Sunday, January 9, 2011

South: We're on a boat, yo!

This is out of order because Erin wanted to share what she did for her birthday

On the night of Jan 1st, Erin, Andrew and I took a cruise on the Milford Sound. Spectacular! So beautiful. It was Erin's birthday that day so it was extra special.

We started out at 4:30 and shared a wee cabin (see that kiwi lingo!) Milford was carved out by ice and features large mountains that rise almost straight up out of the water. It was very remote and untouched and the overnight cruise kept that feeling as there was just one other boat on the water. I kept feeling like we were first landing on NZ with no idea what to expect, almost apprehensive.

Last night was actually fairly clear which meant we could see all the peaks against the sky. We got to kayak in the early evening even though it was a bit rough. The guide spoke a bit sternly about people with no experience going out which made me hope I was good enough. Some people started to run into me and get in my way and the guide said "hey you have you kayaked before?" I quaked in my kayak thinking he was sending me back even though I have kayaked and canoed! Thankfully he was sending the other ones back and I breathed a sigh of relief then paddled really hard to show how good I was. Phew.

Once we put the kayaks away we decided to go for a quick dip in the balmy 12 degree water. Andrew jumped off the top of the boat after a convincing story from the tour guide made him think it was the only way into the water while Erin and I were chickens and jumped off the platform at the bottom. It was not as bad as expected but getting out was another story. It was freezing to the point where your skin got all hot and tingly. Erin said it felt like a knife was stabbing her.

The other boat and the awesome scenery

After a yummy supper we played games and drank obscene amounts of tea and cocoa. Erin would like to note that she beat Andrew at Connect4 in four moves. Andrew would like to note that he won at Scrabble by a large margin. However I would like to note that I picked up the 'Q' tile in my last pick up and that there was a missing "U" as well as a blank tile (could have been a "U") so obviously not a clean win. These mitigating factors would have made the game much closer and could have changed the outcome. Also, I had asked the staff to draw some attention to Erin's special occasion, which they forgot, boo! But we gave some gifts and snagged the leftover pieces of cheesecake so I'd call that a win!

After a cozy sleep while it rained all night, we woke up to a whole new scene. Milford in the mist, with waterfalls everywhere, is something else entirely. Foggy and spooky and remote, it just felt like we were sailing into a whole new world. Breakfast was nice and early, which got us up admiring the falls. They had grown over night. We went under two of them and got absolutely drenched, but how often do you go under a waterfall in the Milford Sound right? Very cool. As we got onto the open Tasman Sea, the water got noticeably rougher, so we hung out at the front of the boat and enjoyed a rollercoaster.

Misty Milford

Soon enough it was time to head back inland, Andrew taking on the photographer role, snapping a lot of pictures. We were loving the panoramic feature on the camera, but they upload really small, so we'll have to share another time.

It was a great New Year's, I wonder where we will be next year! Happy New Year to you all!

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