Tuesday 10th November 2015
17.11.2015 18 °C
Neither of us had a great nights sleep as the bunks were very narrow and it was quite hot and stuffy in our room with no natural ventilation. We had all been warned that the very noisy engines start up just after 6am but this had the advantage of working as an alarm clock. We got up and dressed as quickly as we could and then went up on deck to see the Sound in the early morning light. It was much cloudier than it had been yesterday but there was still a lovely quality to the light and it gave a golden glow where it caught the hillside.
While we ate a delicious buffet breakfast the captain took us towards to an area of the Sound called Hall Arm. They crew had told us that they were saving the best until last and they were right. The scenery was the most dramatic we had seen and the light only got better. En-route we pulled alongside an island where we saw some more small penguins and then a little while later as if to make the whole scene absolutely perfect we were joined by a large pod of dolphins, including a mother and baby, who swam alongside the boat for ages causing great excitement with everybody on board.
The crew are all very flexible and if they see some animals or something else of interest they announce it and then happily accommodate people rushing up on deck in the middle of a meal, as was the case this time when we were all still eating breakfast.
The water was very calm despite the cloud and few spots of rain which made for wonderful reflections.
As we entered Hall Arm the cloud started to lift and the grey sky became blue and the sun created patterns of light on the water. For about ten minutes or more the engines were turned off and we were all encouraged to be quiet, turn of our cameras and just listen to the sounds of the fiord.
I could pick out individual waterfalls and there was lots of bird song. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful, but eventually the engines had to be restarted and we began to make our way back to Deep Cove and the end of our cruise, whilst still looking at the scenery and vegetation as we went.
All too soon we were disembarking and getting back on the coach, retracing our steps back over the Wilmot Pass. It had become more wet and windy as we crossed back over Manapouri Lake and so just about everyone sat under cover.
It was then only a short coach journey to Te Anau where we were spending the next couple of nights. We managed to get dropped off outside our accommodation and were able to check straight in. Later that afternoon we had a look around the town and found a restaurant and had something to eat. After not having a great nights sleep in the boat (but as one of the crew had quite rightly said we hadn't gone to Doubtful Sound for the sleep) we went to bed quite early so as to be ready for another boat trip we had booked for the morning.