Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 1, 2008 - Fiordland

Today we drove up to Milford Sound in the pouring rain, passing literally thousands of waterfalls. Most were narrow cascades, while a few dozen were torrents of raging water.
Along the way we stopped to check out some rapids and a really cool spot called the Chasm where the relentless action of water and hard pebbles have worn holes through softer rocks.
Even though visibility was terrible, we figured that we couldn't drive all the way up here and not get out on the sound. Kayaking was completely out of the question in this weather, so we lined up with all the other tourists and climbed aboard a tour boat.

We saw lots and lots of waterfalls
and a few fur seals
but none of the dozen or so other birds and marine animals advertised on the hull of the tour boat.

Twice the captain put the nose of the boat under waterfalls so that anyone who wanted to could stand on the bow and feel the power of the waterfall. Sten lined up on the bow with the rest of the fools. Having spent quite enough of my life cold and wet on boats, I stayed in the bridge to watch him get doused. As he steered the boat under the falls, the captain muttered under his breath "Best part of my day, mate."
Another boat angling under the falls.

All in all, the drive up to the sound and back to Te Anau was more scenic and interesting than the boat trip. I'm sure that on a day when it isn't pouring rain, the 2.5 hour boat trip would have been worth the $75 pp fee. But for us, in the pouring rain, it just wasn't.

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