ImaWild NZ Part 2
It was then we got the news that we would make another attempt to head for Macquarie.
Having experienced what Silverseas are capable of excitement levels were high. We headed south from Milford Sound, expecting rough but manageable seas of around 4 to 5 metres. It was not to be. The ship could not cope with the 9 metre swells and my wife had another “kryptonite moment” when seasickness struck, to her relief the ship sheltered back in Dusky Sound. Again the next day we sailed south to Stewart Island.
After a day recovering on Stewart Island with a walk up to the light house, the ship continued to Auckland Island, where we walked through a Rata forest.
The next day we arrived at Enderby Island where we experienced a true wet landing especially for those who were vertically challenged, as their gumboots filled with water as they exited from the zodiac onto the beach. A beach full of sunbathers greeted us, that is families of sea lions.
Next we continued to Campbell Island.
Campbell Island was a particularly wonderful experience. We disembarked for a 4 hours return hike on the Col Lyall Saddle boardwalk to the other side of the island. The plant life changed as we climbed higher and the beautiful Mega herbs were in abundance at the summit. Nesting albatross dotted the area as we climbed higher, and other rare bird species kept the “bird nerds” amused. We also came across one rare yellow-eyed penguin in the undergrowth. Large angry sea lions welcomed us on our return to sea level, but the expedition staff were on hand to guide us safely back to the ship. We had a great day and were starting to feel good again but as has been the case on this ship before, a high was to be followed by a very low, low.
The weather was closing in fast Macquarie Island was finally and definitely OFF. We were to head north again to the South Island as quickly as possible. We were told to expect 5 metre waves overnight and secure our belongings before going to bed. By this time we had some experience of this ship and how it performed in the open ocean. We had worked out the best seasick remedies by now, so took all the necessary precautions and bunkered down in bed at 7.00 pm, without dinner and literally held on for dear life.
What happened next was one of the worst experiences of our life. The seas we were trying to avoid on the way to Macquarie Island hit us anyway. The ship rolled from side to side and rose up and then came violently down with a thud. We hung on to our bed as we heard things banging and falling throughout the ship. This lasted hour after hour. There was no safe harbour now and no choice but to grin and bear it. It was two days before we reached calmer waters off the coast of the South Island. We later found out the storm was a 10 on the Beaufort scale, that is wind speed 89-102km/h, wave height 9-12.5m.
Once we hit calmer water’s we all breathed a sigh of relief, and once again enjoyed the remainder of the cruise. The cruise finished in Christchurch where we had one of the best days of the trip simply walking through the magnificent Botanical Gardens, and that did not cost us a penny.
Here is a quick run down on our cruise experience:
Embarkation: Good as you would expect with only 59 passengers
Cabin: a little old but normal for any cruise ship, except for: extensive yellow rust stains on the picture window, preventing us from taking photo’s, disgusting yellow running water in the bathroom throughout the cruise, no hot water and low water pressure on the first night, air-conditioning sometimes completely out of control.
Entertainment: almost non-existent, but not a problem on this type of cruise. There was a piano man.
The Food: Breakfast and lunch buffet style was average. Room service good. Restaurant was poor on first night, but after that either very good or exceptionally good.
The Service: All of the staff was absolutely outstanding, best ever in my experience.
The Facilities: Very small ship, very limited facilities, not a problem on this type of cruise.
Images supplied by Tim and Michelle