Survey time for 'Lady of the Lake'

Photo by James BeechReal Journeys Queenstown operations manager Luke Taylor stands yesterday in the sweltering engine room of TSS Earnslaw, which will be inspected for preventive maintenance during the annual survey of the steamship from next month.

After the last day of tourism operations for the season on May 11, the 329 gross tonne ''Lady of the Lake'' will be towed out of Lake Wakatipu on to the Kelvin Heights slipway on May 13 to give Real Journeys engineers and contractors access to all areas of the vessel, now in her 102nd year.

A modern Real Journeys cruise boat will take passengers across the lake to the Walter Peak High Country Farm during the nine weeks of work.

Mr Taylor said the tourism operator made ''a significant yearly investment'' to keep Earnslaw shipshape for public use. This year's survey has a head start thanks to last year's extended survey, meaning the boat will be back in operation sooner than usual, on July 12.