As I journeyed out on the deck this morning I was disappointed with the overcast skies over Auckland New Zealand. I was really hoping for better weather. I had arranged to go ashore with my friends Mike & Janet to explore Auckland and the surrounding area for a while. Our first excitement of the day came as we were getting off the ship when Janet was apprehended by the beagle that would sniff people and bags for bringing in illegal fruits, vegetables and other assorted food products into New Zealand. It turned out she had a very small piece of lavender in one of her pockets….. Mike & I were horrified, of course, that we would be spending the day with a known criminal….. Anyway, we were off on our adventure for the day. First stop was Kelly Tarltons, a combination Antarctic encounter and aquarium. First we checked out a replica of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut. It was pretty amazing. Then it was off to see the penguins…. a definite highlight! Then we went thru an underwater tube with sharks, stingrays and all other sorts of fish swimming around. It was almost like snorkeling. We spent a couple of hours there and then it was back into town. Next, we hopped on a ferry and headed over to Devonport where we climbed Mt Victoria to get a good scenic view of Auckland across the water. There was even an old anti-aircraft gun emplacement on top of the hill. We spent some time in the town of Devonport and waited out the rains at a local café. I even found some pretty cool rides to go on in the town, pretty nice. We headed back to the ship as the day’s weather was a bit of a damper…. Oh, for better weather soon. Tomorrow we will be anchoring at the Bay of Islands. I hope the turns out OK…..