Captain

Captains Log

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Marlborough Sounds Scallop Closure

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has decided for sustainability reasons to close part of the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA7), which covers the top and northwest coast of the South Island, for the coming season.

The measures will prohibit commercial and recreational fishing for scallops in all of the Marlborough Sounds and part of Eastern Tasman Bay for the coming season, ending on 14 February 2017.

“This decision follows the latest scientific survey in 2015 which shows a continued and significant decline in the fishery, despite commercial catch reductions over the past three seasons,” says Mr Guy

“The strong message from the scientific evidence, as well as public submissions is the need to take the next step and close parts of the fishery to let it recover.

“These closures will rest the beds, allowing mature scallops to spawn uninterrupted and juvenile scallops to grow.

As disappointing as this is, we understand the need to look after this resource, however we did think that there were other options that were not investigated within the short time frame in which they made their decision. So for the near future there will be no scalloping in the Marlborough Sounds.

Let’s hope this method works and we can continue to provide this option in our 2017/18 Marlborough Sounds Cruise season.

Icon-Wheel  We’ve been to Stewart Island and are now in FIORDLAND - May 2016

Captain Brian Appleby and the crew had a safe and enjoyable cruise down the coast to Stewart Island; Our 5 night scenic cruise was enjoyed by all.  The weather was a bit wet but the passengers still had a chance to walk and still catch some yummy famous blue cod on the Stewart Island waters. 

Our first 6 Night Cruise in Fiordland is starting next week, Brian has sent emails telling us how beautiful it is in Fiordland and great to be back there.  

 

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travelling is an exciting and enjoyable event in everyone’s life.  Cruising on Affinity creates memories which you will cherish all through your life.  Who wouldn't want to go on a cruise amongst the beautiful scenery, history, walks, fishing and wildlife, discovery and adventure - far away from hectic life!  Well, how much you love to travel you should not undermine the risks that it may entail. Yes, travelling does have its own risks and probabilities of unforeseen circumstances.

We at Affinity Cruises always advise our clients to have travel insurance that will take care of any unforeseen situation during travelling. Situations like becoming sick in transit, delay of flights leading to financial loss. The best way to ensure that you can manage such an expected situation is to buy a travel insurance plan with right coverage.

If you would like to join us on a cruise email: sales@affinitycruises.co.nz or click here to view cruise options

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It’s been a long hot summer and it’s not over yet!!!

This summer is what I remember summers being all about when I was a kid. Long hot days at the beach, swimming all day long and bbq’s galore and yes boating……. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Well this summer in the Marlborough Sounds the weather has been and still is FANTASTIC!  Christmas day was 32° in the backyard and we have regularly been in the high 20’s since.

I was very lucky to spend time out in the Marlborough Sounds over the Christmas holidays and we have had some of the best fishing in years with gurnard, blue cod and snapper all featuring on the bbq and kahawai in the fish smoker – awe bliss!

The snorkelling was fun, especially when the kids took turns towing me with the kayak around the rocky point so I could see the variety of marine life; sprats, little kahawai, rock cod, sting rays, star fish, paua and kina all fairly close to shore.

We are so lucky to have access to this wonderful playground and as I tell my children, there are not many places that you can do this so treasure the experience, look after the environment and appreciate the opportunities as they come.

If you would like to join us in this wonderful playground email: sales@affinitycruises.co.nz or click here to view cruise options

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Scallop Cruise – 100% enjoyable

The scallop season is over for now and was100% enjoyable, our passengers ate scallops everyday, they enjoyed dredging, opening scallops and of course eating them – there is nothing better than eating scallops caught by your own hands.  Our passengers even took scallops home – yum yum! (but if you don’t want to take them home we will surely look after them for you)

Our next Scallop Cruise is in November, which we already have bookings for – so don’t hesitate, contact us today to have a 100% enjoyable cruise.

If you would like to join our Scallop Cruise on November 4, 2016 email: sales@affinitycruises.co.nz or click here for info flyer

WE ALSO SCALLOP DREDGE ON ALL OUR CRUISES UP TO 14 FEBRUARY 2017 - click here to view cruise options

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Fiordland

It was 9:00 one morning (-3 degrees!) and we were on our way to Te Anau.

