10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 1-3 Embarking, Roses and Glow-worms

The 10th Unlock the Past cruise is well underway, but due to a combination of meetings, slow internet and touristing, this is my first chance to report on the goings-on so far.

So bear with me while I review the past few days.

Day 1 – Auckland, Embarkation (Sunday 14 February 2016)
The day went smooth enough after (eventually) getting breakfast at a cafe near our hotel. Don’t you just love it when your table gets forgotten? Anyway we got a couple of taxis from the hotel to the port squeezing seven of us and all of our luggage in (and I mean squeezing). Once there Paul Blake, Judy Russell and Helen Smith decided to explore Auckland some more prior to boarding, while the rest of the Unlock the Past team boarded, sussed out the Conference Room, and were having lunch by around 1pm. We set up the Registration desk so those who booked for the genealogy cruise could come and get their name tags and goodies throughout the arvo prior to the Lifeboat Drill. Dinner was in the formal dining room (which by the way, is way too fancy for me), but a very nice touch was that every female was given a red rose for Valentines Day, an after that we had a Meet and Greet session, introducing all of the guest speakers and welcoming the geneacruisers to the 10th Unlock the Past cruise. The evening was then spent getting settled into our room.

most of the Unlock the Past organising team, some speakers, and their luggage  used with permission of Helen Smith

most of the Unlock the Past organising team, with some of the speakers, and all their luggage
[used with permission of Helen Smith]

boarding the Celebrity Solstice

boarding the Celebrity Solstice
[used with permission from Alan Phillips]

roses for Valentine's Day

roses for Valentine’s Day

Day 2 – Bay of Islands (Monday 15 February 2016)
The trip from Auckland up to the Bay of Islands overnight a little rocky at times due to a cyclone that was near Fiji. Anyway all was good, and we docked early morning which gave us the day to go ashore and explore. I went on a tour with Helen Smith and Judy Russell to the Glow-worm caves. And while I have seen glowworms before, any chance you get to see do so, and they will blow your mind. They are beautiful, and the best way I can describe it is that it’s like the cave is lined with fairy lights. As I can’t show you a picture of the glow-worms, as you’re not allowed to photograph them, here’s a link to the website of the place we went. As well as the glow-worms our tour took us to the Te Waimate Mission which has a house, church and cemetery on the one property, all of which is just gorgeous. One very striking thing I noted in the cemetery was there were some seemingly recent burials of children, each of which was a large mound of dirt with lots of kids toys (matchbox cars, plastic dinosaurs, a toy spade, plastic flowers and more) all sitting in the mound of dirt – that was the grave and somehow that struck a cord with me. Anyway the tender ride back to the ship was rather rocky too, so I was glad that it wasn’t very long. Normally I’m not prone to seasickness, however I did feel rather off by the time I was back at the ship. After dinner Judy Russell kicked of the seminars with her talk on Copyright Law for Genealogists, which certainly made everyone think about sharing everything in a new light. And while that was it official for the evening, then it was time for evening chat and drinks with friends.

please don't photograph the glow-worms

please don’t photograph the glow-worms

Church and cemetery at Te Waimate Mission, New Zealand

Church and cemetery at Te Waimate Mission, New Zealand

after dinner chit-chat with Helen SMith, Paul Blake, Louis Kessler, Judy Russell and Cheryl Kessler

after dinner chit-chat with Helen Smith, Paul Blake, Louis Kessler, Judy Russell and Cheryl Kessler

Day 3 – Tauranga (Tuesday 16 February 2016)
For most people this was THE day. The day of the cruise they’d been waiting for. They day to go to Hobbiton. For me as a person who has never read any of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit books, or seen any of the movies, I was happy to let everyone else do that and just as well as those tours would have been all booked out before the cruise even started. So my Day 3 was spent wandering around Tauranga instead. It was another cool, cloudy, 22ish degrees day, and I went for a walk along the shore front, and then headed back along their shopping street. After returning, my afternoon was spent wandering the ship, and working (aka playing on social media), and recharging everything (cameras, laptops, ipad, phones etc). With limited plugs there’s always something to be charged. Dinner for me was at buffet (the Oceanview Cafe), and I expect it will be for most of the trip. I much prefer being able to choose a bit of this and a bit of that – rather than simply one dish off the restaurant’s menu. Afterwards Paul Blake made his debut with the evening talk, which was titled “Using British Probate Records to Discover the Origins of Your Emigrant Ancestors”. As with all of Paul’s talks that I’ve been to previously, it was very thought-provoking. And that was it for Day 3 on the cruise.

Tauranga, New Zealand

the shore front at Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga, New Zealand

this little car in Tauranga had me intruiged

there's never enough plugs!

there’s never enough plugs!

This cruise is an 18 day one, so stay tuned for further adventures ..

One Response to “10th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 1-3 Embarking, Roses and Glow-worms”

  1. GenieJen says:

    Sounds wonderful apart from the extra rocking, glad I wasn’t on board for that. Thanks for sharing the great pictures, it’s my vicarious travelling.

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