Spectacular Milford Sound
Well, today was jam-packed with activity. First, we were up at 6 this morning to get ready for our kayaking trip on Milford Sound — they came to pick us up at 6:30. Then it was another looooong drive back into Fiordland (maybe an hour and a half or so). Luckily today there was some sunshine, unlike yesterday’s foray into Fiordland, which had us soaking wet.
So we were able to see some incredible views. We got hot drinks on the way and got to stop in a couple of places to get some photos. I can see why some people argue that Fiordland is New Zealand’s most beautiful region.
Me bleary-eyed in the morning…see the rainbow behind me starting to form?
Once we actually got to Milford Sound (a huge fjord) we had to go through the whole rigamarole of getting ready to actually go kayaking. I’ve never been kayaking before, so it was quite an experience. First we had to strip down to our bathing suits. Then we had to put on geeky waterproof pants and a tunic — think bicycle-pants material. Very flattering to the figure. Then we had to put on a heavy under-vest-thingy to keep us warm. Then came the splash skirt, which drapes around your neck and hangs down between your legs, which is also quite attractive. Then there was a thermal shirt. Then there was a rain jacket that made your sleeves all puffed out so that, coupled with the splash skirt, you basically resembled a fluorescent sumo wrestler. THEN you had to put on your life jacket.
I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to get dressed. It probably took less time for me to get ready for the senior prom.
Our guide and fearless leader
After that we had to push our kayak in and get in it without tipping over the kayak or thwacking your kayak-buddy (mine was Dan) with your oars. I was mildly successful. I was also petrified that I’d tip us over into the freezing cold waters of the sound. Once I got used to kayaking it wasn’t too hard — just had to stay in sync with Dan. I know my arms and shoulders are going to be wicked sore tomorrow morning though.
Lady Bowen Waterfall
Milford is beautiful, but the rainfall here is incredible. It rains almost all the time. The hopeful spurts of sunshine we’d had on the drive over quickly disappeared, the clouds covered everything, the mists rolled in, and we had ourselves a 4-5 hour long kayaking trip in the pouring rain. Luckily the kayaking company had us pretty well prepared for it. Still, by the end, all the spectacular scenery in the world couldn’t compete with being thoroughly wet and shivering with cold, so we were pleased to finally clamber out of our kayaks.
A Kayak on the Beach at Milford Sound
It was a pretty good trip all in all, though. We got to see 2 or 3 fur seals (including one fellow who was sunning himself on a rock) — no dolphins unfortunately. Mitre Peak and the other jagged mountains making up the fjord are astonishingly beautiful, especially with the ethereal mist surrounding them. The sandflies are a nuisance, but they don’t bother you when you’re out on the water — which is a deeply reflective black water, very soothing. We also paddled into a smaller little “cove” area joining up with a river. Waterfalls were EVERYWHERE. Really spectacular.
Here I am, the crazy sumo-wrestler kayaking girl
It begins to rain on us kayakers
I hope my pictures can do it justice. They’re nowhere near the quality of the postcard photographs, but it is hard to be artistic when you’re in a very tippy kayak.
Milford Sound Waterfalls
Still rainy this evening and SO cold. I went to get some dinner and nearly froze to death — and I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, a T-shirt and a thick hooded sweatshirt. It’s very hard to believe this is summertime.
I hope tomorrow’s a little less chilly, although I think it will still be rainy.
Until then, enjoy the photos.
Kayakers on Milford Sound
Waterfall admist trees on Milford Sound
Another Milford Sound waterfall
Kayakers Head Home
Looking back toward Mitre Peak