Doubtful Sound Cruise, South Island, New Zealand (2016)

Doubtful Sound Cruise, South Island, New Zealand (2016)

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The highlight of our trip to South Island, of course, is the cruise through Doubtful Sound: sheer, weathered cliffs dominate the horizon and the perpetual mist adds a touch of mystique as our boat sails silently through these waters. Post-rain cascades dot the hillsides. The sound is home to bottlenose dolphins and fur seals. At the sound’s mouth to the Tasman Sea lies Nee Islets, home to a massive seal colony. Doubtful Sound is undoubtedly the most exquisitely rugged and remote area of untamed wilderness in this part of the world. It is also a delightful oxymoron in that the “sound” is a place of deafening silence!

There are more than 40 sounds in South Island. The story why this one is called the Doubtful Sound goes as follows: when Captain Cook sailed to this part of the island through the Tasman Sea, he dared not enter the sound since he feared there would not be enough wind to blow his ship back to the open sea.

We also visit Milford Sound, where we glide over calm waters between weather-scuffed rocks even as Mitre Peak beckons us from a distance. But compared with Doubtful Sound, this one is crowded with busloads of camera-wielding tourists rending the tranquillity with their clicks and chatter.

(Excerpted from an article published in Frontline dated June 9, 2017)

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