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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Glacier Experience

Dear Family and Friends,

One of the highlights we were looking forward to on this trip to New Zealand was taking a helicopter ride to one of the glaciers.  Our friends, Larry and Karen, shared with us what a unique experience this was for them.

When we got to Fox Glacier it was very overcast.  It was not a good day for such an adventure because the clouds were thick and low.

We forged on to the Franz Josef Glacier.  Again it was low clouds very overcast.  We decided to stay the night in the town and see what tomorrow might bring in the way of weather.

That evening, on the way to dinner, we stopped at a tour agent for seeing the glacier by air. I asked him for straight talk, not just tourist propaganda.   He admitted to us that it would not be near as nice as the pictures they had displayed on the wall.  The pictures depicted beautiful white snow and blue green glaciers.

He explained that this has been an extremely dry year.  Without moisture to drop fresh snow on the mountain tops, they become dirty from the dust in the wind.  He said it had been five weeks since they had had fresh snow up there.

We thanked him for his candid information.

The next morning the clouds were starting to lift.  We went and viewed the glacier from the ground.

It was quite impressive even if it was a little dirty.

Here is a close up.  You can see a little of the beautiful blue color of the glacial ice.

The water that came from the glacier was crystal clear.  It was a blue green in color.  You can see to the bottom of this lake.  The rocks are beneath the water.

Now a word about the weather.  New Zealand is having a real bad year.  Chuck found this chart in a local newspaper and I photographed it to share with you.

The New Zealand on the left is how the weather is normally regarding rainfall.

The New Zealand in the middle is how the rainfall was last year.  It was a dry year.

The New Zealand on the right is this year.  The north island is in drought conditions and the south island is not much better. 

It is a bad time for the people and animals here.

We have been doing all that we can think of to help conserve the water....short showers, half flushes of the toilet, reusing towels when we stay more than one night in a hotel.  We pray that things will get better soon.

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