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Published: February 13th 2010
So today we got up early to drive to Manapouri to start our cruise of Doubtful Sound. We met the coordinator at the Harbor with the other 10 passengers. We got on a big ferry to go across Lake Manapouri (it took about 45 minutes). The weather was cold and overcast. After the ferry, we got picked up in a van by our boat's skipper, John, who drove us over the Wilmot Pass(a 40 minute drive) to Deep Cove, where we were starting our journey. We had booked our overnight with Deep Cove Charters. We picked it because it caps their passengers at 12. Our boat, The SeaFinn, was pretty cool. It was small, but big enough that it never felt crowded. There were spots to sit/stand on the back deck, as well as go up to a smaller upper deck. We could also get to the front of the boat, but it as always really cold up there. The main part of the inside of the boat had 2 tables to sit around, and a small kitchen. The rooms were down a few stairs, but above water. We had a little porthole in our room. Besides the skipper, there was
a one member crew to help out.
By the time we got on the boat, the sun had come out! We spent a lot of the morning up on the top deck enjoying the sun and the sights. It was beautiful. Very serene (way less crowded than Milford Sound in terms of other vessels) and our boat was small so we could get close to islands and move quickly. We came down for lunch and it was amazing! We had fresh crayfish tails (which are the size of enormous lobsters that we get at home), and sandwich makings. It was fantastic. After lunch was more time outside as we headed towards the Tasman Sea. The waters were calm (according to the skipper) but when we got out to sea it started feeling more rough. We had bought (and eaten) some crystalized ginger and it seemed to help, or at least psychosomatically helped. When we were out at sea, we did some fishing for dinner. Adam caught 4 fish: 2 perches (which were tossed back) and 2 cods (one which was tossed back for being too small). Other people caught some big cods, and a lot of barracudas! Those barracudas
are pretty scary looking with their sharp teeth. I started not feeling too well, but tried to sit in the middle and look out at a piece of land. Luckily the boat began heading back in to calmer waters after we were done with fishing. We passed by a rock with a bunch of seals on it, and saw a few penguins along the way (but not very close up). The sun had begun setting, and we came upon a pod of dolphins!! They were amazing to see. Some got really close to the boat, and you could see them swimming underneath the surface of the water. Others that were farther away were jumping out of the water incredibly high! The best was when two dolphins jumped out of the water together right next to the boat. We circled around the water a lot and they followed us for awhile before we left them.
We had a late dinner in a protected, calm part of the water. We had roasted potatoes, vegetables, the fish we had caught (including one fish that was cut up into sashimi and served with a tasty soy/wasabi sauce), and venison. We then got dessert
too -- Pavlova, which was pretty good. We also had some wine with dinner - which was our first New Zealand wine we have tried. It was finally dark enough to see some stars around 11pm. Adam read the star chart to figure out where things were...most was hidden behind the mountains, but we saw upside down Orion, and Sirius. We went to bed around 11:30p and it felt good to lay down. It was a long, but fantastic day.
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