Up early for the coach pick-up. Paul, our driver, is Irish, with the gift, I’m sure! We happen to be first on the coach so choose to sit in the front to get the best views. It’s a 12 hour trip. It takes 2.5 hours just to get to Te Anau and a further 2 hours to get to Milford Sound. Now a sound is a river cutting between two mountains that becomes flooded by the sea. A fjord is glaciated valley now full of sea. This will be important and there WILL be a test later!
The first explorers got this wrong and named Milford a sound when they should have named it a Fjord. The NZ government tried to help by calling the area Fiordland but they couldn’t spell it should be Fjordland.
The boat took us right down the fjord to the Tasmin Sea and back. And it rained all the time!
We learned about tree avalanches where the red beech simply could not hold on any longer to the bare rock and slipped, pulling all the neighboring trees with it. We learned about snow avalanches where the snow fell in a compact block hundreds of meters, and wind avalanches where the wind simply ripped the trees and everything else off the rock face.
We passed a mirror lake which was flawed because the rain pock marked it’s face with concentric circles, but it was still beautiful.
The rain simply increased while we were on the boat. The cloud so low at times, it was impossible to judge the scale of this place. I get the idea it’s always impossible to explain the size of it. At times I looked up at a waterfall, so huge, only to see another layer of cliff above and another beyond that. One waterfall was compared with the height the Niagra Falls! Not the volume, because it was a slim fall!
The sheer number of waterfalls was fantastic! At times the crew would bravely drive the ship under the waterfall and we would all be drenched. Luckily they offered bright colored raincoats for such an occasion.
Three hours previously, there had been far fewer waterfalls so the rain was certainly welcome. Without it we would not have witnessed such a spectacle. It was stunning!
We also saw lots of New Zealand fur seals, all young males we were told, having a great time messing about in the fjord.