It's been over a week now that we're in complete solitude. The only life which is following us everywhere are nasty sandflies. Not joyful to be bitten the millisecond you stick a little part of your body outside of our well protected boat and cockpit - however after a week and new methods of protection (like gloves, head net and full body coverage) they almost become your friends. Someone, who is always there and seems to be interested in you.
That's life in the beautiful, distant south west of the south island of New Zealand. Completely quiet in the anchorages even when one storm after the other passes through on the outside. The most noise and movement we had was caused by the waterfall which we had been anchored next to for the last 4 nights. Sometimes I woke up becaue I thought there is a huge ship coming with monster engines.
All of what we've seen of Fjordland so far - and that's Milford Sound and George Sound - is majestic, green, rainy, gorgeous. Driving in the sounds (Fjords) it feels like you're on a huge mountain lake, with flat calm and deep water all the way to the shore. Compare it to Königsee in Bavaria, just multiple times the size and no people - except for the toursism in Milford Sound, which is famous for it's steep dropping cliffs and numerous waterfalls. With the amount of rain that comes down here it's no wonder that there are waterfalls everywhere.
So what can you do here, in solitude and rain? Nothing (relax)and a lot. Put your rain gear on, wait for a sunny moment and start(but you know you WILL get wet). We took my kajak and a borrowed a second one for a little tour along a crystal clear river in Milford Sound. We did a Dinghy ride into the George River against at least 5knots of current - and took a walk through the bush and along the beach. We had a long anchoring / mooring maneouver at Alice falls after fishing our food for the next couple of days. We climbed up a long waterfall next to the Alice fall (in Crogs!) to reach Alice lake, where we found an old Kanu that we took for a ride over the mystic lake and through it's green sidearms which made you think you're in the movie "Lord of the Rings". To top it all we went for a "walk" to Lake Katherine, which ended up being an alpine rainforest adventure tour which tests your being free of hight-dizziness (we had to cross a "bridge" over a river which was just a steel line with two steel lies ans hand rails), your balance, your reaction when you step on a slippery stone, your mentality to cope with the unexpected and with you just having stepped into a deep mud hole in one of the at least 13 huge mud "lakes", your condition for steep uphill and downhill climbes over huge stones and through waterfalls, your creativity in passing over / through one of the 9 creeks/rivers/Waterfalls and so on. The reward for the over 5 hour tour was a beatiful scenery at the lake, which was so calm and clear that the reflection of the snowy mountain tops meets the stones on the ground of the lake.
The other side of being in a place like this and to sandflies and rain making you stay inside is the time and peace to try out new baking and cooking. This ended up in extraordinary feasts with great fish dinners, my best cheescake ever (I had to make up a recipe according to the ingredients I have), fresh Brezn (we couldn't resist os we ate them warm) and perfect "Kässpatz'n". Also I had time to work on a movie, watch movies, go through pictures, and work on the Alita song. It's all good.
Today we were able to leave George Sound and continued to Thomspon Sound / Doubtful Sound in a short break between gale warnings that have been called out by New Zealand Maratime Radio every day at least 3 times a day for the last week. Lots of storms and gales going on with winds of up to 40 knots and waves up to 5m. And yet, we don't feel or see any of this. It is perfectly quiet again. Not a move. Perfect Solitde.
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