When travel offered me a second shot at visiting Wellington, I wasn’t going to miss a morning at Te Papa, a lunch of green-lipped mussels (right), and a pair of three-quarter pants that are all the rage in New Zealand and Australia.
I’m not much of a birder. I love to watch the Great Lake Erie birds swoop by my porch on the north coast of Ohio, especially the eagles that have returned to the marsh near Old Woman Creek. They dive for fish in the waters outside my window.
But I am a dunce when it comes to remembering names and markings, so I can’t tell you all the species that I’ve seen in Ohio or in my frequent wanderings around the world.
I won’t forget the gannets, though, hundreds, maybe thousands of them, where they nest on the edge of a cliff at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand.
My trip to see the gannets was a shore excursion off the Celebrity Century at Napier, New Zealand, where thousands of people flock every February for the Art Deco Weekend, a celebration of Napier’s Art Deco heritage and history.
If you want to see more about the birds, take a look at Nesting with the wild gannets, my post at Checking In Checking Out, a new website with a theme of amazing places to travel, eat, and play golf.
Celebrity Century, a cruise ship that has spent most of its seagoing life in North America, is sailing around Australia and New Zealand this winter (summer in the Southern Hemisphere), getting a taste of what Aussies and Kiwis want to see and do on a cruise ship.
The Century is Celebrity’s first major investment into this part of the world, in preparation for one of Celebrity's newer and larger ships, Celebrity Solstice, which arrives next fall.
That’s why, for instance, the Century has meat pies in the Lido buffet line and a jar of Vegemite next to the morning toast.
At sea, a cruise ship captain sometimes invites a group of passengers to join him for dinner at his private table, which typically is large and well set, placed in the middle of the main dining room.
Those occasions have diminished with the increased size of new ships. Most captains of big ships now eat dinner in their own cabin or in staff dining rooms.
Captains and their tables past have flashed through my mind since mid-January, following the gruesome tales of the last evening in the life of Costa Concordia, when, during dinner, that captain apparently was not acting captainly.
The half a hundred ship's captains I have met during 30 years of cruising all exuded a calm confidence and command.