Dawn on Doubtful Sound, dusk at Invercargill – Wednesday 22nd February 2012


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We are awoken by the sound of the generator, signaling pumping of water has resumed. The light, this morning is enhanced by a hint of pink dawn layered over threads of clouds. The stillness, the isolation is overwhelming.
We eat breakfast, see yet more dolphins, but this time in the distance, body flipping and then penguin. Three little ones, swimming ahead.

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Next task is to try to find a crayfish for the next cruise. Our captain set traps last evening, I volunteer to help raise them.

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Sadly nothing! Poor people will have to catch their own supper!
The scenery is simply beautiful here and I am sad to be leaving. This will live in my memory for many years to come.

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But we must leave, so re-trace our journey, 50 minutes on a minibus, 50 minutes on a boat over Lake Manapouri, and a short ride home to collect our car and bags, before we start for Invercargill.
And first on our route is Manipouri – again! This feels rather ridiculous but inevitable. The rest of the journey follows the Southrn Scenic Route but after the majesty of Doubtful Sound, it feels a little flat. Both John and I try to relieve the journey with stop offs.
Clifden Bridge: suspension bridge which improved communication, but more amusing was the pig!

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There he was, this black boulder, lying under a tree, until we, tourists, started to arrive. He staggered to his feet, grunting with pleasure and wagging his tail, persuading people to rush to their cars and find apple cores for his consumption. He was massive! (that’s not my hand in the photo)

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By the time we were 30 km off Invercargill, both John and I were exhausted. We had shared the driving as much as possible, taking shorter and shorter legs for each section of the journey. Eventually w pulled off the road, and for the third time in this entire epic travel, admitted defeat to sleep! We pulled the seats to maximum recline and slept for 20 mins.
This provided us with just enough energy to find the motel and unpack, but not enough to buy food or search for a restaurant. We dined on apple, an orange, an apricot, 3 crackers with Vegimite or Philadelphia and a muesli bar washed down with a Gin and Tonic and coffee.
Believe it or not the saga of the Heirtz/Rentalcars.com fiasco where we ended up paying twice while in Melbourne, has not yet ended. John makes a valiant effort to conclude it but fails because of time difference in UK and the right person being unavailable.

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