Three Beautiful Sounds (Nov 29, 2018)

Of all the days on this trip to want sun, this would be at the top of the list. And sun it was! Dan and I were just clambering out of bed when we entered Dusky Sound, the largest and most complex fjord along NZ’s coast. We put on our bathrobes and enjoyed the stunning scenery of this 40 kilometer long steep mountainous wonderland from our balcony at the end of the ship. Thank you Hettie (for choosing such great rooms)! No roads reach the coast at this point, so it’s only possible to enjoy the beauty by air or from the water. Seals, dolphins, and whales enjoy this solitude and it’s an important breeding site for Fjordland penguins, but (sad face) we did not have a single marine life sighting.

We were dressed by lunchtime and joined the others at a table by the window where we enjoyed moving slowly through the second beautiful sound, Doubtful Sound, on the southwest corner of South Island. With green, lush peaks reaching up to 5,200 feet it takes second place as NZ’s most famous tourism destination. With annual rainfall ranging from 120–240 inches, we were so excited about the sunshine which showed it off to its best advantage. We were on the lookout for fur seals and the two types of penguins that hang out here, but we did not see any. Sidebar: I had a side of truffle fries for lunch and fell in love.

Because of the class of our stateroom, we were invited to join others on the helipad in the very front of the ship for our trip through Milford Sound, NZ’s top tourist attraction. Oh my goodness it was beautiful with its two permanent water falls and towering rock faces that rise to almost 4,000 feet. It, like the others, was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Unlike the others, it is accessible by land and boasts Milford Lodge at water’s edge. The ship did a 180 degree turn at the end of the sound and we headed back out with a short stop at a pretty waterfall where the ship did a 360 degree turn so that everyone could enjoy the view. Clever devil the captain.

At the end of our wonderful day we attended a short lecture about the customs and culture of the Maori. The lecturer, Tony Adams, held the Guinness World Record for World’s Fastest Tap Dancer from 2008 to 2012. For real. He did a brief demonstration at the end.

Conversation cards: What would you miss most about your home if you moved? Who is your favorite professional athlete? Who’s the most optimistic person you know? Which historical time period would you most like to visit?



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