1. Exceptionally rare weather. We got up at 6:30am so we could get a good front-of-the-boat spot for our trip thru the Sounds of New Zealand Fjordland National Park. The onboard Naturalist who narrated as we sailed said this day was 1 of probably only 2 good weather days during this season – the rest of the time it’s overcast and rainy, so we were SO LUCKY!
2. The Shock and Awe Buffet. We chose a very very wrong time to commit to better eating. We came upon the MOST BEAUTIFUL food display today for brunch than either of us have ever seen in our lives. The pictures won’t do it justice. It was pure shock and awe meant to break our will and succumb to their out of this world food offerings, which included bananas foster, fondue white and chocolate fruit dipping, and frozen chocolate covered ice-cream balls; that was hardly a beginning of just the sweets… the food included everything you could possibly dream of, housed in breathtaking ice sculptures and life-sized edible gingerbread house toasters.
3. Penguins, sea lions, hundreds of dolphins all at once, and albatross. All the animals we saw today as we went through the most gorgeous something-you’d-see-in-a-movie scenery… the sea was alive, and we felt humbled to watch all this wildlife around us. Including all the things we couldn’t see under the water that didn’t show their faces or tails. Daron wants me to add here that his favorite thing he saw was a Balrog. He just wants to see if anyone’s reading this.
4. Kangaroo horror story. As we all stood on deck admiring the beautiful sounds, we met sweet Kris (and her hubby Doug who was just diagnosed with liver cancer, so they planned this last fling trip – their story brought tears to my eyes) who told us about how their 4 acres back home in Australia are overrun by rabbits and kangaroos who eat her garden foods. One day she went out to pick some carob from her tree and she heard a grunt behind her, and next thing she knew, an adult female kangaroo AS TALL AS HER, with her joey in her pouch, jumped on her back and attacked her. She got it off and ran as fast as she could (this happened 2 years ago, when she was 70) and she tripped, then tried to get up quickly, when the kangaroo reared up on her tail and with her raptor-like middle toe claw, scraped her entire back leg from thigh to foot. She barely got away to her house when her hubby saw the commotion, opened the door for her, and the kangaroo left. Unreal.
5. Kuthrapali. We have onboard a Big Bang Theory Kuthrapali-lookalike and his Indian bride. We have taken to calling him Kuthrapoopi, after our last excursion which we were all on together. After taking our seats on the bus and starting the tour with the other 25 guests, we made our first stop, then everyone got back on the bus IN THEIR SAME SEATS – duh – except for Kuthrapoopi and his bride. They had weaseled their little booties into our seats. Everyone’s looking at them, and when we get on the bus and see them in our seats, we just looked at them and Daron said – I believe these were our seats – and Kuth and his huzzy just looked at us – then Daron said – well, where were you sitting? So we can sit there since you’re sitting where we were, and we need to sit in your seats now – so he said – ‘oh we were in de back and you kahnt hear anyting back dere, so dat’s why we’re here now.’ Wow. I said – oh let me grab my things then (I’d left my waterbottle in the pouch on the seat) and huzzy just watched me. At the next stop, a nice older man came up to us and said, I can’t believe they didn’t give you your seats back. That wasn’t fair – you should get those back. We were so wronged. Now when we see Kuth onboard we give them a friendly glare… 8-)
6. The One year mark. I say with sadness that today, March 10th, is exactly one year to the day that our family permanently returned from Switzerland. Steebie and Kas had already come home with Aunt Kas and Uncle Sterl on the 4th, but today Daron and I arrived with little Kenny-Boo, and our European adventure officially came to a close. Today brought tears as we reminisced on this – it will always be such a wonderful time in our lives, and we’re so glad we got to share it with all of you who got to visit… and those of you who didn’t, via email , skype and phone. 8-)