Cruise of Doubtful Sound. Today was a lazy start for the day, we had no rush as we were due to start our cruise at midday. A slow shower, a quiet breakfast, no rush as there is not much else to do at Manapouri. Thankfully today it was not raining, the sun shone amongst the clouds. We arrived at the car park and checked in for our cruise arriving before most other people. Bought a sandwich to sustain us until tea time.
Just before midday the previous day’s cruise arrived back. The not very happy looking passengers got off. They almost certainly had a miserable first day. Apparently, it rains 1.5 meters in Manapouri and 8 meters in Doubtful Sound. So if yesterday was wet for us, it must have been torrential for them. At least they saw sun on their morning cruise.
Soon we were whisked away across Manapouri lake to the far end of the West Arm next to the power station. Disgorged into a visitor centre with some information about the power station. A short wait and then on to a couple of coaches. The drive to Doubtful Sound was on a dirt road that took us up a hill, over a pass and then down to the actual Sound, about 200 meters below Lake Manapouri. The road was built back in 1963 the most expensive New Zealand, built at a cost of 2 dollars a centimetre and 2 years to build instead of the estimated 1 year.
We stopped at various places to look at the Sound, several waterfalls and places where the rivers had decided to change direction. We saw several slips where the trees above, which are basically only rooted is moss on top of the bare rock surface, had slipped away taking out the trees below. These scars start as bare rock, then moss, followed by other small plants take root and then trees.
Near to the boat we stopped, to be transferred to another coach for the rest of the journey. A bridge was out, and we had to file across a small pedestrian bridge, one at a time, to board the next bus for the rest of the journey.
Soon boarded and briefed we set off down the Sound on the boat. We lugged our luggage to the cabin and admired the scenery around us. Our first stop was in Crooked Arm where we had admired some waterfalls. Here we divided into groups who went kayaking or on the motor boats. Rosemary and I chose the motor boat where we went near to shore and were shown the different trees etc.
Back to the boat then then a quick swim in the Sound to wash myself. The surface water in the sound is not at all salty as it floats on top of the saline water below. The temperature of the water was 16.5C, a little breathtaking.
Soon it was tea time, then it was a soup meal. The weather was now cloudy but relatively calm. We went out in to the Tasman Sea and around the Nee Islets where there were New Zealand Fur Seals basking and swimming. Prior this an Albatross was flying over the sea making itself available for photographs. It was rather dark, so the ISO 256000 photos will never look great.
The sun did its thing and sunk below the horizon unseen, but at least there was a lovely glow in the sky for us.
Supper time now, and a huge buffet supper along with some pricy wine. On the protein side, I managed some roast beef, roast lamb and smoked salmon and green lipped mussels.
Went to bed with some stars shining in the sky.