Sunday, February 12, 2012

Te Anau Part 2

This morning we started our trip to Milford Sound/Fjord/Fiord at 9:45.  It was nice to sleep in a little bit.  We also called Katunka for the first time since we left on our trip, it was great to talk to her.  With WiFi we can call the US for free, so we are planning a few more phone calls while we are here. The bus ride to Milford Sound/Fjord/Fiord took three hours because we stopped several times for photo opportunities.  The mountains were incredibly steep, which made for some awesome views.

Our 1.5 hour boat ride in the fjord included a nice buffet lunch on the boat.  Unfortunately it was so good we ate almost the entire way out to the Tasman Sea.  Once again we were blessed with great weather.  Someone said they are having something of a drought, it hasn't rained for three days.  Misa says we brought the nice weather with us from California. Milford Sound/Fjord/Fiord is impressive.  The steep canyon walls rise straight up out of the water.  Due to the lack of rain there weren't many waterfalls, but there were enough to get the idea of how it looks after a big rain.

One of the most interesting things in Fiordland is the tree avalanches.  Because the mountains are made up of really hard granite, the roots of the trees don't go into the ground but link together and hold each other.  But if a couple of trees start to slide, they take a whole slice of the forest with them, wiping out everything below.  After a tree avalanche the rock is totally barren, as if nothing was ever there.

Milford Sound was prettier than Doubtful Sound, particularly the drive there through the mountains.  It is hard to compare the two, because Doubtful Sound is so big, and we got to see the dolphins and the power station.  Both days were special, and now my list goes like this: 1. Norwegian Fjords; 2. Milford Sound/Fjord/Fiord; 3. Swiss High Lakes; 3a. Doubtful Sound/Fjord/Fiord.

When we got home Misa played with a cat that lives here at the Motel and talked to Shay on FaceTime.  Katka and I went to the grocery store and for a walk down to Lake Te Anau. Tomorrow we head to Mt. Cook and Lake Wanaka.