To get to Te Anau we had to do a boring 3 day drive. We stayed in ashburton the first night then Balclutha the second followed by Te Anau before before heading to Manapouri to catch a boat over the lake.

When we reached the shore we boarded a bus that we caught over the wilmot pass in to deep cove where we boarded the boat Affinity before heading into precipice cove for the night.(The reason we went to Fiordland was to visit my grandfather who works there.) The next day not a lot happened. We headed down the coast to breaksea sound where we stayed the night. When we awoke the next day it was raining so we waited and waited until it finally cleared up. By now it was 1 o'clock and we were ready to go fishing!

I caught lots of sea perch, 7 gill sharks, parrot fish and sand sharks but that wasn't all! I also caught a 55cm Blue cod and lots of 40cm Blue cod which you wouldn't be aloud to keep in Marlborough.All of the 7 gill sharks snapped our trace and some of them were 2.5m long! We stayed up and watched the crusaders vs highlanders game before going to bed at around 9:30. It was more the same for the next couple of days fishing and slowly cruising around the bays of beautiful Fiordland.

When my breathtaking experience was almost over we boarded the helicopter and left the beautiful Break sea sound heading back to Te Anau.

When we got back to Te Anau we went to see the glow worm caves. We headed out to the caves in a big boat across lake Te Anau and when we got there we walked along the track and through the tunnels to the small boat that we got pulled along in with all of the lights of. We saw heaps of worms!

Soon after that we were off home again. I couldn't recommend going to Fiordland enough!

By Ethan Maitland 

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Fiordland season starting soon!

Imagine beautiful crisp mornings, clear blue skies, the odd rainy day that create dramatic waterfalls. Also an abundance of marine life and soaring seabirds amongst unforgettable scenery along with home-style meals, a warm and comfortable boat and friendly experienced crew; that’s what you get on an Affinity Fiordland Cruise.
It is in one of the most remote places in the South Island and features high up the list on most peoples’ BUCKET lists.  It is also an area that requires time to explore the vast arms and sounds and with options of four, six and ten nights there will be a cruise to suit you.

We still have cabins available on all our cruises, check out our specials on our home page  click here to view or phone 0800 862 334 

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Stewart Island then onto to Fiordland...

Time has gone so fast… Stewart Island cruise starts on May 15 for 5 nights before we head to Fiordland.

Stewart Island cruises are always rewarding for all and I am sure all the stories and memories will be told.

We still have cabins available on all our cruises, check out our specials on our home page  click here to view or phone 0800 862 334 

 
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Where is New Zealand’s BEST cruising location? Marlborough Sounds? Stewart Island?? or Fiordland???

My 12 year old daughter asked me “what has been your favorite cruise so far mummy?” so that got me thinking.

I have been very lucky working for Affinity Cruises and over the years I have been on a variety of cruises; I’ve cruising in the Marlborough Sounds 5 times, Fiordland 3 times and Stewart Island once and each one has been different to all the others.

Having just completed half of Affinity’s '10 Night Ultimate New Zealand Cruise' – Golden Bay, Abel Tasman and the Marlborough Sounds’ (I had to get back to the office after 5 days away as I had meetings to attend as well as the paper work piling up on my desk!) I could easily say that this was my favorite cruise, especially getting to experience the sunrise while we were doing a shore excursion along Fairwell Spit  (If you ever get the opportunity to do this I highly recommend it) as well as the golden beaches and great walks of the Abel Tasman National Park.

But then again cruising in Fiordland, being a ‘World Heritage Park’ is pretty special to, especially the year that I went with my husband and children (then aged 7 and 6). To be able to show the kids this truly remarkable place just blew them away especially when my 7 year old son caught what he described as a “wholly, moly it’s the biggest fish ever” – grouper.  And to be able to take the children to places that are so remote that not many people will ever get to see and for them to learn the history of New Zealand’s early conservationists as well as Captain Cooks journeys to this most significant place in New Zealand’s history.

Or Stewart Island with its golden sandy beaches, fantastic birdlife and really good fishing or is it all three of these locations as they all offer something different……… YES it has to be all three locations!!!

Every cruise I have done on-board Affinity I have honestly thought “I’m so lucky to be able to see such incredible scenery in such remarkably different locations and to share these adventures with other New Zealanders is FANTASTIC!”
Vicky Maitland 

 
Icon-Wheel Happy New Year - Welcome to 2016Scallop-Opening-in-Marlborough-Sounds

Our Christmas Functions for 2015 were a great success - the companies we had on board were all fun to be with and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and to top it all off the weather was just as good.

