The weather here in Fiordland National Park is so changeable. On our way to Manapouri to begin our cruise, we drive through stormy rain, then the skies clear. Lake Manapouri is blue under clear skies and surrounded by hills and mountains. At 12:30 pm we join 68 others for our Real Journeys Overnight Cruise of the Doubtful Sound. First we cross Lake Manapouri to get to the remote road that leads to Doubtful Sound. The Manapouri Power Plant is located at the end of the lake. The road over Wilmont Pass was built in the 1940s to bring in supplies for building the power plant and is now a private road used mainly by a few tourist companies. We board our bus for the drive over Wilmont Pass to the edge of the Doubtful Sound. Here we board the Fiordland Navigator to cruise up and down the sound. Actually, the Doubtful Sound is a glacier carved fiord (NZ spelling). Captain Cook, back in the 1770's named it the Doubtful Sound and the name stuck
. He said it was doubtful that if he sailed into the waters there that he would be able to sail back out. He would have been right as they seldomly get easterly winds here. The weather is absolutely gorgeous as we cruise through the deep blue waters with green mountains rising out of the sea on all sides. Here and there we spot several waterfalls. Afternoon activities include muffins and tea before the kayaks come out. We have the option of kayaking or riding in the tender boats. Keith ops for the kayak while Joyce relaxes in the tender boat. (No surprise here). The small crew of the Navigator are extremely friendly and informative. They are really good at multi-tasking, doing everything from cooking and cleaning to commentary and driving boats. We learn a lot and have delicious meals. There is even a slide show before bed. It is enjoyable meeting folks from England and Germany as well as some local Kiwis (what New Zealanders call themselves, along with the names for their native flightless bird and the local fruit). Towards the end of the day, we cruise out to the Tasman Sea to see some seals resting on the rocks. The sea is rough here and we soon turn back into the fiord. The ship drops anchor in a calm, picturesque arm of the fiord for the night. It is extremely quiet, peaceful, and desolate.