January 30 Leaving Doubtful Sound ( Day 125)

We woke to the sound of a helicopter early this morning, before sunrise! We never saw it though, it was gone, along with some tanks of lobster we assume. The guests bunking in the large berth on the top deck with windows encircling their room did get to see it, then went back to sleep. Robert and I were the first up and got the first cups of coffee to warm up in the chilly morning.

A beautiful sunrise on the misty fiord.

We motored away from the little protected harbor into the wider sound while the chef cooked us up a huge breakfast!

The sun began burning off the mist and clouds revealing the ancient native podocarp forest clinging to the slopes, sprinkled with stands of bright green tree ferns at the lower elevations.

After breakfast I peeked into the wheelhouse while the skipper was having his breakfast. They offered a tour of the engine room as well, but no one took them up on it.

As we motored into one of the arms of the Sound it looked like the weather inland was a little more murky!

Occasionally the mountain walls would open with a glacial carved valley and a pebbly beach, probably depositing the water of creeks and rivers to the sea.

At one long-drop waterfall the skipper pulled us up right under it for a ‘bow wash’, and anyone could have a shower! The mate even came out with a scrub broom and scrubbed off the wheel house windows!

As we approached Deep Cove to dock the boat we passed another cruise heading out into the Sound. I don’t think they ever actually unfurl the sails on that tour boat!

The canyon wall shows the scar of a ‘tree avalanche’ – after heavy rain the shallow tree roots cannot keep their hold and slough off, taking their neighbors below them into the water! We saw lots of sticks and debris floating throughout the Sound.

We gathered our gear and the chilly bin and reluctantly bade goodbye to Arturo the chef and Fraser the mate who stayed behind to clean and prep the boat for the next cruise guests arriving on the ferry we were to catch back to Manapouri. Dave drove us back over the pass to catch the ferry and meet the next skipper, taking over as Dave had a few days off!

As we motored over Lake Manapouri we exchanged emails with our fellow passengers and enjoyed the scenery, noticing the scar on the mountains, maybe a fault line*?

We disembarked the ferry and got the car from the overnight parking area and headed the almost 2 hours back to Riverton in time to make a hodge-podge dinner of leftovers because we are on the move again tomorrow! Leaving with great memories of a trip of a lifetime!

*Addendum; Several fault lines run along the southern Alps and geologists believe that NZ is due for a ‘big one’ that occurs about every¬† 300 years! More info HERE and a fault line map is HERE!

Leave a Reply