Published: March 24th 2010
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Manapouri - Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound

The End Of The WorldThe End Of The WorldThe End Of The World

A desolate, beautiful place.
It had to be the best cup of tea ever. I was cold and wet, and the tea was hot and wet. What’s more it was made with real milk instead of the powdered stuff I carry with me, and l was drinking it in the warmth of a ship’s saloon.
How I came to be aboard was thanks to the crew - in particular Carol, who’s the nature guide aboard the tourist vessel, “Fiordland Navigator” operated by Real Journeys.
It was tied up at the wharf when I arrived at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. The crew were farewelling their overnight guests, and my timing couldn‘t have been better. As the bus pulled away, I swung in on the Beast of Burden and asked, “where‘s the coffee shop?”
Cue Carol, who invited me aboard to have morning tea with her and the rest of the eight or nine crew. She said they didn‘t get too many cyclists coming over Wilmot Pass. I think that, and my bedraggled appearance swung it for me.
Before long, I had removed my dripping wet weather gear and was clutching my cuppa and digging into some delicious little chocolate numbers. Perfect!
Serious Mountain Bikers!Serious Mountain Bikers!Serious Mountain Bikers!

Matt and Marcus were two mountain bikers I met on the boat going across Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Instead of simply going over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, they were choosing a much harder ride over Percy Saddle to Lake Monowai. They knew they were going to have to carry their bikes for part of the way.
Carol explained the crew works seven-days-on and seven-off, and long hours. The chef, John, for example, starts at 6.30 in the morning and sometimes doesn’t finish until 9.30 at night. Despite the hours, the crew seemed a happy bunch and quick one-liners flowed back and forth along the morning tea table. Soon they excused themselves and returned to their tasks. Each day they have only a few hours to prepare the ship for its next guests.
I thanked Carol and headed off into the cold and wet, feeling much better prepared for the 22k ride back to the West Arm of Lake Manapouri.
On the road, the sound of water was everywhere. Rain bounced off my helmet, rivulets ran past me, streams rushed by out of sight in the bush and waterfalls roared off the mountainsides. It gave me the feeling that I was at the end of the world - a desolate, beautiful place where only the hardiest of souls chose to live and work.
But I felt warmed, not only by that cup of tea but also by the kindness shown to me by the crew of the "Navigator". They were clearly busy, but welcomed
Manapouri Power StationManapouri Power StationManapouri Power Station

Most of it is built well below ground in the granite rock. Its construction led to the argument over whether to raise the level of lake Manapouri by up to 30 metres to generate more power. 265,000 signed a petition against the proposal and when Labour got into power in 1972, it honoured its election pledge not to raise the lake. The issue is regarded as the one which gave New Zealanders a sense of "conservation awareness". Now guardians of the lake advise the government on its management, and levels are maintained within their normal range.
me into their lives for that short while. It was a small thing - offering a cup of tea to a stranger - but it was hugely welcome and it meant a lot to me.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Doubtful Sound From Wilmot PassDoubtful Sound From Wilmot Pass
Doubtful Sound From Wilmot Pass

"I'm glad I came. No, really. I am."
Sorry Carol!Sorry Carol!
Sorry Carol!

This is a dreadful photo, but at this stage water had seeped into my camera. Carol is nature guide aboard the Real Journeys ship, "Fiordland Navigator" which takes people out on overnight cruises on Doubtful Sound. I had tea with her and the rest of the crew on board in the warmth of the saloon.
At Deep Cove, Doubtful SoundAt Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound
At Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound

"Fiordland Navigator" with waterfalls behind. At this point my camera was dying. Not only was the lens wet on the outside, but also inside where I couldn't get at it. And the LCD screen had stopped working except on playback. Fortunately, there is a tiny viewfinder, so I was able to use that. I slept with the camera in a sock in the bottom of my sleeping bag for a couple of nights hoping it would dry out and start working properly. It hasn't.

Now here's an opportunity. Why doesn't someone design glasses for cyclists with lens wipers? Perhaps twin electric motors driving the blades, and a rechargeable battery pack that fits on a helmet. And while we're about it, what about some sort of demister to get rid of the condesation on the inside of the glasses?
Someone Was Having FunSomeone Was Having Fun
Someone Was Having Fun

The roadsigns between West Arm and Deep Cove had been altered, and it looked like a professional job. In small lettering this one says "WHOOPZEE".
DANGER spICE girlsDANGER spICE girls
DANGER spICE girls

Couldn't Agree More.

This road sign might have been more appropriate at Careys Hut, Mavora Lakes, where the mice kept me awake and at least one of them got into my food.
West Arm HutWest Arm Hut
West Arm Hut

Hut Bagging is a game played by some trampers. The idea is to visit as many back country huts as possible, and keep a score. Some people are well into the hundreds. You don't have to stay overnight in a hut to "bag" it, all you have to do is open the door and cross the threshold. I went inside this hut, hence I'm "bagging" it.

25th March 2010

All I can say Dad is genious. The glasses with wipers. I love it!
25th March 2010

Thank You
Maybe we could start a business?
25th March 2010

creative ideas
Your idea about the glass wipers reminds me of your thoughts for me to go on the road pedaling those boxes of african music CD's that have been in our garage for years. I'm still thinking about that one. Its kind of funny that you are getting soaked down there while we are still in drought up north. We're thinking about you Mike! Ross, Sarah and Tai
25th March 2010

Definitely! I think that is the type of business Mariko would be keen to be a part of too! Genius.

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