THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JAMES A. BONDOUX

CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF NEW ZEALAND

Cruise Ship

A very comfortable, elegant, and well-staffed pocket cruise ship.


Kevin Lemons

With Stanford "minder" Kevin, we're ready for the Shotover River Rapids.


Jetboat

Propane-fueled Jetboat spinning through the rapids - Whee!.


Antarctic Center

Fooling around in the displays at the Antarctic Center near Christchurch airport.

Milford Fjord

Milford Fjord.


Ready for Gala

We're ready for Captain's Gala night on board.


Sheep Shearing

Sheep shearing demonstration at a "Station".

Our first experience with Stanford Travel/Study took place in February, 2000 on a two-week cruise around the New Zealand Islands. We departed San Francisco a bare two weeks following the day we lost our home on the water, LIBERTE, to a fire. Still in semi-shock from that trauma, we needed some kind of change. This trip provided that change, in spades.

The faculty member leading the voyage was Professor Ron Lyon, of the Geology Department. He lectured several times about Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Glaciers, as well as about the history and the resources of New Zealand. This college-style course, along with the attentive ministrations of a couple of "minders", i.e. Stanford Travel staff, made for an all-new, pleasant, and rewarding experience.

We started with a two-day stay in the center of the South Island, in Queenstown. This is the so-called "adrenalin capital of the world" for its record of inventing extreme sports, including bungee-jumping. We didn't partake of the latter, but we did go screaming up and down the rapids in the Shotover Gorge in a high-speed jet boat.

A short flight took us to Wellington, where we were to board the SONG OF FLOWER for our cruise. Before so doing, we toured the huge "Te Papa Tongarewa Museum", which has extraordinary exhibits concerning New Zealand's unique natural history and the Maori and Pacific Island cultures.

The ship stopped for a morning tour of Nelson before cruising on into Fjordland, a huge National Park and World Heritage Site. Spectacular craggy peaks poking into the clouds and tall waterfalls dominate the landscape which is otherwise bereft of human artifacts. While cruising Milford Sound, we decided to enjoy the view from the ship's bridge - and it was a treat for me to hear Kathryn point out a nasty-looking reef to the pilot, since she has always been a sharp-eyed, but nervous, lookout on our boat.

Other ports-of-call included Stewart Island, south of the southern tip of the South Island, and the South Island port cities of Dunedin (we visited a colony of endangered yellow-eyed penguins), Christchurch (International Anatrctic Center), and Picton (New Zealand's wine-growing region).

Then on to the North Island, where we stopped in Napier (lots of Art Deco architecture and a large gannett rookery) and Tauranga (gateway to Rotorua and its geysers and Maori museum), and finally disembarked in Auckland. Before winging back to the U.S. (we didn't really have a home to go back to!) I was pleased to be able to visit Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, which I had checked out as a possible investment back in the late 1980's.

We decided that we would look into other Stanford Travel/Study trips in the future, since this initial taste of their approach proved to be so satisfactory.

Peggy Ley

Relaxing moments in the ship's pool with new friend, Peggy Ley.