Day 7. Boats and Worms
Here it’s Wednesday the 14th so it’s kind of confusing when to make dedications. But today (yesterday?) is dedicated to ALICIA KEISER! Happy Birthday to you also! She wanted today to be dedicated to her uncle Gary Sokol. Sadly he passed in 2014. He fought Cancer 3 times in 8 years.. I met Alicia at the DAVE school. I didn’t know it then but it was the hardest thing she has ever gone through. He loved to travel and meant the world to her. In the DAVE school she went into gaming while I went into visual effects. She’s compassionate and hard working. She followed her dream and landed a job at King Show Games in Minnesota. Thank you for the donation Alicia! I’ll be posting a picture later for you and Gary.
We started out the day eating sandwiches and and fruit, while Igor wanted to try ‘Chicken Chips’?
Didn’t taste too bad. Not much of a chicken taste. Lol. I had a banana and a ham and cheese with mustard sandwich. Mmmm. It seems everywhere we go, not just lame breakfast foods, but any food here in NZ tastes amazingg. Is it just because of sore muscles or because it tastes that good?
Not exactlyyyy my cup of tea for this trip but we decided to take a bus to a small guided ship to go through Milford Sound. The 8th wonder of the world? Lol Don’t get me wrong, the views and waterfalls we saw were awesome!
So this huge bus pulls up and an elderly gentlemen steps out and says in his Kiwi/Aussie accent, “Eyyy meh names Bruce”. Finding Nemo anyone?? Haha I got him to say it again when we left and I recorded it. So I’ll post that later. He tells us that the drive will take about 2 hours then we will hop on a ship to cruise around Milford sound, then we will stop off at an underwater observatory, then come back and hop back on the bus for another 2 hour ride back.
Kind of a pampered trip really…
It seems the jostling and warm bus just rocks everyone to sleep. At least our heads were nodding. Bruce has a headset on to talk to everyone and talks about things and jokes and such. They were all kinda funny in a cheesy way I guess. Let me see if I can remember one…ok.
“You’re riding on a horse.. there is an elephant beside you going at the same speed as you. There is a lion behind you can you cannot overtake the horse in front of you… what do you do??”
“I don’t know about you but I would get off the merry-go-round”. Harrrr de harrr
“Name a sport that is 4 letters and starts with a T. ”
“Golf.” ..because it starts with a ‘Tee’ get it?
So he keeps telling us jokes and asking about scenarios.
We also stop off at a handful of scenic views winding our way through this HUGE valley.
It almost constantly rains here, so there are hundreds of waterfalls that stream down from the tops of these mountains up in the clouds. This kind of view realllly makes you feel small. We got out to take some pictures before going into a tunnel through the mountains. It had a digital display saying how long before we could enter. It said like 5 minutes. Bruce said we could get out, it was ok if we missed that one but should be back for the next one. He told us about a bird called the ‘Kea’? I guess it just loves to tear stuff apart. He said if you were on a motorcycle to beware because it would try and rip up your seats! He told us a story about one getting inside someone’s car and totally destroying it. Lol. Here is one that we saw beside the tunnel. He also mentioned along the way that the movie Alien Covenant was filmed right outside of Milford sound. Not sure who has seen it, but I could tell the scenery looked the same.
We stopped at another place called, “Mirror Lakes”. I guess the lake was so reflective that you could take a picture of it and it would look like the mountain. Kind of a neat idea they did here. I figure any lake could be a mirror lake? Haha
I’ll post much better pictures. I think the blog is to kind of give you the idea rather than the polished photos? So you’ll have to be following my fb page “The Hope Hike” to see much better pictures I take.
We finally arrive at a big building in Milford Sound and Bruce say sometimes there are 50 busses there. When we got on the bus he walked down the row and asked where people were from. Said I was Canadian and from New Brunswick. They don’t get a ton of Canadians here I guess? What is crazy is that at one point on the bus ride I was hearing 4 different languages at the same time. They have lots of Germans and Swiss that come here and many Chinese and Japanese. So I hear Swiss, German, Chinese and Japanese all talking at the same time. Here I thought Toronto was a melted pot of people from different countries.
We all get off the bus and head inside.. I look back and see Bruce carrying a heavy box and too many things! I ask if I can give him a hand. He says “Sure! Classic Canadian” haha I guess that’s a stereotype I don’t mind..? Heh Even though some consider me an American I still have that Canadian heart!
We board our 2 level boat and disembark. Bottom floor is enclosed and they have seats and tables.
The upper floor is wide open except for a few places to sit.
The ..pilot.. no. The director..no.. umm the Captain! Speaks over the intercom quite a bit talking about the history of Milford Sound.
That pretty much describes what we saw and did. We stopped super close to some huge waterfalls so the front of the boat was getting a ton of spray from the falls. At one point he said, “If you want to wake up, head to the upper deck” Igor has a water proof phone and my case on my phone is also supposed to be water proof. We didn’t get right under the falls but the water was hitting the lake so hard that it was incredibly windy so it felt like we were in a huge wind storm where it was all spray. Like a giant water bottle misting our bodies at 50Mph! So Igor got some got shots and I got some of the water fall and him.
(I figure I’ll put my photos in my blog for those that need a better visual to what I’m talking about)
Igor and I are both amazed at this place. We understand why film makers and cinema photographers love it here. It feels like you aren’t on earth anymore. Huge rock walls with waterfalls falling from way above the clouds! I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. Like you’re in a green bathtub that you can’t see the top off and people are pouring water on the ledges of both sides to make trickles of streams come down the sides. Lol
We pull up at this dock and are all asked to hope off the ship and take our belongings. They are taking another group back to the main building. They will be back in 45 minutes. We go in with like 30 people and a new Kiwi starts talking to us. He talks about how the observatory was built and how it’s actually floating.
