Our South Island Adventure Day Five

Milford Sound

I have one complaint about today’s activity: it was far too short! After years of wanting to cruise Milford Sound I finally got to do it. Of course, to be correct it should be called Milford Fiord not Milford Sound, but I’m not going to quibble over a name. Whatever it’s called it is incredible, spectacular, absolutely worthwhile, awesome, magnificent, and a few other adjectives that I could use if I had my thesaurus by my side.

We were on one of the smaller boats and got to experience Milford up close. As in, we could touch some of the overhanging trees. But not just trees. When we ventured near to one of the waterfalls, the crew put a tray of glasses on the front of the boat which were subsequently filled with water from the waterfall. The crew and some passengers at the front got wet: DH and I slightly so. But it was worth it to enjoy a glass of water straight from its source. But our friendly commentator who ended up soaked through must have been somewhat cold afterwards. I know I was and I had hat, jacket, gloves and The Ugly Socks to warm me.

When we approached a second waterfall we were warned that there would be a lot of spray. Several people chose to go inside but I stayed outside. However, DH had already gone inside to change the battery in his camera and missed all the action (and hence no photos)! Yes, I got wet but it was exhilarating. Definitely a high point! And one I’d love to do again!

Another highlight was a visit to the underwater observatory. I was worried how I’d go but once I got downstairs (10 m below the surface) I was so fascinated with the fish and coral and marine life that I forgot my fear of enclosed spaces and being underwater. This, too, went too quickly and soon we were back on [another] boat and returning to the terminal.

As well as being overwhelmed by the beauty of this place, I am also interested in the history. All of my blog posts have been written offline and posted after our holiday. With no cell phone coverage and limited or no internet access for large chunks of our trip, I have been made aware that we are fairly isolated. But go back in history one hundred years or more and it’s inconceivable (to me at least) just how isolated the early settlers in this area must have been.

Before returning to our accommodation today we visited the graves of Donald and Elizabeth Sutherland, the first to live in this area, and the first to offer accommodation in this area (mostly to those courageous – or foolish - enough to do the journey on foot). When Donald died, Elizabeth was approximately 75 years old and didn’t have the strength to move him. It was five weeks before help arrived and he could be buried! I doubt I would have had the strength or the courage to deal with my grief and such circumstances while being all alone. Methinks people were cut from a different mould back then!

Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto Thy works. Psalm 86:8 (KJV)