New Zealand Trip


Post Trip Notes

At this point, I've been back a week from my trip to New Zealand and I've begun to settle into the normal rhythms of my life quite nicely.   Sharon was able to come to the airport and pick me up on the day I arrived.  That was the first day she was able to take the patch off her right eye. 

The main news since I've returned has been, of course, Sharon's health.   I'm very happy to say that the attack of Bell's Palsy, which she suffered in my absence, has abated a great deal.  The external symptoms, i.e. the facial paralysis on the right side, have gone leaving only a bit of numbness around her right eyelid and a some residual affects to the hearing in her right ear.   Internally, she's still physically weak and may be for some time.   The virus which triggers Bell's Palsy may take some time to clear from her system.   But, each day she feels stronger and she's on the mend.

Sharon had a very hard time of it while I was gone.   The area we live in suffered some of the worst weather in a decade.   There was a large wind storm, then there were three of fours sessions of snow and, finally, an ice storm, the likes of which haven't been seen in this area in decades.  To top all that off, there were power failures and our computer systems went down and left her without E-mail or Internet access for a month.

Before I left, we tried to anticipate and prepare for whatever might happen in my absence but it just goes to show how unpredictable and capricious life is.  In spite of our best efforts, things went badly in my absence which put a terrific stress on her and probably precipitated the attack of Bell's Palsy..

As for my trip, the ship and New Zealand ... the images now, a week after my return, are burning brightly in my memory.   People, places and things float through my thoughts during the day like screen savers.  It seems odd to remember a scene someplace in New Zealand and to then realize that this place you are seeing like a photograph is very nearly on the other side of the planet.   It is odd too to think that the ship which was such a part of my daily life for nearly two months has gone off on its rounds from California to New Zealand and Australia again without me.   Out there, somewhere, on the great Pacific Ocean they are painting and standing watches and sitting down three times a day to eat in the officer's mess and I'm not there.  

There are a number of people I met on my trip with whom I am going to try to correspond with by E-mail.  Indeed, I've already been in touch with a few of them in the last week.  Emil Buca, the Romanian First Officer of the Direct Tui, Gus Hubbard, a math teacher from the Palmerston area in New Zealand, the Franks family from near Wellington and numerous others come to mind.  All of you made my trip a wonderful experience and I hope that someday I may be able to return the favor.

I'm going to close this journal now, finally, and turn my attention to whatever's next in my life.   I hope you've enjoyed reading this.  

If New Zealand interests you, I encourage you to visit.   It is hard to imagine friendlier people or a more beautiful country that New Zealand.   

And, if the sea journey caught your imagination, search the Internet for "Freighter Cruises" and half a dozen web sites will appear for companies which can arrange trips for you.   I arranged my trip through Maris Freighter Cruises (   Captain Ranko Zunic and his wife, Maja, at Maris were very helpful and professional.   I can highly recommend them.

Finally, if you want a permanent copy of this log, information on how to obtain one can be found here.

Best wishes,

Dennis Gallagher
Monroe, Washington, USA
11 February 2004