8 Days Later… New Zealand!

After departing Bartlett Inlet and our last stop of the Ross Sea Expedition, we spent the next week at sea. Our days were filled with lectures, cooking demonstrations, reading, laundry, journal writings and, of course, eating and drinking. It remained cold until we crossed the Antarctic Circle and then didn’t warm up immediately but we found we were wearing fewer and fewer layers of clothing. Soon the heavy boots and long underwear disappeared and after about a week I actually sat on the pool deck in nearly 70 degree weather.
We arrived in Lyttelton, the port for Christchurch, after a little over a week at sea.

Lyttelton Harbour on a sunny morning

After disembarking, we walked up the hill to the sleeping town while reminiscing about our trip three years ago with friends. It all came back to us as we walked the main street.
Anxious to step on terra firma, we were able to arrange a tee time. It was nice and warm but a little windy. The Clearwater Golf Club was lovely as were the people. We were all fascinated with the cloud formations, which looked very unusual but maybe just the forerunners of a storm.

It never did rain and we had a great time, ending in the clubhouse with the traditional beer and G&Ts. The Super Bowl was on television and was in the last minutes. We didn’t want to know the score since we could watch it later on the ship. But there was too much excitement and we had to peek. What a finish!
The next day we joined four others in the group for a contemporary visit. Several of our friends are great fans of single malt whiskies and on a previous visit one discovered a place called Whiskey Galore. Well, with a name like that, how could we pass up a visit?
We walked about half a mile through the streets of Christchurch, which is recovering from yet another earthquake last November. The poor cathedral still half stands with controversy swirling around it as whether to re-build or tear down completely. So sad. Yet, the container mall looks busy as ever.

It was kind of a blustery day, but we were warmly welcomed by Michael and James, the owner, and ushered in to the tasting room for a “wee dram.” James’s father founded the company in 1946 after re-locating from Scotland following the war. The address has changed several times, the last because of an earthquake, but I believe everything else remains the same.

Thin wires run along the front of the shelves to hold the bottles in during earthquakes

We are quite used to wine tastings but, thankfully, we didn’t sample as many glasses of whisky as it was quite strong. We had three with varying degrees of “peatiness” and then repaired to the sales room for the serious work. Everyone had a favorite and many purchases were made. Fortunately, James’s wife had to run an errand in the direction of the ship and was nice enough to drop the bottles off for us. We stayed in town for a lovely lunch at the George Hotel.

It was a short walk back to the shuttle stop at the museum, where we saw loads of students just out of class and many in costume for something?  Thirty minutes later we arrived at The World and were in for the night.


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