Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Victorian Voyage to a Sheep Shearing

Aboard theTSS Earnslaw
This morning we sailed aboard the coal-fired vintage steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station.  The Earnslaw, locally known as the Lady of the Lake, was build in 1912 and is the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel in the Southern Hemisphere.  Her steam engines could be seen from an open viewing area on the second deck where they were kept running on one ton of coal an hour.  We’re pretty sure that was clean coal, though.  There was a definite air of the Victorian period aboard.  Live music was provided by a female pianist in proper attire, the coal engine was being fed manually, and the captain was in full uniform regalia.  I just needed my bustle to feel complete.  Our destination was the Walter Peak High Country Farm across Lake Wakatipu for lunch, sheep shearing and sheep herding.  This presentation was very commercial with about 200 adults and 2,000,000,000,000 kindergarteners watching the shearing on stage in a half-shell.  The dog herding was held outside.  But was only about a 3 minute demonstration of herding 5 sheep into a small pen.  Our look at herding in Ireland was so much richer and in-depth with only about 15 of us watching across a fence as the dogs performed various tasks for about 30 minutes.  The farmer stood with us explaining each whistle, finger snap and call for the dogs.  

Our afternoon was free, which we relished.  Free that is until the fire alarm forced us to vacate the hotel.  We were allowed back inside after about 30 minutes with no explanation.  Pictures are at flickr.