Clean Wake Productions Ltd
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Ships Log

South to Fiordland

Dated: 29/01/08

January 29, 2008

Kay in Deep Water Basin, Milford Sound
Kay in Deep Water Basin, Milford Sound

27th January
Milford Sound

Our passage south was a breeze. We established our night watches of three hours on and three hours off which seems to work best for us.

All through the first night we could see the lights of the Maui off-shore oil field platforms, like mini cities, stationed across the entrance to Cook Strait.
After two days, we were sailing about 50 miles off-shore, parallel to the great Southern Alps. Although mostly covered in clouds we would sometimes get a glimpse of the peaks they were hiding including Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. It was spectacular.
On day three we had two magnificent albatross accompany us all day and right into the night. Hundreds of dolphins joined in the party, playing in Mai Tai's bow wave. We never tire of watching these beautiful creatures and admire their "joie de vivre". What a welcome to the Southern Ocean.

The wind died again that night to a state I didn't believe possible for the reputedly treacherous Tasman Sea. It was mirror calm

At sunrise on our fourth day, we could pick out the headlands of the Milford Sound, the northern-most of the 14 glacier-carved fiords that make up the national park of Fiordland.
Milford Sound is the most accessible of them all, and therefore the most visited by tourists, so we weren't too surprised to see other boats, and even a cruise ship, waiting for first light to make an entrance.

The cruise ship went in ahead of us, and as we watched him rounding the first bend, he seemed to be engulfed by the soaring cliffs around him. The ship, in fact, helped give some perspective of what we too, were about to experience.

It is eight miles from the entrance to the head of the sound where there is a hotel and air strip. Fishing boats and "others" continue up a narrow channel to Deep Water Cove which, despite its name, is one of the few places in the fiords where you can actually swing on your anchor without having to attach yourself by some means to the shore.

There was just one other sail boat here and a few fishing boats tied to pile moorings.
We will be spending the next few days exploring ashore and enjoying being completely surrounded by these sheer towering rock faces giving us the feeling that we have been dropped high up in the mountains.
It doesn't seem real, but it is, and our Southland adventure is only just beginning.