At Sea...... Feb 14, 15, 16, 2012

Trip Start Feb 06, 2012
1
9
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Trip End Apr 16, 2012


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! Today is the first of three days at sea. We are heading towards Hobart , Australia.


We sailed through Fiordland, the name given to New Zealand’s southwest coast. It is a majestic wilderness of rocks, ice and beech forest where glaciers have carved mile-deep notches into the coast. It normally rains hard & often but we have seen no evidence of this. Most of the terrain is designated  as Fiordland National Park. Parts of the park have never been explored and visitor activities are mostly confined to a few of the sounds and some walking areas.


The first area we came to was Doubtful Sound, a very large and naturally imposing fjord (despite its name), in the far south west of NZ. It was give its name by Captain Cook, who did not enter the inlet as he was uncertain whether it was navigable under sail. The steep hills on either side are known for the hundreds of waterfalls that are present during the rainy season. As they haven’t had rain for quite some time, we saw no waterfalls at all but were still amazed by the majestic beauty of the hills. It was a beautiful sunny day & everyone luxuriated in the sun & the scenery.


Next came Milford Sound. Tremendous green slopes plunge vertically into the sea and it is just stunning to sail past them. Walls of rock sheer up from the waterline as high as 4,000 feet. The fiord which is about 18 miles long was carved out by a succession of glaciers. We sailed up the sound to a lone waterfall which was spectacular. Again we had beautiful weather -- no rain. Unusual as the average annual rainfall in this area is  twenty feet & it rains an average of 183 days a year (and we think we have it bad!).


Next we ventured into the Tasman Sea, the large body of water between Austraila and New Zealand. It is 1200 miles across and we rolled most of the way across as we had left the protected waters of the fiords. Everywhere you looked people were staggering around like they’d been on a bender for days! Definitely had to hang on to the handrails provided all along the corridors or else you would be down on the floor. We went to a cabaret show in the evening and tried to have a dance --- didn’t last long at that -- decided to sit and drink and enjoy the entertainment instead. I was amazed that the performers could stay on their feet at all! The only positive is that this type of sea is so nice to sleep in --- you are rocked constantly, just like a baby! Thank heavens for Bonine (the motion sickness pills....)
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