Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Rugby World Cup Day 13

Up early Tomasin and I wandered around Te Anau. It is a very small town on a large lake; it reminded me of a smaller Tahoe City. It is almost spring in New Zealand and Te Anau is more of a summer resort town so it was very quiet.

After breakfast, we packed up the rooms; we had to be out of the hotel by 10:30 a.m. Most of the group spent some time shopping in the small town.

About noon, we took off for Milford Sound. We will be spending the night on a ship called the Milford Mariner. Traveling with Tomasin, Julie and Hunter, we made stops and took short walks at Mirror Lakes and The Chasm. We saw a pair of Keas, the only species of alpine parrots, at The Chasm. The last part of the drive is pretty spectacular, particularly the section leading up to the Homer Tunnel. We got to Milford Sound about 3:30 p.m. and boarded the boat about 4:30 p.m.

The boat holds more than 60 for overnight trips. There were only 22 people for our trip and we made up 12 of the total. Although I was supposed to share a room with Hunter, they were nice enough to give me a separate room at no charge. The boat cruised out the sound to the Tasman Sea and then anchored just inside the sound. Technically, the sound is actually a fjord.

At this point, they had water activities. Most of the group chose to go out in a tender for a nature tour. Swedburg and I went a guide named Ryan in kayaks. We spent more than an hour exploring the shore just the three of us. I had a great time. At one point, I chased the tender with the rest of our party in it. I am going to try and get some pictures of me in the kayak and of the boat with the sound in the background from some of the people in the tender.

Back on the boat, we got cleaned up for dinner. They served a great buffet dinner. After dinner, there was a nice slide show of Milford Sound. Tomasin, Hunter, Mitch and I finished the evening visiting on the upper deck until they shut everything down.

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