Milford sound

In Kiwi, travelling on April 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm

The trip upto Milford sound reminds me of the savage land, a mythical remote time trapped tropical enclave in antartica, where dinosaurs and sabre toothed tigers still roamed and humans fought to stay alive. It is primitive and raw and again with all things kiwi so very very beautiful. The spray is whipped into your face by the strong winds which press upon you, the mist is so thick and dense it occludes the end of the sound, it’s not cold, the hooded waterproofs are to keep you from getting dampened by the spray whipping from the waterfalls which spill off the green mountainsides, hundreds of meters to us cruising below. You can tell when we get out to the tasman sea, and open water because the pitch of the boat changes, moving from a gentle roll to a sharp longer lunge. Feel more queasy on the coach drive back than I do on the boat itself.

Stand at the bow of the boat, the Milford monarch and let my face be drenched by the spray of the waterfall we’re stopped under, looming over the boat the captain tells a story about the falls which I immediately forget, but he has a nice calming authoritative voice, and he speaks in the slow tones of one who is used to speaking to groups of people. Close my eyes and try to feel each drop of snow melt on my face, my skin. The cruise round the sound, though all of the sounds in the area are fjords, hence the area being called fjordland, reminds me of the ferry from north to south island and the journey down queen charlotte sound. It seems captain cook named the sounds incorrectly as a sound is a passage to the sea made by a river and a fjord is a passage to the sea made by a glacier, I’m not sure whether the glacier was advancing or retreating at the time, but the captain utters the useful fact that it moved at either eight feet, or eight meters a day when normal glaciers move a quarter of that distance in a week.

I find myself taking photos even as everything seems to blur into one. New Zealand and the beauty it contains can be a bit overwhelming, you have to look away every now and then, close your eyes and try to come back to it afresh.

The road to Milford has been closed for the last four days because of the epic even for this region amount of rainfall they’ve been having. On average they get 8-10 meters of rainfall per year here. 8-10 meters and you can see it spilling off the sheer cliffs that jut into the low charcoal clouds. Rivulets of water running down the moss covered faces of the mountains, well they look like rivulets as you pass from the safety of the coach but they are vertical rivers meters wide. The bare grey outcroppings, and the uprooted and twisted trees stripped of foliage, that appear occasionally are the space where a landslide or avalanche has occurred, falling thunderously into the valleys and plains which lie below, ripping up trees as they go, and blocking this largely handbuilt route from one version of paradise to another.

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