottomed boats (called "punts") through some more dark cave. Then some more walking -- often bent way over so as not to hit our heads. Then a final punt ride deep into the underground, water-filled tunnels. (The punters propelled us through the dark waterways by pulling on ropes mounted overhead.)

All through these tunnels we saw tiny lights in or on the ceiling overhead. Lisa commented that this was like a ride in Disneyland and the lights looked man-made.

But they weren't. The lights were from "glow worms" that were attached to the ceilings. The glow was produced by a chemical reaction in their stomach when they get hungry -- and they're always hungry. The light gets brighter as the worm get hungrier. (Sounds like something like stomach growling.)

So how does a biochemical reaction causing their stomach to glow help them get food?

Well, the "glow worms" are actually larva that have hatched from an egg that was deposited on the ceiling by an adult fly. When hatched, the larva start secreting sticky strings -- sort of like spider webs -- from all around its body. These strings hang down into the air below the larva.

Upstream, some other insect laid eggs in the water of the river. As those eggs travel downstream and through the caves, they hatch. The newborne are hungry but not very smart. They fly towards the first light they see -- and in the caves, that happens to be a hungry glow worm. The insect becomes stuck to the glow worm's hanging string. Then the glow worm simply reels it in for dinner.

Fascinating!

Another short boat ride brought us back to Te Anau and our car. We hopped in and headed for Manapouri.

What a nice ride through beautiful countryside. The roads for the last few days have been lined with wildflowers. Today was no exception. But we also had, wonderful views of wooded mountainsides surrounding the large and beautiful Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri.

We arrived in Manapouri in short order. Do you remember that Queenstown was surprisingly small at about 7,500 people. Well, Te Anau must be about 2,500, and Manapouri about 250. This is really small town, back woods territory.

The B&B is really nice. It's what we imagine when we think of B&B.

We have a beautiful room with a bay window that looks over the garden (and resident ducks) to the lake. The room is very cozy and comfortable. It's not small -- it has a queen and a single bed, two rockers and a wicker-back chair around a coffee table, and a table with fruit, cookies and tea fixings. There are nice plants and pictures on the wall-papered walls. The oakwood floors have several area rugs that make the floor warmer. And the flowered bedspreads, private bath and victorian drapes and curtains really make it very homey. All this -- and breakfast--for the equivalent of $30 U.S. dollars per nigt!

We like it!

Love to all,
David and Lisa


12/06 Manapouri, New Zealand

(Last night, after dark, in the quiet, peaceful garden outside our solarium window, the ducks were making lots of racket. We thought maybe a raccoon was around or something like that.

Then Joy knocked on our door. We had left the outside light on and the ducks were upset over it. . . honest, that's what she said! Well now. We turned the outside light off -- and the ducks got quiet!!! Go figure.)

Today is our tour of Doubtful Sound. First a shower in our VERY COZY (read tiny) bathroom. Then a hearty breakfast of porridge with sliced bananas and honey complimented by toasted homemade bread with home made jams.

It was only a short walk from "The Cottage," our B&B, to the dock at "Pearl Harbor." Pearl Harbor is a very small boat landing located at the mouth of the Lower Waiau River, the outlet of Lake Manapouri. There we caught the Fiordland Flyer for the 45 minute, 22 mile trip across Lake to West Arm.

West Arm is the site of the Manapouri Power Station -- the largest in New Zealand. The power station is a civil engineering marvel in that it was built entirely underground with very little disturbance of the environment. Unfortunately, we were not able to tour the station due to the current construction of the connecting arm of a second tailrace.

A "comfortable coach" (read bus) took us over the Wilmot Pass (on roads at up to 20% grades) to "Deep Cove". Deep Cove is the West end of the tailrace from the power station and the East end of Doubtful Sound.

Our coach driver told us the sound was named after an Australian hearing aid company. (He has a dry sense of humor -- obviously a Kiwi -- always knocking the Aussies.) Actually the sound was named by it's discoverer, Captain Cook. He named it because, he said, "It's doubtful that there's enough wind to bring us out if we go in" (with his sailing ships.)

At Deep Cove we boarded the Commander Peak and headed out into the sound. (Actually, it's a fjord. A "sound" is simply a river outlet to the sea. A fjord may look and act the same, but a fjord was carved by a glacier.) We cruised all the way out of Doubtful Sound, about 60 km, to the Nee Islets in the Tasman Sea. There we saw a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals.

Unfortunately, before we got to the islets, we had to traverse large ocean swells. Unfortunate, because that ended the pleasure part of the cruise for Lisa. She got very sick. Her forlorn appearance as she sat on the deck at the stern of the ship, holding her barf bag, was almost as big an attraction as the bottle nosed dolphins that we encountered . . . but not quite.

The dolphins were really fun to watch. The captain said there are about 60 in the colony in the fjord. We were in a pod of about 20. They swam all around the boat, surfacing regularly to breath. Then, just as we started to leave, they began doing leaps and twists and turns in the air behind the boat. And they were performing in groups of three to six! What a kick!!

We saw some Fiordland Crested Penguins on one of the islands also. And we saw them in the water, where they look a lot like ducks.

When we turned and raced back up the fjord, the captain said we had windspeeds up to 70 knots. (No wonder we weren't allowed on the decks -- and no wonder Lisa got sick!)

The return boat, bus and boat trip were uneventful, except . . . . Lisa was cold so she got some tea. Also, after her day at sea, she was tired. Well, she was sitting holding her half-full cup of tea . . . and she dozed off. The tea dumped -- mostly on her own leg, but a lot went a German tourist who she was sitting next to. No big deal, though. He understood. Those things happen.

As we got farther and farther from the ocean, the weather got nicer and nicer. By the time we got back to Pearl Harbor, it was sunny and warm.

We walked back to The Cottage, got a banana for Lisa's tummy, and she (and I) took a long (and short) nap. Then we started walking the 1.2K to the best restaurant in town, the Beehive Cafe, for dinner. (There are two in town, but only the Bee Hive is open for dinner.)

We got halfway there and noticed that very dark clouds were headed our way from the direction of the sound . . . so we walked back and got the car.

While we were at dinner, looking out the picture windows at the beautiful lake scene, the dark clouds blew over. They only dropped a few sprinkles as they went by.

You may wonder why we were concerned about a little rain. Well, in this area it rains, on average, two days out of three and drops 27 METERS of rain a year on the sound. That's very roughly 90 FEET of rain. (I wonder if that's in Ripley's? or should be??)

It finally started raining for real after we got back to The Cottage and were snug in our room. Then we enjoyed watching and hearing it on the solarium and the skylight.

(Another by-the-way. It is light about 5:30 in the morning and it stays light until almost 10 at night -- even when it rains.)

Love to all, David and Lisa


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