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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Dear Family and Friends,

We finally arrived at the boat launch at Milford Sound.  We took the last cruise of the day, 4:30pm, on the smallest boat available. We had heard that this was a good idea so we took our chances.

The best time to see Milford Sound is when it is raining.  The reason for this is that the numerous waterfalls are rain fed.  If it is raining, the sight is beyond spectacular.

We have not had one drop of rain during our entire trip in New Zealand.  In fact the locals are starting to worry about the lack of rain.  We adjusted our expectations to enjoy what we saw and expect nothing more.

We were not disappointed.

Here is the view from the dock before getting on our boat.  Our boat was much smaller than the ones you see here. As you can see, the skies are beautiful with no chance of rain.

Our boat was designed to hold about 30 passengers.  Since it was the last cruise of the day we only had eight passengers.  We felt like we had the boat to ourselves.

Again, in this sound, we saw a rock covered in fur seals.

 Here is a closer look.

The only other boat we shared the sound with was a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  You can get an idea of how narrow the sound is and how tall the mountains are that jut straight up out of the water when you compare them with the huge 3000 passenger cruise ship.

Trees growing right out of the rock.

We went to where the sound meets the open seas.   We said goodbye to the cruise ship and headed back through the sound.

There are a couple of waterfalls that are fed from melting glaciers.  These falls are permanent.  Here is one of them.

The boat captain spotted some wee penguins on the shore.  He got up close so that we could see them.  This was another advantage of being on a small boat. 

These full grown penguins were only 9 or 10 inches tall.

We headed back to where we had begun.  All the boats were in dock.

The cruise took about two hours.  We thought it was wonderful.

I would love to be able to do it in the rain sometime.  Probably will not, but I have learned to never say never.

We spent the night in the beautiful national park.


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