New Year's Cruise
Our New Year's Cruise was full and fun, Brian and Gael really enjoyed their company - "The outlook and determination of our passengers was very inspiring".

We are now looking forward to the rest of the season in the Marlborough Sounds.

Click here to view our up and coming cruises

I think the scallop is more hungry than Gael!!

 
   
 
Icon-Wheel  Affinity-out-of-water--Picton--Marlborough-Sounds

  Affinity has been out of the water
all week to have her bottom cleaned and re-painted along with a few repairs.  She looks   BIG out of the water.  All going to plan she's in the water on Monday ready for our summer season.

 
 
Icon-Wheel  A Testimonial - from a very happy passenger who went on our 10 Night Southern Discovery Cruise - Aug 2013

Just to say a big thank you to Chris, Gail and especially Brian for a most wonderful time on the Affinity.
So much enjoyed our time. Good captain, crew and companions. The southern fiords were even better than I had expected.
Having seen the Norwegian fjords, the NZ fiords are just as magnificent but also very different. For one thing the colour and type of the vegetation is quite different.
Secondly, in Norway the fjords are populated in many places with fishing ports, small farms, hotels, ferries, roads, camping grounds, power lines etc etc - and of course people. They have been lived in and used for hundreds or possibly thousands of years.
The NZ fiords are so isolated and largely untouched by humans apart from a few small coastal pockets. That was what made them so special - probably the same now as they were hundreds and even thousands of years ago. It was a real pleasure and a privilege to experience all this. Also to visit Puysegur Point Lighthouse where my uncle and aunt (plus 2 small kids - my cousins) were so many years ago.
The helicopter flight back to civilisation was the icing on the cake.

Thank you
Sachi & Jon Torgersen
 
Icon-Wheel  Brooke Maitlands (Vicky's daughter) first ever trip to Fiordland with Skipper and Nanny - July 2013

I went on affinity to see fabulous fiordland!!!!
We had a wonderful flight in on a helicopter, I saw a heap of extraordinary dolphins, I went on a native bush walk, saw wonderful sights of gushing waterfalls!
I learnt about Richard Henry and Captain James Cook and I saw heaps of bays and coves.
On Affinity I slept in a nice warm cabin and had delicious meals.
My favourite part was going ashore in the tender (dingy) and going for bush walks because the bush in Fiordland has never been cut down so it is really, really old.
Fiordland is cool.By Brooke Maitland (age 9)
 
   
 
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 Diane's take on the first part of the Ultimate New Zealand Cruise - March 2013 

I drove over the hill from Blenheim early in the morning to meet the passengers flying in from Wellington, I couldn't do the full cruise but wanted to experience the new and exciting additions to our Ultimate New Zealand Cruise, the passengers said it was an absolutely, magnificent scenic flight to Golden Bay.
We then went to the Anatoki Salmon Farm ‘it rained', but the weather did not put us off, we had a great time fishing and catching salmon. We had a wonderful lunch at the salmon farm with freshly smoked salmon, fresh bread and yummy condiments to go with them, Brian also bought along some beautiful Marlborough wine to have with our lunch.
After our time at Anatoki we then went onto Heathcroft Studio where artist Geoffrey Heath and his wife Jenny welcomed us and Geoff explained his passion and the process he goes through to create his beautiful paintings he displays in his studio, it was great catching up with Geoff and Jenny after 10 years.

We arrived back at Affinity where we were greeted by a platter of nibbles and a short time after we had a delicious roast chicken dinner , an absolute fun packed day to start the 10 Night New Zealand Ultimate Cruise.

The next morning we were collected at approximately 0815 and headed for Farewell Spit it was slightly cloudy, however as we got closer it became blue skies and a beautiful warm day. As we first went onto the spit we went to Fossil Point, it was interesting looking at the fossils. Driving further along ‘The Spit' it was breathtaking, we saw amazing currents from the West Coast which builds the spit, we also saw a couple of seals relaxing in the warm sun, one of them saw us and it was like he lifted his flipper and said "right I'm off!!" Toward the end of the spit we also got to sight the odd migrant wader bird from Alaska and the only gannet colony on sand in New Zealand, that was truly amazing, from there we went up and between a gap in the sand dunes to the light house reserve, we stopped at the lighthouse keepers cottage where we had, tea, coffee and a delicious lunch, we spent a good hour having lunch, walking around and taking amazing photos of the area, we also saw and photographed mounted whale bones beside the lighthouse keepers cottage.

