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Getting lucky

11 January, 2009 Leave a comment

The weather was pouring down… chucking… bucketting… but we were told that would make the waterfalls even more spectacular. And it did.

Doubtful Sound is the place they used for the last scenes of the LotR trilogy. 1km peaks drop straight down into the dark waters, covered with unfeasibly verdent life which shouldn’t be able to hold onto such a sheer cliff… and when the waterfalls flow, they pour from every crevice.

The rainforest’s balance is out of kilter. The signs are there for those who know, and our experienced skipper Lance knows all there was to know about this area after 20 years sailing it. But despite the depressing signs, it is still some of the most impressive wilderness you could ever see.

Snorkelling with wrasse, starfish, box fish and an abundance of flora… Walking free in the rainforest and getting lost in the undegrowth… Finding a pod of 12 bottle-nosed dolphins larking about in the West Arm of the Sound… watching the seals 5m away as they play and preen and soak in the sun.

In between came ever-flowing tea, cake, hearty breakfasts, lovely lunches and delicious dinners mixed in with a splash of wine and a dollop of banter in the galley. And to add a bit of variety with a game or two of cribbage, poker, a sing-song and a professional dulcimer-player.  I love you Neal.

And now back to Arrowtown, and tomorrow the drive to Christchurch and a flight up north. It’s difficult to see how anything can top the last 4 days, but you never know…

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Abel Tasman

29 December, 2008 Leave a comment

You wake from a snooze on the beach in 27degree heat… feel a little dozy… gaze out to sea… and.. what’s that in the water? It’s a couple of dolphins! and, just a bit to the left there’s a few more! No, there’s another, well, at least another 18.

I’m surprised at just how impressive it is to see a pod of 20 dolphins in the wild. Some playing, some just mosying, some ducking around the boats that have pulled alongside to watch this spectacular site.

The Abel Tasman park is simply superb. The huts and camping grounds are well equiped and maintained, the beaches perfect, and what makes it so much more enjoyable is that, because there is no litter, no deckchairs, no towels, no hotels… virtually no signs of human interference, you get a rare sense of natural beauty at it’s most unspoilt.

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