Akaroa (Nov 27, 2018)

We woke up 175 nautical miles down the line anchored in an ancient volcano. The fact that it is home to the smallest marine dolphin in the world is the reason fishing is not allowed in the immediate area. This charming little seaside burg of 600, the only French settlement in New Zealand, is a tourist destination that swells to 10 times its size in high season. Quite frankly I can’t imagine that.

We spent half a day on a 1960s Routemaster double-decker bus (one of four in New Zealand we were told with pride) touring the countryside which, thanks in part to the sun peeking in and out, was spectacular. The hilly countryside had a couple things we had not seen here yet: olive groves, areas where salmon is fished, and wild calla lilies.

Our driver, just like all the others we’ve had, was fun, funny, and full of interesting information. He pointed out rather unattractive manuka trees (indigenous to New Zealand and Australia) which are fast becoming known worldwide for their high quality honey which is used both medicinally as well as in cooking. He explained that the Maori who lived in this area back in the day practiced cannibalism. Yikes. Another tidbit was the fact that when the English arrived the Maori did not have a written language and asked the English to help with that. An alphabet of 15 English letters was developed to represent the sounds of their language. There is a compulsory number of spots in the government for Maori (don’t forget to roll the r).

We asked to be let off the bus on the edge of town so we could stroll back to the tender. We stopped at St. Patrick’s, a charming 150 year old wooden Catholic church, to light a candle for Josie’s Great Aunt Jerry. We took Hettie’s picture in front of a rock and crystal shop named, of all things, Hettie’s; passed charming cottages smothered in flowers; saw the smallest library I’ve ever seen; and passed a huge outside fireplace with three giant cauldrons that had been used at one time to render oil from the blubber of whales caught right off shore.

Tonight’s conversation cards: I had so little time to shower and dress for dinner that I ran out without the cards, so Walter stepped up and asked questions. What was your first date? Do you and your spouse have a song? If you could invent anything, what would it be?


There are only two spiders in New Zealand, one native and one from Australia.

Hokey Pokey is a popular flavor of vanilla ice cream which is laced
with chunks of honeycomb toffee.

New Zealand experiences about 15,000 earthquakes each year, most of which
are too deep to be felt. That said, 150 to 200 are felt.

Swimming shorts are togs; flip flops are jandals; sweets are lollies;
to stroll is to have a wander; and piss is alcohol.

The world’s first ever commercial bungy jumping establishment
is located in Queenstown, NZ.


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