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[personal profile] same_difference
So no update the day before yesterday as we were on a cruise on the Doubtful Sound without wifi or phone signal, though I did start drafting this. Yesterday was just tiredness.

We got to Manapouri at about 11:30, and caught our ferry that crossed Lake Manapouri to our coach that went up and over the mountain pass past the hydroelectric power station down to Doubtful Sound. The power station is unique in that it was built without altering the level of the lake (though that took a massive protest and ultimately a change of government to ensure that was the case).

Our boat for the night was called The Navigator had three decks and sails it didn't get to use due to the wrong wind direction. The boat cruised slowly down the sound (for reference a sound is a flooded river basin) pausing briefly for the passengers to go out on small tender boats or kayaks and for the brave to go swimming, before carrying on to the edge of the Tasman Sea. It then moored up halfway back for the night, and sailed the rest of the way back in the morning pausing only for a minutes silence for ANZAC Day.

The food on the boat was great. Muffins shortly after we left, soup just before we went out to the sea's edge, and a delicious and generous buffet main dinner and desert course. Breakfast the next morning was a mix of cooked and continental buffet.

So I spent the day and evening meeting an eclectic mix of people and having a really unusual of mix of conversations.

We spent dinner talking to a basketball playing couple. He a top league Australian current playing for Invercargel in the Australian of season; she an American currently playing in Italy, who is a part of the NZ national team. We discussed our jobs, driving in different countries and the NZ attitude to things.

After dinner while I watched the fish at night from the lights of the boat looking for barracuda I discussed the honeymoon and religion with a Catholic priest from Wyoming name Steve.

After that I chatted to a group while we collectively failed to solve a 3D puzzle. The group consisted of a geeky American au pair from Arizona with liberal views and a masters in social care, a couple from Northern Island one Catholic the other Protestant who were anarchist, and briefly a Germam student. We discussed everything from accents and how that affected your attractiveness to Americans, to Americans college students throwing 'British parties', politics, the NI troubles, jingoism and patriotism and how to (not) solve the puzzle.

Earlier Rachael had talked to the same Au Pair about geeky TV, we'd discussed our honeymoon with an elderly NZ couple, and possibly something else I forget.

The scenery of the sounds was stunning as we'd expected. We once again saw fur seals, this time the females, and a few little blue penguins. Sadly the bottle-nosed dolphins didn't make their precense known. Once again the seals are the reliable animals of this trip.

The next day having made the return journey we drove across country to Dunedin for our stay at Lanarch castle. Saw lots of the native harrier hawks on the way which was nice. The castle is more a manor house, as that's very much what it's design was based on. We're staying in the lodge rather than the main building as that's a tourist attraction. We're in the Scottish room which means pictures of Scotland, men in kilts, tartan pillows and a deer head on the wall.


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