We saw dolphins!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2008
Trip End Jul 07, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, May 31, 2009

After breakfast we waited outside our hostel to be picked up for our
day trip to Doubtful Sound. First we were driven to Manapouri where we
got on a boat across the lake. We could see the mountains, waterfalls
and a rocks slide shaped like a giraffe across the dark rough waters.
We arrived at the end of the lake, at a power station. We took the bus
2kn into the mountain, through a tunnel made in the rock, to all the
machinery for the underground power station. It looked like something
out of James Bond or Thunderbirds - an underground lair! After being
told about the hydroelectric scheme we headed out of the mountain and
across Wilmot Pass, a road unconnected to any other road. The sky was
clear so we had some nice views of the mountains and a misty view of
Doubtful Sound itself. We arrived at Deep Cove and got on the boat for
our cruise.David and I sat on the bow of the boat to look at the
scenery. By now the sky was blue and the sun was shining so the fiord
looked stunning. I won't write endless poetic descriptions but it was a
large expanse of water surrounded by mountains covered with forest,
sprinkled with snow on top and dotted with waterfalls. It was
beautiful. I took far too many photos! We sailed the whole length of it
to the sea. On the way back we were sitting in the icy wind, admiring
the mountains, when suddenly a fin appeared in front of us. Before I
had time to realise what was going on, two bottlenose dolphins lept
simultaneously out of the water in front of the boat. They were so
close to us we could almost touch them. Suddenly we were surrounded by
them. They were swimming below us and jumping out of the water behind
us. I was at the front of the boat, over the bow wave, so when I looked
down I could see them swimming in the wave. They kept turning to the
side so that they could see us. They were huge - maybe 4m long. There
was also a little baby one. Our skipper sped the boat up and they were
leaping in the bow waves and flipping in the wake. It was amazing!

After the boat docked we went for a walk past the stoat traps and took more
photos of the beautiful scenery. In the bus on the way back over Wilmot
Pass we stopped off at a viewpoint with a great view over Doubtful

That evening David and I went to the cinema to see Ata
Whenua - Shadowlands, a series of aerial shots of Fiordland set to
music. It was so beautiful that it inspired us to do a scenic flight,
but you can read about that in the next entry.
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