Friday, January 25, 2019

Do I have a reader with a waterfall fetish? And more.

The theme today is (duh) waterfalls. There are lots from various places along the way.

This one, for example is about the most colour Doubtful Sound showed.

Tricked you! Technically, there's falling spraying water, but it's organized in front of Larnach Castle.

A beach photo, taken in a howling rain storm. I was out just long enough to compose, focus, click, and I was soaked to the ass getting back in the car. The things I do for my readers.

Here on down it's Doubtful Sound. This is actually on the road to Doubtful Sound. The tour bus driver slowed down for us.

Bonus trees in the mist. This area is part of a tree slide. Yes, just like an avalanche of snow or mud, but with trees. It turns out there isn't much between granite and air, and if doesn't rain for 5 or 6 days they call it a drought and the moss dries out and the trees fall off the mountain.

There are some more waterfalls from Milford in the huge backlog, so don't go away. Oops, I lied, here's one from Milford Sound.

Those two tours were amazing! I'm glad I didn't try to drive up to Milford Sound. Remember the bad old days of the pass near Golden? Like that only more so. With road works, as they call it here. A couple of the places we stopped along the way I probably could have stayed longer, and we didn't stop in one place I'd have blocked traffic to get that reflection shot. Then again, I might not have noticed it at all due to the overwhelming need to pay complete and total attention to the road.

Thats why we don't usually do tours. It would just kill me to be in a place that I loved, that I might never get back to, and have some tour operator looking at their watch trying to keep to a schedule. And that was before photography.

Doubtful Sound is more complicated. You can drive to the boat dock, if you like, it's an easy short drive, but we took the shuttle bus. The driver added incomprehensible commentary. Then you get on a ferry across a lake; it takes about 45 minutes and is pretty darn scenic. The free coffee is also pretty good. Then you get on a bus and get driven up and over a pass complete with rain, mist, fog, hairpin turns, and a chatty driver that was fun to listen to. He pointed out one boulder that was bigger than the bus. It had been washed onto what was left of the road by a flood. It was easier to rebuild the road around it.

Here's the view of the Sound, through the mist, from the top of the pass. We're almost 700 m up, and getting the view without mist is rare. The driver says the road cost $2 a cm, mainly because of the terrain and the need to haul heavy equipment up to the power station.

THEN you get on the actual tour boat, and it's an amazing ride! I loved the misty moody scene, and was sometimes the only one on deck. I wasn't going inside because of a warm and somewhat damp wind. We got right out to the Tasman Sea and said hello to some seals. Some dolphins and penguins showed up along the way too.

At one point they stop the boat, shut off the motor, and ask people to put down their electronic devices. They say Shhhh, and ask people to be quiet. Wow. It isn't often us humans get to hear nothing but nature.  Even in Yukon on the Dempster, we could usually hear vehicles. This was nothing but bird cries and waves.

In other news, we are somewhere else today. The accommodation is very swanky. I could live here, I think, though the traffic in the nearby town sucks. Plus Siri and two people lied to me and put me through a very stressful bit of driving looking for something that was about 50 m from where I was. Under stress I reverted to signaling my turns with the windshield wipers, which is enormously frustrating.

There is lots of dark sky nearby, if only the clouds cooperate...

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