Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Milford Sound

As we left the easterly shelter of the Alps and crossed back over the west side from Wanaka, we were again met with torrential rain - which pleased Bas no end. He kept telling us he was so happy that it was raining for our night on the boat on Milford Sound, because that was going to cause "thousands of waterfalls" in the fjord for us to see - wasn't it great?! We weren't buying it. We had started out on the west side, hiked through pouring rain, dried our clothes above heaters in our rooms, no one was thrilled about the rain, and the idea of "thousands of waterfalls" seemed like an exaggeration at best - that is until we boarded the boat and motored off into the depth of the fjord... where we saw what had to have been thousands of waterfalls. There is no topsoil under the vegetation on the cliffs above the fjord, that means that when it rains, the water has no place to soak in, so it heads straight down into the sea. There was cascading water as far as we could see, and even the boat's crew was incredulous, telling us they see rain like that once a season if they are lucky. 

This is what happens when 10 inches of rain falls in Milford Sound in one day:

The rain had stopped by the next day and we were able to go out on the tender craft for a spin around the fjord. The thousands of waterfalls were reduced to a few trickles.