Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Zealand & Australia 7: New Zealand's Fiords

After leaving Dunedin we sailed around the southern end of New Zealand to some spectacular fiords in Fiordland National Park, there.

This was one of most spectacular aspects of the entire voyage for us.

This area typically has over 200 overcast days a year.  We were blessed with a warm day and clear blue skies.

This view, taken from the balcony of our stateroom, looking toward the bow of the ship, shows the narrow waterway where we are headed.

This captain was fearless, as far as I'm concerned, because he sailed that huge ship through these narrow passages at the same speed as he did the open sea.

At times, we were close enough to the shoreline that it felt as though I could reach out and touch the vegetation.
This was taken from our stateroom balcony looking back to the narrow channel from which we had just come.

Notice the black dot behind us, mid photo.  That's a smaller tour boat.

The smaller tour boat caught up with us and then stopped at these rocks.  If you look carefully on the big rock just off the boat's bow, you can see a bunch of brown dots.

Those brown dots are seals sunning themselves. 

Here's a wider angle shot.  The terrain was so steep and so high that I couldn't get it all in the photo.  I'm guessing that it the mountains rose nearly a thousand feet above the water here.

Folks enjoyed the fiords from many different vantage points.

This man, standing on top of the bridge, paused his sightseeing for a few moments to photograph his granddaughter.

There were lots of kids on this cruise.  It made sense when we realized they were all on their summer vacations down here.

One of several spectacular waterfalls we saw.

When we had sailed up this fiord as far as we could go, the captain executed a flawless three point turn and we sailed back out again.

Here we are coming out of the last of three fiords that we entered that day.

Now, we're headed back out to open sea again.  The gray spot in mid photo is diesel smoke from our stacks.

We're looking forward here, into the late afternoon sun.   We are entering the Tasman sea, which lies between New Zealand and Australia.

The Tasman sea took two days to cross.  We were told to expect rough seas as the weather here is often bad, but they never materialized.  Mostly, the seas looked like this.

Next time, we visit Hobart, on the island of Tasmania, in Australia.
Continue on to Post 8: Hobart and Tahune Airwalk by clicking here.


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