Saturday, April 19, 2014

Doubtful Sound, Guaranteed Fun

One of the highlights of the visits of our Residency Pals' visit, was a trip to Doubtful Sound. This place is just unreal. Rain or shine, the Fiordlands are just spectacular, which is good because we got both rain and shine during our day trip. The morning started out really beautifully:

Sunrise over Manapouri.

There's even a little hint of a rainbow. I think NZ was just showing off to the new visitors.

Walking down towards our first boat of the day. To get to Doubtful Sound, you have to get to Lake Manapouri, take a boat across it, take a bus over the mountain pass, and then you drop down into the Sound to get on another boat to cruise around on. Trust me, it's totally worth it.

Here we are getting loaded up and ready to roll.

And we're moving!

As we got rolling, the clouds also started rolling. But that's ok. They just helped make the place seem even more mystical. The rain came and went, and didn't run us inside on the boat too much. For the most part, we had a great day of sailing through one of the coolest places that exists.

Enjoying the ride!

Cathy getting some shots that were later sadly accidentally deleted from her camera... Luckily, we all had cameras going all day, so there's no shortage on footage from this awesome day.

Taking it in.

I know this is kind of a lot of pictures, but it is sooooo hard to choose the best pics from the day...

Girls having a lunch break.

Partial Group shot.

On the way back, we somehow got split up. Steph, Justin and I were on one bus, the others were on a different one. Each bus made a stop at a powerstation buried deep in the mountain beneath Lake Manapouri. I was told by several people that this was a cool part of the tour. Every one of these people was wrong.  This was boring. I generally think almost anything can be interesting, and this man-made marvel sounds like something I could get behind, but Nope! BORRRRRED! The bus drives down down down into this giant tunnel carved in the mountain. Then you get out and walk down another tunnel to see this:

The coolest part was this coincidence: I said 'this looks like it should be in a James Bond movie', then we turned around and there was a plaque to read about this power station that said "don't you think this looks like the set for a James Bond Film?" Yes, plaque. As a matter of fact I do!
The part that made this so boring was that nothing happens when you get down there. You look at it, in our case for about 2 minutes, then go wait on the bus until everyone else is done looking at it. 

This is a model of how the whole thing works.  I think the concept is that there is a nearby lake that is at a lower elevation, so they have those blue pipes drilled down to let this lake drain by gravity to the neighboring lake. As the water passes through, it spins some giant turbines and they generate enough electricity to power thousands and thousands of people's homes. There. Now you know. Save yourself the pit stop.

Oh well. even the boring power plant and Cathy deleting her pictures still couldn't damper our day. Like I said: Doubtful Sound, Guaranteed Fun!

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