Saturday, February 24, 2018

Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti - Day 7 - Thu Feb 22, 2018 (Stewart Island, New Zealand)

Day 7 – Stewart Island, New Zealand

We anchored off Stewart Island early this morning.  It is south of New Zealand’s South Island.  It has one town on the island, Oban, with a population less than 400.  In town there is a very small supermarket, a souvenir store, post office, ATM, theater, bar, and a visitor center.  Very few cruise ships visit here (about 12 small ships per year), but the island does attract tourists for birding and forest walks. 

We chose to take the Wildlife Cruise.  There were about 25 of us from the ship on a double hulled boat out to see the wildlife.  We saw fur seals, blue penguins, dolphins, a cormorant rookery and most interesting of all – albatross.  They land feet first and then look like they are running on water.  Quite the sight.  One flew right over Bob’s head and Julie thought he was going to grab his hat.


The oldest house on the island.

Albatross (what is the plural form?)

Chumming to attract the albatross

Up close and personal

Fur seal 

Can't remember the name of the brown birds.

Cormorant rookery

Location of original whaling camp.

World's most southernmost golf course.
BTW - when the albatross were fighting over the fish, they made some pretty funny noises. Here is a short video.

After the Wildlife Cruise we walked around the town of Oban – which, with less than 400 people, didn’t take that long.  Julie went into the supermarket and wasn’t sure she could survive with the very limited selection of meats and produce.  There were a number of canned goods and breads.  It looked to be about the size of a 7-11.

We returned to the ship to grab some lunch at the Trident Grill and relax on the upper decks, before returning to the cabin to do some work.

This afternoon we attended the Magic Castle at Sea show.  Magicians from the Magic Castle in Los Angeles come onboard and provide magic shows to a very small group of about 15 people.  It’s a fun show and the tricks are amazing. Chris Capehart, Master Magician, is onboard this voyage.  We have seen him on other cruises.  He is absolutely amazing.  We sat up front and both Julie and Bob got to assist with various tricks and still are absolutely befuddled about how he does them. For example, Julie helped with a floating table trick by holding 2 corners of the tablecloth on the table as it was floating.  The magician let go, and just Julie was holding the 2 corners of the drape on the table and the table continued to float.  She has no idea how he did that as she was not supporting any weight at all.  He also did a variety of card tricks, sleight of hand, and rings.  We were sitting less than 2 feet away and still could not see how he does it.

Drinks in the Cove while enjoying Scott Mitchell play the piano, and dinner back at the Waterside Dining Room tonight.  

Julie decided to try to eat a little lighter this dinner.  She ordered the Reisling Cream Soup with Porcini Mushroom Custard and the Barramundi Salad Entrée with orange segments and butternut squash in it.  Bob foiled her plans by offering her a taste of his pasta appetizer, Spinach and Cheese Tortellacci with Saffron-Herb Sauce, Poached Salmon and Peas. She loved it, and our waiter Dragan, raced off to the kitchen to get her a serving, too.  The Barramundi fish was amazing – it is found in Northern Australian waters and very light and tasty.  Julie will definitely watch for that on the menu.

Bob had Garden Greens, the Tortellacci Appetizer and Steak Mermaid which was Filet and served with the largest Tiger Prawn either of us have ever seen.  It include Bernaise Sauce, Bob’s favorite sauce.

Dragan, from Serbia, has been our waiter on several Crystal cruises and is always excellent.  He has worked on Crystal ships for 25 years.  When he started he said that he had plans to stay 3-4 years, but here he still is.  He was away from his family for all those years, but, interestingly, his son is now working in the Dining Room, too. He told us that his son graduated University but was unable to find a job in Serbia. So, he has joined his father at sea.  The crew on Crystal is amazing and getting to know them and see them year after year is very special.

Last night marks a first for us – we attended BOTH the early and late performances of the Neil Lockwood in Concert show.  Obviously we loved the show.  Julie felt it was the best show that she'd seen on Crystal and that is saying a lot.  Neil Lockwood was the lead singer of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) and is a very talented musician, singer and entertainer.  He sang all ELO songs with the exception of one song as a tribute to Ringo (Beatles) and Jack Bruce (Cream) when they performed together in Munich.  His voice is still amazing and the show included all the familiar ELO songs “Evil Woman,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Telephone Line” and more.  Very enjoyable evening.  Oh, by the way, he is the same artist that performed the Elton John tribute earlier in the cruise.

Between the first and second shows, there was a latin dance show. Their skill was unsurpassed.

And of course, we went back to the Lockwood show again.

Today we walked 4.2 miles, 10,067 steps, and 32 floors of stairs.

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