We all boarded the coach after our tour of Farewell Spit; we went to a ‘Look Out' to look along the coast to see Cape Farewell, fantastic photography!! We also had the privilege of walking over the sand dunes - back in the coach and we were off to Pupu Springs, people got off the coach and walked to the springs where they saw crystal clear water rising from the ground and runs down a river, which is one of the purist waters in the world and totally protected now.

After a wonderful day with everyone we were welcomed back on board Affinity with nibbles and a delicious dinner with beautiful apple sponge for desert.

It was a wonderful 2 days with great company, where we saw and experienced New Zealand's early history with a lot of laughs along the way.

The next morning I was up early, said goodbye to Brian, Gael and the passengers and watched as Affinity went out of Tarakohe through the gap (it is a man-made wall) starting their amazing cruise in the Top of the South, then I took the long drive home to Blenheim.

Walking on the sand dunes at Farewell Spit  Whale skeleton at Farewell Spit  Cape Farewell Ultimate New Zealand Cruise  Pupu Springs, Golden Bay  Affinity leaving Terakohe, Golden Bay

 
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 Vicky's Report on the Walk and Cruise in the Marlborough Sounds

Brooke walking the Queen Charlotte Track   Vicky walking the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds   Walk and Cruise Group waiting for the Affinity in the Marlborough Sounds   Friendly weka with Brooke Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds    

I had the opportunity recently to join one of Affinity's Cruises along with my 8 year old daughter so I chose the Cruise and Walk Cruise.              
 
My first thought was "could my 8 year old manage the walk" and when I mentioned this to my
husband he cracked up laughing and said "well if you can, she can" - as I haven't done a lot of exercise over the past few months
being winter and all, I was excited but a little apprehensive .
Will I be fit enough? Will I be able to keep up with everyone? And will my daughter behave!
Well I didn't have to worry about any of that as it turned out. We all walked at a pace that suited us, there was no pressure to be quick or slow and yes Brooke, my daughter was very well behaved.

The crew welcomed us all onboard at Picton - we had all come from different parts of New Zealand. There were 3 lots of mother and daughters, a set of sisters and a gentleman by himself (lucky guy!).
As we departed Brian the Captain told us that we would be cruising to the outer Queen Charlotte Sound for our first section of the Queen Charlotte Track but would stop on the way for lunch and to dredge for some scallops - I was already looking forward to eating them!

As we pulled up at the Ship Cove wharf we were all keen to hit the track - here we go a nice 5 hour (15km) walk to Furneaux Lodge, I was already looking forward to a beer at the lodge.
The scenery was great with views to die for and well worth the blisters I ended up with (I had the wrong socks on they were too thin). Brooke was delighted with the cheeky wekas that followed us along the track and trying to pick at her shoe laces each time we stopped.

We took our time as we stopped for photos and marveled at the towering native trees but I must admit closer to the end I was starting to think "are we there yet?" just as we came to a sign that said Furneaux Lodge 25 minutes, yes 25 minutes to a well-deserved cold beer for me and a ginger beer for Brooke.

After a welcoming hot shower followed by a delicious meal of fresh Marlborough Sounds salmon and veges and then dessert it was time to take Brooke down to the cabin for the night, I wasn't sure who was more tired her or me! It must have been her as she was off to sleep in no time and I followed not long after.

Day 2 arrived with great enthusiasm. After a sound sleep (the beds are very comfy), we were up and ready for another adventure, so after breakfast we went ashore to walk from Furneaux Lodge to Punga Lodge (11.5km). This section of the Queen Charlotte Track is a much easier walk than yesterday's we strolled along through groves of punga's, came across a friendly white donkey and you would believe it but there was even a little trackside stall where you could buy snacks.
As we approached Punga Cove we saw Affinity through the trees - A welcoming sight.
Once back on-board lunch was served then we headed over to Motuara Island - what a wonderful place to visit and real gem in the sounds. There were little blue penguins in nesting boxes, a big fat wood pigeon sitting high in the trees and little robins hoping around on the lower branches.
At the top of the island the Department of Conservation has built a lookout structure that takes you up to the treetops where you get fantastic 360° views.

