Mariner (No fishing)

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Nov 16, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rounded off Queenstown with Pizza and Bourne Ultimatum. Have now added the phrase "Activate the Asset" to my lexicon.

A short sprint from Queenstown to Te Anau and we picked up a tour to Milford Sound. The coach driver, Bin (Ben) gave us lots of information about stuff, Ellie got really irate with me for grumbling disagreement, corrections and pointing out grammatical flaws in his commentary. But really you can't get on with someone who describes an area as "a theatre for weather". 
Well we took the coach along the 120km to Milford Sound, saw a whole bunch of cheeky Keas eating people's wiper blades and wondered why anyone thought it was artistic to put sculptures of sandflies on the wall of the terminal building.

The Milford Mariner was to be our next transportation and accommodation for the night. There were about 60 passengers (average age ~70 years, I suggested that any loss at see might be seen as an act of mass euthanaisa), we assembled in the mess (restaurant, canteen, lounge, I'm not sure) to receive our safety briefing and keys, then a quick dash out into the sound, and round about, seeing some dolphins before we retired to a sheltered bay for water activities, more kayaking for me (sore shoulder from the previous days funyaking) up and down the bay, looking for something interesting (unsuccessfully) on the shoreline. Ellie took the easy option of going on a tour on one of the boats launches, they saw some fiordland penguins on the beach :(.

Just enough time after the activities to dry off and dress for dinner, and then the gorging began. We shared our table with the rarest of curiosities, a quiet american couple. We coaxed them into a little light conversation, in between mouthfuls and glasses of Marlborough SB. The sun set over the sound, one of the crew gave a slide show on the natural history of the sound, and everyone slid off to their cabins. Ellie and I were left at 10:20 as the only people still up, crew included, we played a few hands of cards and tied some nautical knots (such passes for entertainment on the high seas).

Up with the dawn as we weighed anchor at 7am and slid out of the fjord whilst having breakfast, to visit a seal colony entertain some dolphins and dip the nose of the boat (vessel) under another waterfall.

By 9.30 we were back on the coach and heading for Te Anau, picked up the car, had a pie, and drove the long and not very interesting drive to Dunedin. Coast to coast.
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