He guides us down a 50 step stairwell tube taking us underwater but inside. We get to the bottom and there are about 20 windows spread out around the outer permitter. You could walk around and read the small plaques that talk about what wildlife we might see out there. Sea cucumbers, star fish, small fish, red fish, blue fish. Because we are looking not into an aquarium but into the ocean, anything was possible. He would tell us to watch out for small sharks and stingrays also. Just saw smaller fish and he talked about and pointed out things through the windows. Everyone would gather around and I would just go to the opposite side and listen and look out my own window like I was going to see something amazing that they didn’t see? Lol Who knows maybe a shark would come and eat another fish right in front of my face?? Or not. Wishful thinking. We walked back up the spiral steps to find out boat had come back to get us. It actually only took 10 minutes to get us back to the main building when it took 45 to get us to the observatory. Just because he stopped a lot. Oh yea! We did stop and see a handful of seals playing in the water and sun bathing in the rocks!
I have a video I’ll post later.
We get back to the main lodge and hop back on board our big red bus. We take a few bathroom stops and a few scenic stops as well. A couple short hikes through woods to see more waterfalls, streams and such.
Bruce drops a bunch of us off at our campsite and Thara when I ask him if he has ever seen finding Nemo. “No sah I haven’t” I just ask if I can record him saying “Hi, my names Bruce”. So he does it. Off request I’m sure.
Igor and I try to figure out plans for the following day (today) and see if there are any day hikes around the area. Not much! We end up scheduling a shuttle to take us to Queenstown at 11:20am the next day. We also have tickets to see Glowworms in caves at 9pm. So we head out to get dinner, and some more breakfast for the following morning. We also stop off at an outsides store where he picks up new trekking poles and I grab a new pair of socks. I’m not sure what the issue is with the balls of my feet? It hurts to put pressure on them and I can see they are both starting to callus or have deep little blisters? Eh I’ll try using one pair of good socks rather than 2? (All sorts of factors involved. Sorry Michael I’m going to try a pair of single trekking socks over 2 pairs of thin and thick.) I also put on some moleskin over my two ‘hot spots’. It’s basically like thick circular bandaids with a hole in the center so your blister doesn’t chafe more. So we are planing some hiking either today or tomorrow and looked at hikes to do. Igor said he might possible come with me for a day hike then go back and I could carry on the rest of the way if I felt up to it. Queenstown is where he flies out of in 3 days so we got a campsite till he leaves.
It’s a 20 min walk to get to the center of town and we go to a place that we are told to to check in for the glow worms thingy.
There is a vessel to take us across the lake to where the caves are. This ship is similar to the one we rode earlier.
Also saw a ship I just HAD to get a picture of.
So there are about 50 people on board this ship and I quickly notice 98% of them are Asian. Lol They go over the safety rules about the boat while I read about the fact that we won’t be able to take photos or video of the worms?? Kind of upset I talked about grabbing one and taking one home with me!! We were supposed to keep our phones in our pockets and not take them out…
We arrive and disembark after a 20 min ride to the other side of the lake. It’s 9pm so it’s dark out. One guy who works there says that they have a room for an English presentation and one for mandarin. So we go into a smaller room with two other people. I guess we are the only English speakers??
So he talks over a video presentation running behind him on a large tv. Talking about how the worms, like fireflies create light from their bums! Except glow worms create sticky lines of silk that they lower down into caves to ‘fish’ for small insects and flies. There are droplets on the silk lines that stick to and paralyze its victims. Many flying insects like to fly toward the light and that’s when they would run into the lines of silk and the worm would just pull up their line and enjoy a nice meal! The larva lives for 9 months to eat and turn instead into a cocoon. After it hatches a fly will emerge and it will only have 5 days to mate and die. Kind of interesting life!
After the presentation the guy took all of us down into some caves where people had created nice metal scaffolding to walk through the caves on. “No cameras! The first part of the caves is the lower part so watch your head. Duck under the red light!”
As we walk through the caves he has a flashlight in dark areas that he reveals the light then covers it with his hand. We can see tiny little blue lights on the ceiling of the cave! Some turning off but it seems many are grouped together in large patches on the wall and ceiling. So cool! I’m not as upset at the back of the line I see if i can get a picture but the lights are so faint that without a long exposure picture you can’t see anything but black.
He walks us down to an area where there are small boats inside the cave with about 6 seats facing outward on each side. The entire time there is a big steam beneath us under the metal grating and the sound of a huge waterfall is close by. There was a large metal chain that linked one side to the other and it seemed our guide was just pulling us around slowly around in our boat. It was almost pitch dark and he would stop under each patch of glowworms. It was really cool! To only see lights of these insects and how they would reflect on the top of the water. Such a cool experience! We did a circle and went back the way we came stopping at the huge waterfall we heard. I snapped a picture of the waterfall after he turned the light out to leave..
So we ended up heading back out the same way we came in. Once we got outside I guess I didn’t realize that I never really looked up to see the sky. Even though there was some light pollution the stars were SO bright we could see the milky ways with our bare eyes! If it weren’t so late I would have wanted to just sit and stargaze! Anyway, I should post this before everyone goes to bed! Lol
“If you can dream it you can do it.” -Walt Disney