Time-traveling container ship

We are currently at 30°30’35.74″S 169°58’12.93″W. Last night we gained an hour, making the ship’s time the same as Auckland’s—but on different days! To compensate, we had to advance (or lose) a day, skipping Friday, October 1st entirely. In technical…

Land anticipation

We are currently at 33°53’41.45″S 177°24’7.38″W, en route to Auckland, New Zealand. At some point the voyage has to come to an end. Tomorrow we will be arriving at the port of Auckland. It will probably be very late at…

One big engine

We are currently at 36°23’30″S 175°35’45″E, approaching Auckland, New Zealand The chief engineer took us on a tour of the Cap Cleveland’s engine room after lunch today. We had to wear earplugs because it’s so loud, thus the tour consisted…

AuckLAND ho!

At long last, after 28 days aboard the Cap Cleveland and 6,785 nautical miles logged across the Pacific Ocean, we are docked at the Port of Auckland, New Zealand. Final latitude and longitude: 36°50’31.41″S 174°46’59.51″E. Last night the pilot was…

Plugging back into life on land

Pulling up anchors is a nice analogy for how it felt while we were on the ship. Even though I “cheated” by bringing a satellite modem with us, it seemed like we were between worlds when we were en route.…

Brief portrait of a blogging backpacker

Picture me, on the couch of a budget hotel, laptop on lap, connected to wifi at $5 per 50 megabytes, surfing the web with images disabled (to save bandwidth), checking my email, paying off my credit cards, checking my bank…

End of an era: Ask.com shutting down Bloglines

Old news, but finding this out made me sad: Ask.com let our users know that we will shut down Bloglines on November 1. Bloglines was my first and only feedreader. I’ve been using it for over five years. Until leaving…

Tramping Rangitoto

Last Thursday, feeling sufficiently settled in Auckland, we ventured out and took the ferry to Rangitoto Island. It takes less than 30 minutes to get there—the island is a visible presence from most parts of the city. It’s also one…

A peek at Auckland’s bush

While we were at sea, I got a comment from Lisa on my blog who’d read the Metafilter post about our trip via a link in the New York Times. Over email she connected me with her friend Rob who…

A look inside a Māori wharenui

On Thursday afternoon we took the bus up to the War Memorial Museum, which had been highly recommended to us by several people. It’s housed in a beautiful classical building on a hill overlooking Auckland. We made it through the…

Driving on the left

We’ve rented something called a “Spaceship“—essentially a Toyota minivan that’s been converted into a bright orange campervan. Our car is now our castle. This is a new approach to car camping for us—actually sleeping in the vehicle, but it’s one…

Pohutu in action

We made it to Rotorua on Friday, after driving successfully on the left, and stopped at the Thermal Springs Holiday Park for two nights. Having never been to a holiday park before (in New Zealand or elsewhere), I was impressed…

Kiwis crossing at night

We arrived at the Tongariro National Park visitor’s center in the rain. It had rained on and off the entire drive from Rotorua, around Lake Taupo, and into Tongariro. Visibility had been next to nothing. On Monday morning it was…

From North to South (Island)

Why are we moving across the New Zealand landscape so fast? Partly because we’re doing a favor for Spaceships, bringing one of their vans down to Christchurch before the end of the month. At this time of year (going into…

Swimming with dolphins

It was raining again when we woke up on Thursday. After breakfast, we headed over to Dolphin Encounter to see whether our tour would be going forward. It had been fogged in that morning, but by noon the rain had…

Kaikoura Peninsula

Before leaving Kaikoura to return our Spaceship in Christchurch on Friday, we walked part way along the Peninsula Walkway and took a few photos of the dramatic Seaward Kaikoura Range and the turquoise Pacific. Afterwards we stopped at the Kaikoura…

From Palpatine to Voyager

Meet our “new” Spaceship (and home for the next two weeks): Spaceship Voyager Whereas Palpatine was a brand new “Beta”-model Spaceship with only 46,000 kilometers, Voyager is one of their original (and well-traveled) “Alpha”-models—with 314,000 kilometers! We knew what we…

Tekapo and Pukaki

On Sunday we drove from Fairlie to Wanaka, with stops along the way to admire Lake Tekapo and the strikingly turquoise Lake Pukaki. By the time we reached Wanaka, we decided to park ourselves at Aspiring Campervan Park for the…

The highest paved road in New Zealand

On Monday we left Wanaka and continued on our way towards Queenstown (the adventure capital of NZ). We ended up zipping through Queenstown and heading straight for Te Anau to take advantage of the good weather forecast there on Tuesday.…

Kayaking Milford Sound (with penguins!)

We set the alarm for 6am on Tuesday morning. Eve, one of our guides for the day, picked us and another couple up from the holiday park in Te Anau at 6:50. It’s a two hour drive from Te Anau…