Fiordland National Park is magnificent….when the fog and clouds part for a while, and you can actually see the beautiful mountains, greenery, clear water, and the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of waterfalls over many miles. All of the white “ribbons” you see in the first five photos are waterfalls. The day was rainy, sunny, foggy, windy, calm, cool, and warm, all in the space of five hours! What an experience! We cruised by all of this in three different sounds, and the onboard lecturer commented that she had never seen so many waterfalls in this area. At one point, we saw a large pod of dolphins jumping and swimming off the port side of the ship. The lecturer commented that they were “putting on quite a show for us,” but of course, they were just living their lives, oblivious to thousands of eyes watching them. Fiordland is located on the southwestern tip of the South Island, less than 2,000 miles from Antarctica, and is a national treasure. Captain Cook was the first European to travel through the sounds and arms of this delightful place. Dusky Sound was so named because they first piloted through at dusk, and Wet Jacket Arm was named due to the condition of the crew’s coats after passing through several days of the on-again, off-again rain.
Port Chalmers is our first stop as we work our way up the east coast of New Zealand. It is a sleepy, small port town that bills itself as the “Gateway to Dunedin,” the larger city 6 miles up the road. The sign that says, This is not a shop, is fun to read. What didn’t come out well was the sign below it that said, in stark black and white, “Welcome, Boat People.” You can see an overview of the town from the ship in the first photo, followed by a shot from the main street with two large cruise ships in port! Between us, the two ships dumped about 3,500 passengers into a port with about a dozen stores, including one pharmacy and one grocery store. The grocery store was an adventure, as you can see in the last two photos….pure goofiness!