Saturday, February 24, 2018

Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti - Day 8 - Fri Feb 23, 2018 (Dunedin, New Zealand)

Day 8 – Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin (pronounced - "done" - "eden") is located in a deep fiord known as Otago Harbor and is about 12 miles in.  Dunedin was settled in 1848 by Scotsmen with an eye toward building a city.  It is known as the “most Scottish City outside Scotland,” with many Victorian and Edwardian buildings.  Dunedin is the old Gaelic work for “Edinburgh.”

Sea Princess was already docked in Dunedin.

The hills have very few trees, just beautiful rolling fields.

This morning we took the Crystal Shuttle from Port Chalmers into Dunedin (about 10 miles).  It is wonderful that Crystal provides a shuttle from the port into town when it is not walking distance.  Dunedin’s population is approximately 140,000. We didn’t have much time in town as we had an activity planned for the afternoon.  We had our priorities set on what we wanted to see.

First was the Dunedin Train Station.  Built between 1873 and 1906 it is the most photographed building in New Zealand and it is evident why.  It is a beautiful building, both inside and out.  The gardens surrounding it are also wonderful.

We are a long way from everywhere.

Next stop was the Cadbury Chocolate Factory.  We didn’t have time for the factory tour, but did manage to make some purchases.  J

We walked up to a Presbyterian Church and then on to Speight’s Brewery.  The brewery was founded in 1876 and prides itself on being “the pride of the south” (island). The tours didn't start until noon and we had to get back to the ship for our 12:15pm tour experience.

Back on the shuttle in time to make our Crystal Voluntourism activity.  On each cruise Crystal provides an opportunity for passengers to volunteer.  The opportunity today was at the Penguin Place Conservation Reserve, located about an hour from Dunedin on the Otago peninsula. It is a private reserve dedicated to helping the rare and endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin.  They provide habitat restoration, predator control, research and a care facility for starving or injured penguins.  There are about 700 Yellow Eyed Penguins in all of New Zealand.  We first visited the penguin hospital which had about 20 penguins that they were caring for.  They rehabilitate them and then release them back into the wild.  One recently “released” penguin was still in the release pen (with the gate wide open) 4 days after his “release.”  Maybe life on the Reserve is too good – they are still feeding him daily.

Our lecture before we visited the penguins

Some young penguins in hospital (note - they don't get their yellow band until they are over 1 year old).

These are mostly here because they were hurt or starving due to lack of fish in the local seas.

The Yellow Eyed Penguins are very shy and wary of humans.  For this reason you must be very quiet and view them from trenches, looking through slots.  We were privileged to see “Old Jim” returning from a fishing expedition to his nest area.  “Old Jim” is 24 years old and a resident of the Reserve.  The blue penguins we saw were in nesting huts. The blues are not endangered.

In the trenches.
Jim walking down the hill from the ocean.

Old Jim on his way in from the beach.
Old Jim walked about 150 meters from the beach to this area. 
The pond near the middle of the shot is where we saw Jim walking by.

Not a bad place for the penguin reserve.

A nesting blue penguin.
The volunteer part of the tour was to plant a tree. Since the penguins are so shy, they actually prefer to be alone and isolated. Thus they typically nest in the alpine/forest area. We were tasked with adding another tree to help foster the growth of the forest. Bob dug the hole and planted our tree.

Bob and the baby tree.

On the way back, we went on the high road and had some spectacular views of the hills. Dunedin is a HUGE city and actually encompasses the entire peninsula on both sides.

Dinner was in the Waterside Dining Room and included, for Julie:  Seafood Rendezvous (shrimp and crab in a Basil-Citrus Aoili), Tomato Bisque Soup, and Smoked Tasmanian Salmon with Saffron Veloute Sauce and Black-Ink Spinach Ravioli.  It was excellent and beautifully presented in a black bowl.  We succumbed to the dessert offerings and Julie had the "Kiwi Trifle" with vanilla mouse, kiwi cream, vanilla ice cream and kiwi salsa. It was delicious.

Bob had the Chopped Salad, Tomato Bisque Soup and Australian Lamb Rack with Ricotta Gnocchi and the Macadamia Nut Crunch for dessert.

The evening’s entertainment was “Curtain Call,” a tribute to the music of Broadway.  We’ve seen it many times and Crystal does a nice job with the production shows.

Today we walked 6.61 miles, 15,845 steps and 63 floors of stairs.

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