When folks come to visit AK, one of the things touted as a “must see/do” is a Kenai Fiords cruise. This past Wednesday, we did the NZ equivalent, a three-hour tour of Milford Sound (BTW, even tho’ it is called a sound, it actually is a fiord, according to the naturalist on our boat – turns out the Norwegian word “fiord” was not in the English language at the time the English explorer named this feature.).
The route from Te Anua to Milford Sound is a world-renowned alpine drive: early morning fog still clung to the peaks, so we were blessed with some rather dramatic views.
We were extremely fortunate in that the weather for our cruise was wonderful, actually the first clear day since the beginning of February, so we were told. Because there was no way to ensure such an event, I had done my best to prepare so as NOT to be sea-sick: three hours before departure, I took some meclezine, then once on the boat, I took a second dose. I was happily surprised that this approach worked … my brain and my eyes tried telling my system I should be feeling nauseous, but my body felt just fine. What a treat to be able to enjoy the ride!
The scenery was splendid – spectacular – superb … one runs out of words to describe it. Wildlife was sparse (an occasional sea bird, a few seals), but we hardly noticed.
Just as we approached the dock on our return, my great plan to be a sea-faring wonder went in to Phase Two: I became drowsy and could not keep my eyes open. After a simple lunch, we headed back to Te Anua (a 2 ½ hour drive, possibly much longer when one takes in all the side hikes to falls, rapids, and chasms) during which I slept most of the time. Gerry woke me three times for little walks – he couldn’t help but chuckle at my muzziness and compliance. Once back at our hotel, I fell on the bed and slept some more, then slept the entire night away after dinner as well. After all is said and done, I’m glad I felt good on the boat and I really didn’t mind the unconsciousness that followed : ) .
Back in the late ‘80s, I attended Regent College in Vancouver, BC, for a summer session, taking courses on movement in worship as well as learning about purposefully designing services with justice in mind. One of my fellow classmates, Sally Tripp, was from Christchurch, NZ; surprisingly we’ve stayed in touch all these years. Sally’s son Andrew runs Nithdale Farm, a 3600-acre sheep/dairy farm near Gore where we planned to spend Thursday night. Part of our route to the farm ran down the southern NZ coast where the wind blew unmercifully, dramatically impacting the landscape.
Andrew and Heather were wonderful hosts, not only feeding us well, but giving us a full tour of all the corners of the farm.
We are so glad to have had the opportunity to meet them and see their operation. We certainly will give Sally a good report on her kids once we see her tomorrow night.
Reaching Dunedin by lunchtime today, we followed our trusty guide book’s suggestion for a historical walking tour of the downtown area. We learned a lot about the Scot Presbyterians who settled this area in the mid-1800s; First Church, the Presbyterian church established around 1848, kept us engrossed for several hours. The Scots’ efforts to have a genuine replica of Edinburgh here in NZ resulted in a very European-looking community – in all the best senses, of course.