We were on the road by 7:00 am. Just could bring along stuff for overnight. We headed down Lake Wakatipu. Cloudy. Rainy. What’s new, right? Stopped in Garston for potty break. Then on to Manapouri. Odd that the harbor there is called Pearl Harbour given today’s date. We had to be there to catch a big boat (ferry) for 45-minute trip across the lake. So, only brief stops. It takes about 2.5 hours to get from Queenstown down to Manapouri. Then onto a big bus and over the pass and down to Deep Cove on Doubtful Sound.

So, around lunchtime, we boarded our boat. Just the 16 of us. And two crew (Sean and Maria). We sailed on Doubtful Sound and other arms and sounds that connect. Even got all the way out into the Tasman Sea for a few minutes – quite a bit rougher out there! Again, lots of rain and clouds, but it brings lots of texture to the photographs we’re taking.

One treat both in the evening and again the next morning was to see a few Fiordland Yellow Crested Penguins, who are only in this area during mating season. Very small. Very shy.  We had an elegant lunch. Then later we had muffins. Later again there was a cheese and dip plate. This was followed by Maria donning a wetsuit and scuba tank and diving to bring up some huge crayfish (their lobsters). And, in the rain covered by ponchos, many of our group fished for dinner catching sea perch. Dinner consisted of freshly baked rolls, leek and potato soup, a huge half of a crayfish – I mean huge, then a salad covered with roasted new potatoes and the fish we had caught plus some other fish they had from a buy that morning. Dessert was sticky date pudding. And we had good NZ white and red wine.

The accommodations are tight. Dave M, Stewart, and I shared a cabin with Dave above us in a single and the other two of us sharing a double. Quite a sight, I must say. Slept on and off all night. Stewart was out like a rock and didn’t move, I think.

Got up at 6:00 when they started the engines. Had cleared off overnight, so nice morning light to shoot. Had a full cooked breakfast at 7:00 as we headed back to Deep Cove. Nice penguin sighting.

I think I took about 1,400 pictures altogether. Lots of bracketing to see if you could get the light and color just right.

Got back to Deep Cove about 9:30. Coffee in Manapouri. On the road to Te Anou, a few miles away, for meat pies for lunch. I had venison. Yum. Then the long drive back to Queenstown arriving around 4:15 and checking in again to our hotel.

Went out to dinner with a group of six. Same restaurant as the last time here … had rack of lamb followed by gelato (pistachio fig). Yes, I seem to be off my diet. Will have to resume back home!

A couple of comments. I am happy with both the clothes I’ve brought and my equipment overall. I certainly have the fewest lenses and stuff of the entire group (perhaps save one person), but am pleased with my shots. And it’s been chilly and rainy. I’ve worn five layers most of the days here … T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, micro down vest, Scott vest, thin down jacket. Been good.

Going to a meeting room tonight at 8:00 to see pix from my roommate, Dave M, and also from Dave S, both professional photographers. Should be really fun. Then up tomorrow to get my rental car from Hertz and follow the van to Mt. Cook.



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