Down Under 3: En Route To Tasmania

We are back  aboard the Viking ship, “Orion” and I am in the Explorer’s Lounge, located on deck 7 (out of 9) next to a huge window providing a panorama of the vast South Pacific. The seas have calmed down from raging 30-plus knots to around 10 knots though huge 20-foot swells remain. The sky has turned blue again, turning a gray sea to azure. Samuel Barber’s “Adagio in Strings” is playing in the background. And the crew has started to retrieve the “sea sickness bags” that have been placed in hallways, next to elevators and stairways and almost everywhere you can imagine.

Life is good.

What has not been so good for the past week is my health though I am  pleased to announce that the ship’s doctor has determined that I do not have pneumonia, only a nasty respiratory virus, which he is treating with daily inhalation treatments. Given how the trip began with essentially four straight days of constant vigorous activity,  few opportunities for rest and a 20-hour, six time zone, jet lag,  I suppose a physical meltdown for me was pretty much inevitable. I can almost hear my friend and blog commentator, Dr. Killebrew, remarking, “Duh.”

So what about New Zealand? It now seems a blur. While I did spend several days holed up in our cabin causing me to miss three excursions, I did manage to drag myself along on three and consider the New Zealand leg a success, all things considered. Given its small size (about the same as Colorado) and population of fewer than five million, it surely is in competition for first place for the most beautiful country on Earth if measured on a per square mile basis. The country has it all, rain forests, mountains, volcanoes, meadows and pastures, thriving coastal towns, and thousands of coves and anchorages—the whole package.. New Zealanders are friendly and outgoing,  welcoming of tourists, tolerant and progressive. There is no apparent poverty staring you in the face. Certainly not a utopia but as for life on the planet Earth, well, from the superficial perspective of this tourist, it would appear to be about as good as we can do. (I will post photos when I can figure out how to do it. Hopefully guest blogger, Embry, will weigh in with more insights.)

More to follow on the cruising experience.

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