Sharing The Peapod's Travel Adventures...

The Pods do the Milford Tramp...Day Five

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This entry was posted on 12/25/2006 1:33 PM and is filed under New Zealand.

The walking part of this trek is over, but the adventure continues and continues... 

We board a huge cruise tour boat which holds about 300 passengers for our tour of the Milford Sound. 

Out on this fiord we see the grandeur of the surrounding majestic mountains.  Mitre Peak is the centerpiece rising vertically over one mile from the water line.  This fiord is a marine reserve and a haven for many marine animals.  We saw Southern Fur Seals basking on the rocks and small bottlenose and dusky dolphins did their magical dance right in front of us, leaping and playing in the water.  Dusky dolphins can only be found here in New Zealand.

Evelyn immediately goes to the front of the boat and starts talking with the Captain.  She doesn't mention her prior experience on the two ferries.  Just chatting.  She asks how he drives it without a steering wheel and he shows her the little stick on the right side of his chair which controls the movement of the boat.  This huge ship responds to the lightest of movements on the rudder stick.

Just after we leave the dock the Captain turns to Evelyn and says, "Hey, it's Xmas, want to drive the boat?"  Evelyn is stunned...Is this really happening again for the 3rd time????

Without any hesitation E-Pod jumps into the Captain's seat and takes over the piloting. 

Here's the movie of a bit of it:

  Evelyn as the skipper of our Milford Sound Cruise

After heading straight ahead for about 10 minutes and getting used to the responsive steering post, the Captain told her to make a gentle 180 degree turn and it was so smooth.  The Captain left to get a cup of coffee and I heard the first mate ask "Who's driving?"  Well,that would be Evelyn!  The Captain complimented her on her delicate touch and after another 15 minutes, he took the seat back so that he could guide the boat right up against the rock mountain wall.

We came directly underneath a waterfall and could feel the spray on our faces.

Here's the movie - Waterfall from the boat

Many passengers complemented Evelyn on her steering and noted how smooth the ride was.  At the end of the boat ride the Captain thanked Evelyn over the microphone for being such an excellent Pilot!  Who would ever believe this story if it weren't for the photos and movie???

Here at the Milford Sound they say they are in a drought condition if it hasn't rained in 3 days!  They measure rainfall in Meters, instead of inches, the way we do.  That would be equivalent to us saying that it rained 2 yards last night.  That's a lot of rain.

In fact, there is so much rain here that the first 40 meters of the Sound is often all fresh water before it becomes salt water.  In weather like we had with 3 warm dry days, the ocean water predominates, which invites more ocean life back into the sound - such as the dolphins we saw - which apparently is a rare treat.

After the nearly 2 hour boat trip down the Milford Sound we were ready for our next adventure.  Our helicopter ride from Milford to Queenstown...

Six of us boarded this helicopter...and off we went...

Check out this movie of bits and pieces of the adventure....

Hellicopter Ride from Milford Sound to Queenstown

The views were breath taking and incredibly awesome.  Six other members of our group took another helicopter too - you can see their 'copter in the distance here...

Here's a glacier seen from the helicopter...

Here's another view...

And one more...


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    • 12/28/2006 11:14 PM Darcey wrote:
      WOW - you've made David and me "homesick" for New Zealand, especially the Milford trek, although they didn't have the private room option when we did it. It's making me think we need to do it again when Martha is old enough to join us. All your pictures have been great and i swear we took some of the same ones!! Isn't Te Puia amazing?? We were there by ourselves for a few hours!! We actually stayed at the Queenstown Hotel - my memory is that it was awfully "cute". The helicopter photos are amazing. We drove up the eastern side of the island (Frans Joseph glacier) which was beautiful but the helicopter would have been nice. Thanks Thanks Thanks for all your blogging!!! Happy New Year! Darce
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