Once back on-board we headed for our overnight anchorage in the Bay of Many Coves area after cruising past some very elaborate holiday homes.

We awoke to the sound of rain on Day 3 and lying in bed listening to it landing on the deck was peaceful and relaxing. Over breakfast we decided on the days walk, with most of us not so keen on walking the 8 hour section it was then decided that the 4 hour section was the better option, Torea Bay to Mistletoe Bay (7.5km). As we cruised towards Torea all I could think was "we're bloody mad".

Well I decided the best option for me and my daughter was to stay on Affinity and play board games and read our books, one of the other passengers also decided to do the same.

As it turned out the rain eased and they had wonderful views of both the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds from the top of the track.

Day 4 turned out to be a bit more of a challenge for me as my knee locked up 1 hour in to the walk but this section of the track (Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa, 12.5 km) is quite different from the Ship Cove end. We walked along an old bridle path skirting farm paddocks and then passing through rapidly regenerating forest through to Anakiwa home of Outward Bound as well as many holiday homes.

My overall thoughts of walking the Queen Charlotte Track with Affinity Cruises;
We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country and have such easy access to this walker's paradise and just as well we were walking most days because the food on Affinity is just delicious. And the best thing was, we had the same bed each night, we didn't have to worry about our luggage and the showers are fantastic.

By Vicky Maitland.

If you would like to join our Walk, Cruise and Kayak Cruise, 3-9 January 2013, email:
sales@affinitycruises.co.nz or click here for info flyer

 
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Our North Island Roadshow - Greater than Expected

Captain Brian Appleby and his wife Diane have arrive home from the North Island where they presented in 28 locations - Our 'FREE' Captains Presentation- "New Zealand Cruising on Affinity"

They felt the attendance was low, however the response has been outstanding (greater than expected) we felt that the benefit for the people who attended had a great insight and passion from our Captain Brian Appleby on our unique  cruises.

Brian, Diane and the crew from Affinity Cruises would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended.

Brian is now all refreshed and ready to begin our cruising season in the Marlborough Sounds, we have just completed our first cruise 'Walk and Cruise'.  Vicky and her daughter Brooke went on this cruise ... watch this space! We will have the pleasure of reading the adventures of Vicky and Brooke on the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds. 

 

 
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The big countdown is on for the TRANSIT of VENUS

Affinity is heading to Astronomer's Point, Pickersgill Harbour, Dusky Sound with Professor Ian Morrison onboard to view this once in a lifetime occasion.
Transits of Venus are exceedingly rare, due to that world's tilted orbit: After the 2012 Venus transit, we won't see another until 2117.
Astronomer's Point is the site of a temporary observatory set up by William Wales, of the Board of Longitude, during Captain Cook's second voyage in 1773. The observatory was established to fix the position of New Zealand. On this voyage Cook was testing the accuracy of Larcum Kendall's copy of John Harrison's chronometer H4. As a consequence of the observations made by William Wales at this point New Zealand became the most accurately located place on the globe at that time.

Aamai, our sales lady for Affinity Cruises is on-board for this once in a lifetime opportunity and will be adding her experience here when she returns to the office....watch this space!

Icon-Wheel  Affinity heads south to Stewart Island

The vessel Affinity left Picton on Friday 4th May to head south for the start of our winter cruising season at Stewart Island and then onto Fiordland for June, July and August.

On the way down the east coast of the south island Diane, co-owner of the vessel, put the trawling lines over the aft to see if she could land a tuna and yes she did. On the first day they hauled in a 5kg tuna and then the next day they caught a 8kg tuna. Great work crew, we in the office are looking forward to tuna steaks on the BBQ for lunch when Diane returns to the office.

On Saturday night the crew had the pleasure of a large pod of dolphins riding the bow waves for quite a while, a magnificent sight to see as the phosphorescent waves where glowing with a nearly full moon, “if only they thought to take some photos for us in the office!”

The crew also mentioned that there is a lot of fish life just under the surface as they can see them schooling as the cruise on down the coast and there is also many large seabirds following them – it might have something to do with the tuna they caught.

