Thursday 26 December 2019

SIlver Muse cruise, Day Three - Boxing on around Oban

With thanks to Silversea for this cruise
Today we opened the curtains onto Oban, the one and only town on Stewart Island, and home to no more than 300 souls. It was my third visit here - which is pretty good going, because far more Kiwis have been to Australia than to New Zealand's third island - so, having done all the usual things, I arranged the use of an e-bike. The Stewart Island Electric Bike Hire place was doing good business, and a bunch of us got our instruction together. 
It was all very clearly explained, and I paid attention, but once aboard my nifty bike, skimming off past the South Sea Hotel and along the shore of Half Moon Bay, I was all about the power button and completely forgot about changing gears. It comes of being a Christchurch girl - flat city, spent my childhood on a bike with no gears - but I really should get over that. It meant that when I got to the end of the tar seal, and was confronted by steep hills and loose gravel, there was a lot more skidding and struggling than there should have been, and several times I ended up ignominiously - and sweatily - pushing the bike up to the top. Nitwit.
But the scenery was lovely: little bays of golden sand streaked with black ironsand trickles, picturesquely battered old fishing boats lying on their sides, bush and gum trees full of noisy birds, cute - and also seriously impressive - baches cribs, a historic stone cottage with a wonderfully neat sheep-grazed lawn around it, and rows of colourful boatsheds lined up above still, reflective water. 
Once I'd got the hang of the shingled roads, I really enjoyed whirring along, boosting my power with the press of a button, and gliding up the hills. I took Back Road and got right away from the not-teeming throngs in Oban, saw kiwi signs but no kiwi, and reached the ends of a good number of no-exit roads. There is a total of only about 27km of road on the island, all of it in and around Oban, and I reckon I rode more than half of that. All the rest of the island is just bush, beaches, peaks and walking tracks, and it would be great to do the Rakiura Track one day. It takes 3 days, and daytime spottings of kiwi are practically guaranteed.
So, after about four hours of mostly effortless pedalling, that was Stewart Island done, again, and I headed back to the ship for today's session of Team Trivia. We had two more players in our team, but still scored only 14/20, and were unplaced. The shame! Though we were all emphatic that of course it's about fun, not winning. Questions included the river that runs through Madrid; number of dots on two dice; Che Guevara's real first name; and which fingernail grows fastest.

For dinner we went to the Grill on the pool deck for yet another delicious Hot Rocks experience, and (unlike yesterday's lobster) it didn't disappoint. Beautifully tender and flavourful, and fun to cook ourselves on the sizzling square of lava in front of our bibbed chests. It was an extra bonus that the staff were so relaxed and helpful, and didn't object at all to our request to take our glasses of port/cognac back to our cabin suite to have for dessert with the Christmas cake we'd brought from home. "We know where you live!" the waiter said with a smile.

So that was nice. And the show tonight was a pleasing tenor doing British pop, Beatles to Adele, which rounded off the day nicely.


the queen said...

Those trivia questions are hard. I would guess the Spanish River, 26 if I count forward, 21 if I count backward, 21 if I count again, then Joaquin and the index finger.

Pamela Wade said...

Agreed! No, it's Manzanares; 42, (two dice), Ernesto, and yes, index (which led to much rude gesturing at answer time). We got 2/4 there.

the queen said...

And I told myself to double it every time I counted.


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