Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fjordlands of NZ

In between rain, rain, and more rain, we fit in a trip to Fjordland National Park. Here is an extremely rugged range of sharp granitic mountains sliced-up by chaotic, deep fjords occuring on the seaward side and three large multi-fingered lakes on the inland side. In the glacially carved fjords the depth of the waters are equal to the height of the mountains. We had to suit up in just about all our clothes just to manage the damp and cold weather.

Because of frequent rains, the sides of the mountains would frequently exhibit wide strings of interlaced waterfalls.
And then there were big waterfalls....

and more waterfalls....

and even more waterfalls.

Wild life was present. Below are a group of juvenile sealions is doing what they do best - trying their hardest to looking bord and just hanging out. The pose from the one on the right reminds me of some of the poses our dog Lewie can strike. Head up, almost bend over backward, enjoy some short-lived rays from the sun.

When it did get sunny the top deck would come alive with tourists.

At other times, the rain and drizzle would scare them away

Alexi found his favorite part of the trip: A box of toys and some floor space to play.

When the weather sneaked away from the peaks a white blanket on top would become exposed.
We did two trips. A short 3 hr trip in Milford sound and then a long one on Doubtful sound, loading the boat at 10 AM and then getting back to the shore at 8 PM. And we got lucky. For both trips, the incessant rain paused. Only brief showers between bouts of sun occured. It made for some photographic shots, more dramatic with the cloud play and contrasting light.

The most exciting wild life was the dolphins. The captain saw a pod from a ways off. he killed the motor at a feeding bench. We became witness to the leaping madness of feeding dolphins. Looks like loads of fun!

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