 
Icon-Wheel Affinity Cruises in the Marlborough Sounds is being featured in a 1 hour program called JOURNEY of the BEST CRUISE on Japanese TV channel BS-TBS at 2100 (9pm) hours on Wednesday 21st March 2012.

The Japanese film crew spent 6 days on-board the vessel Affinity discovering the unique way in which they showcase the Marlborough Sounds.

The film crew follows the passengers when they head ashore most days to discover the variety of flora and fauna that is so rich in this region. They were involved with every aspect of our cruises - fishing, walking, swimming, the history of Captain James Cook, the scrumptious meals and the general day to day life on-board.

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Marlborough Sounds Captain Cook Cruise was a huge SUCCESS!

Captain Brian, Crew and Passengers thoroughly enjoyed John Robson's talks and his passion for Captain Cook "he was truly interesting, had extensive knowledge, and was a very approachable person".

The journey took them to d'Urville Island to view the location and plaque where Captain Cook departed New Zealand shores to cross the Tasman Sea during his first voyage, 31st March 1770 as well as other sites of importance to his visits.

If you don't want to miss out next year give us a call on 0800 862 334 or email sales@affinitycruises.co.nz to register your interest.

 

 
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Janet's Travel Log (Affinity Cruises Office Crew).  August 2011 - Fiordland.

"BIG"!  The word I would use to describe the landscape.  Flying from Te Anau to Luncheon Cove on Anchor Island in Dusky Sound in an R44 Helicopter.  Sunshine, Snow, Rainbow, Flying into Dusky Sound FiordlandMist - BIG!

The size, majesty and grandeur is hard to take in.  We land on the fishermans wharf to waves and welcomes from Affinity.  It was heart warming to be greeted with smiles and waves, and by our first names by passengers we had yet to get acquainted with!  They seem like a very friendly lot.

Skipper Brian, Deckhand Gael and Cook Wendy are busy on board - time for a quick hello.  Gael shows us to our cabin - No 7 and gives us a few pointers on shipboard life.

Brian has decided today we will go to Pigeon Island.  The sound is a maze of islands and waterways - 365 in Dusky alone.  We enjoy freshly made muffins for morning tea on our way to Richard Henry's hangout - Pigeon Island.  What an isolated place for Richard to survive/thrive for so many years.  We saw the remains of the chimney that was in his home and the moss covered punga logs that formed his bird aviary.  A beautiful friendly Robin and another bird kept us company on our exploration across the island.

Lunch was ready on our return - freshly caught blue cod chowder, scones and bread - hearty, plenty, filling, tasty.

Our afternoon disappeared cruising in and out of some delightful bays - Earshell Cove - the internal area landlocked.  Afternoon tea - more of those delicious muffins and some bikkies.  Followed up by a spot of fishing. 

Tonight we have cruised back into Luncheon Cove, where we began our day.  The boat is tucked up and darkness is falling in Dusky Sound.  Nibbles and a glass of wine, dinner at 7pm and then Brian and Gael work out our plans for tomorrow and fill in today's route on everyones maps.  Wendy asks for porridge orders for breakfast.  After a day at sea everyone is ready for bed by 10pm.

Excerpt from Travel Log - Day 1 of 5 Days in Fiordland

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Vicky's Travel Log (Affinity Cruises Office Manager).  May 2011 - Stewart Island.

Vicky hugging a huge tree at Ulva Island, Stewart Island

Well it's taken me a few years to finally experience one of our cruises at Stewart Island, but I finally got there and had a great time!  As usual it was fairly hectic in the week leading up to my cruise departure - getting everything up to date in the office, and organising the kids to stay with Nanny while Kevin and I were away on the cruise.  Packing was a mission for me!  I am known to take far too much stuff even when I'm just going away for a weekend.  After three repacks and a change of suitcase to a slightly bigger one I was ready for my adventure.  We arrived at Invercargill airport in the dark, but the twinkling night lights showed us just how big the city was.  The airport shuttle was there to pick us up and we were at the Kelvin Hotel soon after for a restful night's sleep.

We talked to a few of the locals about heading over to Stewart Island via the ferry and a few of them laughed and said "hope you have a smooth sailing" - it made me feel rather apprehensive (this was a good thing as I now know how some of our passengers might feel).  So the night before the ferry I took a sea sick tablet - just in case!  And guess what?  It was a little bit bumpy but we arrived at the island and I felt fine. 

