New Zealand 2015 – Part Seven (Doubtful Sound)

With Te Anau as our base, we took an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. A sound is a  narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land. New Zealand is well-known for two sounds – Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. We were indeed blessed to have had a chance to visit both; and we must say, they are very, very, different.

Doubtful Sound is a fjord that is peaceful and serene, and is home to a variety of flora and fauna, such as fur seals, seagulls and crayfish. At over 400m deep, it is surrounded by lots of waterfalls that flow endlessly when it rains (more on that later!). We signed up for an overnight cruise with Deep Cove Charters – we strongly recommend them if you are considering visiting the sound. 🙂 We gathered at Manapouri Doubtful Sound Visitor Centre to start our journey.

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The cruise was a small boat that housed 6 of us – it was almost like a privately chartered boat! On the top deck we had a communal eating and lounging space, and at the bottom we had sleep cabins. For most of day one, we were busy spotting wildlife – seagulls, dolphins, fur seals, albatrosses, Fiordland crested penguins… these were just some of the few we spotted. We even went out to the Tasman Sea, which gave us very, very bad motion sickness. Please be prepared if you do head out! Photos below!

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It was delightful to be at close proximity to wild wildlife. We really enjoyed it!

Next up, we tried our hands at catching crayfish. New Zealand is pretty well known for its freshwater crayfish, otherwise better known as rock lobsters. Because New Zealand regulations require sustainable fishing, only crayfish beyond a certain age are allowed to be caught. This is measured by minimum legal tail sizes of the crayfish, and corresponds with the escape gaps that are used in crayfish nets, so that juvenile crayfish will not be caught before they mature and breed. Isn’t that cool!?

This is what we caught after a few hours – crayfish that were bigger than our faces:

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Told you we weren’t kidding about the size… 

Well okay, we didn’t exactly catch them either. Haha. In fact while the cages were lowered, we did some kayaking. It was drizzling a little and there was a light fog, but the streams of waterfalls cascading down the cliffs were just so, so beautiful.

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What say you? 😀

We kayaked in the sound for about an hour. The feeling was so liberating and the waters were so unbelievably still. But soon we got hungry… so… we returned to the boat, where a crayfish feast awaited us.

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How’s this for tea? 😀

After our satisfying FEAST, we then tried our hands at some fishing.

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We soon realised that somebody had a real talent for fishing. In fact, he caught enough fish to feed the whole boat that night. He even caught (by accident) a reef shark, that was mighty strong and SCARY. It tried to bite all of us and we had a hard time trying to unhook it and release it back into the water!

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Disclaimer: We released this reef shark back almost immediately, the moment it stopped struggling and attempting to bite us.

AND, the fish that we caught was what we had for dinner! We even had sashimi… 🙂 The chef on board was amazing.

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With satisfied tummies, we took a hot shower, and retired for the night.

***

The next morning, we did quite a bit of dolphin spotting. Our captain was awesome at locating them! Doubtful Sound is home to a permanent pod of dolphins who love interacting with people. They even put on a show just for us! They were so playful and adorable. For this, we put our cameras aside to savour every moment – our last chance at the Sound before heading home.

<Previous: New Zealand 2015 – Part 6 (Te Anau)

Next: New Zealand 2015 – Part 8 (Milford Sound)>

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

xoxo,
The Bears
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