21.-22.02.10, Doubtful Sound with Fiordland Cruises
Fiordland Cruises’ courtesy coach will collect you from your Lake Te Anau accommodation at 8.15am. At Pearl Harbour, Manapouri we will provide guests with their boxed picnic lunch and at 9.40am sharp guests will depart from Pearl Harbour on a fast vessel which will take you across New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, Lake Manapouri. Once at West Arm you will meet Fiordland Cruises staff who will drive by courtesy coach over the Wilmot Pass, at the top of the pass we will stop to capture views of Doubtful Sound stretching to the West. Around noon we arrive in Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound and board the MV Friendship. The vessel cruises at around 7-10 knots initially heading down the main Fiord before heading off to explore some of the more remote Doubtful Fiords. Conditions allowing, the skipper will select locations for fishing, and placing “pots” to capture Fiordland Lobster. Cruises often include a visit to the entrance of Doubtful Sound where, weather dependant, you may visit the Shelter Islands, home to a colony of Southern Fur Seals. Typical overnight anchorages in Doubtful Sound include Crooked Arm, First Arm, Hall Arm and Precipice cove in Bradshaw Sound or on the eastern tip of Secretary Island.
The Ship awakes, and after a light breakfast we have a leisurely cruise back towards Deep Cove and from there end the journey with a trip back across the Wilmot Pass and Lake Manapouri. We arrive in Te Anau around noon.
I am just back from the overnight cruise on the Doubtful Sound. Leaving one group and joining another worked easily. We were only 6 people for the cruise although the boat normally takes 12, so we had plenty of space and nobody had to sleep in the top bunks. It was all very informal and friendly. I even got to drive the boat for quite a while. The weather was ok on the first day despite low cloud, mist and some rain. We saw dolphins again but unfortunately no crested penguins. I was able to look at all my pictures on the computer of a young Danish man who was there. I was doing this while it was pouring with rain this morning on the return trip, but as soon as one crosses the first range of hills inland the rain stops and it is much warmer.
This evening I am having dinner with 3 people from the boat trip – 2 Germans from Lörrach and a very talkative American, but I am used to Americans now.