Final thoughts on New Zealand

Before I start blogging about my departure from New Zealand I thought it would be nice to sum up some facts and history about New Zealand. Mainly for my own reference when I look back at this blog, but hey, it may be of interest to you too. To begin I will briefly highlight the story of New Zealand from the Mauri standing. My friend dickie had relayed this story to me whilst we were walking some 4km walk downhill to a traditional Borneo wedding just south of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo before Christmas. This was just one of many tales about New Zealand and Mauri culture that he told me. I was fascinated by the stories, not only for their content, but also because dickie has a fantastic way of storytelling that he should most definitly be complimented upon.Read More »

Space & Time

Day: Thursday 30th May 2013

 

Ships position: 44 degrees 28.81’N, 055 degrees 30.24′ W

Ships time: 12.50

GMT: 15.50

Weather: gentle breeze, foggy, 12 degrees C

 

After breakfast this morning, me and mum made our way up to a point on the ship where you can overlook the bridge. No cameras allowed here, so no photos I’m afraid. There are huge windows directly behind the rather large bridge area overlooking all the computers and instruments and of course the crew inside. It also offers a spectacular view out of the front of the ship.

The officers operate on watches, with one senior officer and one 3rd officer on each of the three watches. There is a12-4 o’clock watch, a 4-8 o’clock watch and an 8-12 o’clock watch. 6 of the senior style officers take one of these time slots (in pairs) and obviously twice a day. It was really interesting looking at all of the radars and computer screens and seeing all the lights flashing and what not. They didn’t appear to be doing much (the officers not the computers I hasten to add) it seems as if the whole ship is on autopilot. It never seizes to amaze me how much we rely on computers and technology to guide us through life and in this case guide a 151,400 tonne ship through the Atlantic.

 

A few facts about the Queen Mary 2:

 

First voyage: 12th January 2004

Length: 1132 ft (345 m)

Width: 131 ft (39.9 m)

Draft: 32 ft (9.75 m)

Height: 236 ft (71.9 m)

Guest accommodation: 1309

Guest capacity: 2618

Guest decks: 13

Ships crew: 1240

 

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After almost an hour of staring at the bridge activity, entranced; I then wondered off in a dream like state to the library. You almost have to fight to get a good spot in the library on a seat right at the front of the ship overlooking the ocean ahead. The library is obviously in its peak hour but luckily for me I manage to grab a seat right in the middle and at the front of the ship! I grab a book to read and begin. Its a fiction novel, and I find after about 2 pages I am deeply involved in this romantic thriller. I forget this is why I don’t read that much anymore. Or haven’t done in a while. I become so antisocial it’s unreal. I can’t really function doing much else until I’ve finished the book. I get so lost in someone else’s world, albeit fiction or not, that I am fairly certain I must be a nightmare to be around in these times. In fact, an ex-boyfriend once sighed with relief when I finished the twilight series as it meant that he had ‘gotten me back’. Quite comical really. Anyhow, I am writing this blog a day late because of this fact. I also read ridiculously fast. I finished the book at 7am this friday morning (today) after starting it yesterday afternoon. And don’t think that’s all I did in this time!

 

Admittedly I did miss the galley tour (kitchens) that mum went along to. But I didn’t miss a short documentary in the planetarium on whether life exists outside of our solar system. It’s seems ridiculous that there is a planetarium onboard this ship. But there we were staring up at a huge concave screen being taken on a 3D journey through space and time and our known universe. Narrated by Harrison ford; I wouldn’t say it was particularly educational for me (I’ve watched documentaries on this before) but it was very visually exciting. It was one of those 3D things you watch where you actually feel like you are moving along with the images you are seeing.

 

I do love watching stuff like this, but I can’t help getting that almost nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach after a while; as what documentaries like this do to me is remind me how incredibly minuscule we are in the awesome humongous known universe that we are part of. It also makes you start up the question of why we are here, is it purely biological and scientific or is there a more philosophical, godly essence to our overall creation…?

 

I guess this is more of a conversational topic. And not one I am quite prepared to go off on one about now. Maybe later. Either way, I 100% believe that there is other life out there in our known universe. Which, like I mentioned, after a while of getting really involved in thinking about this, makes me feel a little ill at the vast amount of things we just don’t know.

 

To bring it back to the ocean though, I’m sure most of you know this, but we know far more about space than we do about our oceans. Which is pretty crazy if you really think about it.

 

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Anyway after this lovely documentary, some more reading and then showering we disappeared off down to dinner in our finest. Tonight is a masquerade ball. Earlier on we had dropped by today’s sales on the shopping level. Mum managed to get a mask (I already had one I bought in Leighton buzzard with Sam before the secret garden party last year) and I bought a scarf, bag and some jewellery. Everything was $10. It would have been rude not to….

 

Tonight there was a chefs parade at dinner. This meant the seemingly endless amount if chefs come out of the galley to parade to rhythmic applause from all the guests all around the restaurant. A few speeches and photos later we polished off our yummy dinner and then went off to the theatre. We watched a performance by the Cunard singers and dancers. It took us on a journey of world dance essentially. They are pretty blooming spectacular these guys. Absolutely stunning dancing, and just stunning in general.

 

Then donning our masks we entered into the masquerade ball which was taking place in the queens room (basically the ball room of the ship) here we mainly watched and admired the dresses and masks of the participants and sipped our (now drink of choice!) mojitos. I did get up to waltz with a few gentlemen, which in a masks is strangely liberating. You literally don’t care who is watching. In fact you quite enjoy it!

 

I bumped into Florence and also the other German friends I’d made, they all looked beautiful. After chatting with them for a while. We retired for the evening. Mainly so I could continue my book to be honest. But I was also pretty shattered.

 

The weather had deteriorated somewhat throughout the day. There is a intense amount of fog outside our balcony. The area we are passing through at the moment, beneath Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, is notorious for its fog. Fortunately this had no affect on the movement of the ship. As always it sits solidly in the ocean barely moving. Every now and then you can feel the motion of the ocean (haha) but I guess after 6 days we’ve also got quite used to any movement anyway. And as with most foggy situations in the ocean, the sea was hardly moving. Quite eerie really…

 

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Ocean facts

So, I think I mentioned I attended a lecture on the ocean on Sunday. Well with the second lecture tomorrow I thought I could share with you a few things I learnt yesterday…

 

So here it goes….

 

1. 71% of the world is ocean

 

2. The biggest mammal in the world is a blue whale. After banning whale hunting in some parts of the world the blue whale has now increased in population from less than 1000 to around 5000. Which is good news. Think it would be on my bucket list to see one!!

 

3. Average depth of the ocean is 3720 metres

 

4. Deepest point is the Mariana trench which is 11033 metres deep (sheesh!) and is in the western pacific.

 

5. 97% of our planets water is contained in the ocean

 

6. 90% of the worlds trade is carried by ships

 

7. 80% of pollution in the worlds oceans comes from land based activities.

 

8. The deepest ocean trench is over one mile deeper than Mount Everest is high.

 

9. Coral reefs reside in less than 0.5% of the ocean. However 90% of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on them.

 

10. The country with the longest coastline is Canada

 

That is all for now!!