The Stewart Island Experience staff are very knowledgeable and friendly - from the coach driver who picked us up for the ferry, to the crew on board the ferry, and the staff on Stewart Island.  

Kevin and I joined Affinity two days into the cruise due to our work commitments, so we arrived just in time to meet up with the rest of our passengers as they set off on the Stewart Island Bays & Village Tour.  This was the first time we had included the tour with our cruise and I felt it was a wonderful addition which gave us all a great insight into the lives of the 400 permanent residents that live on the island.  We will continue to include this tour in the future.

We spent the next four days walking on well maintained tracks of various distances that took us through regenerating forests, along pristine beaches, over rivers and along quiet roads.  The guided tour of Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary was enchanting.  I was waiting for magical creatures to jump out from behind one of the amazingly large old trees.  One of the beaches we visited had sand the colour of sugar graded in layers up the beach towards the treeline - raw sugar, followed by normal sugar, followed by icing sugar - it was untouched and dramatic.  We also had the opportunity to go fishing and I was delighted to catch some good sized blue cod.

The weather was fairly settled while we were there with only light showers at the end of one of the walks.  The temperature was mild -  not cold at all; we were in T Shirts and jeans for most of the time which surprised me.

All too soon the cruise was over.  The crew have a passion for what they are doing and the areas they visit, and it really shows through.  The food that comes out of the small galley is amazing and the vessel Affinity is warm, homely and comfortable.  I expect the best from our vessel and crew and I am pleased to be able to say I am delighted they are delivering!  I am proud to be working for Affinity Cruises to be able to make this very special experience available to others.

I look forward to my next cruise which will be in the Marlborough Sounds.

 
Icon-Wheel November 2010 - Photo Opportunity in our National Treasure.

After the great success of our first themed cruise in Fiordland this year we have decided in consultation with our past clients to do a few more ‘themed cruises'.

Our first themed cruise for the 2011 season is going to be a 'Photography Cruise' in the Marlborough Sounds.

We have teamed up with West Coast Freelance Photographer Nicki Mora (www.nickimoraphotography.com) to provide a cruising experience not to be forgotten in one of our National Treasures - The Marlborough Sounds.

Nicki will share with you her passion for photography, teaching you how to use your own camera to get those ‘picture perfect' photos you have always wanted whilst cruising for 5 nights/6 days in arguably one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world.

Nicki will explain how to use your ‘run of the mill' camera and all those camera settings that have always been a mystery and in the evenings she will talk you through how to enhance your photos with the aid of a computer. Departing 12 January 2011 and returning 17 January 2011.

For more details on this exciting cruise email sales@affinitycruises.co.nz or phone 0800 862 334.

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July 2010 - Report about our Astronomer's Cruise.

The Skipper of Affinity Captain Brian Appleby says that Ian Morison our onboard astronomer would be the most knowledgeable man that he has ever had the good fortune to meet.  We had very clear skies for 5 of the 6 nights and most mornings as well (that's the beauty of cruising in Fiordland during the winter months).

One of the passengers mentioned that he thought he may not know enough about stars and things and nearly didn't come, but he found the talks to be on a level that he understood and was thrilled that he joined the cruise.

Ian commented that the sky was as clear as any that he had ever seen in the southern hemisphere.  He saw things that he had seldom seen before.  The cruise was a great experience, and very enjoyable for both himself and his wife.

Also a keen photographer, Ian really enjoyed the scenery. He gave many of us onboard helpful hints on using our cameras; a huge bonus in such a beautiful place as Fiordland.

All the passengers really enjoyed having someone on board with so much knowledge of astronomy and when Ian presented all of us with a CD of the talks that he gave, including the photos that he used in his presentations, everyone was delighted as it is something that they can show their friends for years to come of their wonderful experience with the stars.

Ian also caught himself a large blue cod, what a bonus!

A highlight for our crew was when Ian took a photo from the top deck and then transferred the photo onto his computer. The photo was truly amazing and will stay in Gael's mind (our decky) for ever.  Gael thought that the week was a very powerful experience for everyone and she now has a new hobby of star grazing.

Affinity's Astronomers Cruise - July 2010.  

 

 



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