Thursday, November 17, 2011

First and foremost.....................

Arriving at the Chatham Islands - first inhabited landmass to greet dawn each new day.

..............prior to proceeding with more about the sub-Antarctic trip, I just want to say I'm sorry that I haven't been able to comment on all your delightful blogs for such a long time.  I hope you will understand that it was only because the Internet was spotty and terribly expensive on the ship, then in Australia, when we did have hotel WiFi, we also had lots of friends to meet up with and fabulous places to see. Life on the computer was dedicated mostly to uploading photos - hundreds of them - and e-mailing Bob to let him know I had not fallen off a Zodiac and floated away to Antarctica!

I arrived home to my cozy little house late Tuesday night.  The ticking of a familiar clock lulled me to sleep as I snuggled under the duvet.  Bob is on a business trip and won't be home until Friday so I'm happily alone unpacking, doing laundry, going through a stack of mail, writing lists of things to get done this week - hair, nails, grocery shopping, Christmas cards (OMG I'll never be ready for Christmas this year), and packing...........because, in case you don't know, I'm off again next week!

I head back to California on Thanksgiving Day.  Paula and I fly off to Bangkok on Friday!  We have a week in Thailand and a week in Vietnam - an exciting trip awarded by Marriott and which has to be taken before the close of this year....and she invited me along for the ride! Goodness, I'm so incredibly fortunate, and extremely grateful, to be treated yet again to see more of this amazing world.  I have never visited either of these countries and, despite the devastating floods in parts of Thailand, we have been assured that we should be OK both in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to the north.  Anyway, more about all that I'll share some more photos from the New Zealand islands.

After two full days at sea, where one evening was spent celebrating my Birthday in a such a fun way complete with Mariachi music - thanks to fabulous dining room staff, who knew our Filipino waiters were so talented - and a beautifully decorated cake.......we arrived at the Chatham Islands.  The only inhabited islands in the group are Chatham and Pitt, with approx. 600 people whose livelihood is supported mainly by fishing for cold water crayfish (lobsters), and raising sheep for meat and wool.  Our early morning visit to the main town of Waitangi included seeing the beautiful native Chatham Islands forget-me-not in full bloom...............

Huge forget-me-nots - Myosotidium hortensia

Seeing land was exciting and the landing here was dry, meaning we could climb on to a small harbor jetty from the Zodiacs sans our hefty rubber boots. Not knowing we would be crossing slippery rocks in a creek on a guided walk through the Awatotara natural forest, I ended up with wet feet anyway after a very unladylike slide off the mossy rocks into the peaty brown water!

Part of our group among the huge ferns.

The islands are breeding grounds for huge flocks of seabirds, also endemic birds living on the islands such as the Chatham Island pigeon - this particular one jumping with joy at having visitors I'm sure - which was until recently, perilously close to extinction.

The Chatham Islands Pigeon

Orion anchored off Chatham Island.

Fishing boats and a great view of the rolling pasture land - reminded me a lot of my home in England.

Back to Orion after a farewell afternoon Zodiac expedition around the island.

Leaving Chatham Islands - South East Rock

Back soon to share more.  Waiting for the penguins?  They are coming soon, and believe me there will be many!   


  1. Welcome home Mary. Happy belated birthday. I am imagining your wonderful celebration and I know this was one special birthday.
    Love the forget-me-nots and the views of the bay.

    Now get some rest for the next trip. I am happy for you to have the opportunity for such awesome trips to enjoy.
    Get some rest Mary.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  2. What an adventurous life you are living Mary! I envy you....

  3. That looks like one huge pigeon! Super pictures again Mary, I can tell you've had such a wonderful time too ;o) Off again? Blimey, you'll need a bigger passport soon :o)
    Seriously though, I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures.
    Rose H

  4. Beautiful photos Mary! Wow, you're leaving on another amazing trip so soon! I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving ahead of time and safe travels on your next adventure! Blessings. Pamela

  5. You world traveler YOU! Have a wonderful time on your upcoming journey. Your pictures and stories are amazing. What kind of camera do you use? (Looking for Christmas ideas.) Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the next installment.

  6. Mary, So glad to read you had a great time and arrived home safe and sound. To climb into your own bed, the best feeling. Take it easy and have a relaxing few days. I am just going to read your other post and see the photographs.

  7. Fabulous photos. And I think part of vacation is taking a break from blogging, too. Have a great time as you head off to another part of the world. Lucky you!

  8. Wonderful pictures and adventures. That profile of South East Rock looks like Gibralter (except for the ice). Bon voyage once again -- fair winds and safe home.

  9. Wow, Mary! What an adventure. And you are leaving again in another week. You will be happy to be home for Christmas, I do think. I love seeing all you are sharing! Thanks so much!

  10. Welcome home...I am loving reading your posts...they leave me speechless! Very odd.


  11. You lucky duck! Have a great time....

  12. Just like everyone else I am enjoying your photographs and stories immensely, I wonder will there be time to tell us everything about this trip before you jet off again?
    Really hope so. (No pressure, then!)
    Hope you & Bob have a wonderful reunion tonight.

  13. Ok brit lady, now I really really really envy you! Now it's official, you're the most fortunate lady on the planet!

  14. Hi Mary! Seems a decade since we've talked. Once of us always on the go! What exciting adventures you are having...I'll have to keep tabs on your posts.

    Having a room redone here at home, so I just sitting here and taking the opportunity to catch up on so many of my neglected friends. I do hope you haven't forgotten me!


  15. Wow, what beautiful scenery. How lucky you are to get to see it. Loved that photo of the bird about to land. You will love Thailand-such an incredible country and the people are so sweet and welcoming.


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