Thursday, February 02, 2017

Doubtful Sound

     Our tour of Doubtful Sound starts with a morning pick up at our motel and 30 min. bus ride to Manapouri, where we board a ferry taking us across Lake Manapouri. This lake is often described as the loveliest lake in NZ with a shoreline of 157 km covered by lush rainforest. Traversing the lake lengthwise takes about an hour. We then board another bus which takes us across the Wilmot Pass which an hour later opens up to a breathtaking sight, Deep Cove of Doubtful Sound. 
     This is the deepest and second longest of the fjords at 40 km, completely untouched. In a period of 3 hours, we traverse the fjord with its lush cliffsides and ribbon waterfalls, coves and islands out to the Tasman Sea. Along the way, we are treated to views of seals sunning on large rocks, dolphins swimming in the distant cove, seabirds soaring in the misty skies and a small group of kayakers along the shore. It is a magical place, so pristine and impenetrable. We are fortunate to have cloudy but dry skies, "about as good as it gets" says the announcer. The boat has several decks, covered and sheltered or open and blustery. Most of the ride is calm except at the mouth of the Tasman where swells rock the boat and waves crash against the rocks.
     As we head back to port, a light rain begins to fall and by the time we arrive, turns into a downpour. The dark clouds and rain change the mood of the area and we relish the chance to see this dramatic shift. It is a reminderof the power of the seas and wind, and how treacherous being in watercraft can be when the weather turns. 
     We prepare to leave the fjordlands after so many wonderful adventures. We will not be sad to leave the sandflies, which look like gnats but bite like chiggers!


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