Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Sounds


Did you know that the difference between a sound and a fiord are actually differences, and that Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are actually Fiords?

I didn't.

But then I did.

Bascially a sound is a valley submerged under water, usually created by a river. It has a V shape.

A fiord (or fjord, same pronunciation), is created by a glacier, and has a U shape. Very interesting.

Originally Doubtful Sound was called Doubtful Harbor, by Captain Cook. It's called that because he was doubtful he could get into the Fiord and back out. The Spanish came by later and changed the name to 'Sound' in an effort to be more accurate. The name's stuck. Besides, Doubtful Sound has a nicer ring to it than Doubtful Fiord.

Yesterday we went to Milford, today we went to Doubtful. The night was spent in the cutest little trailer park/ cabin rental area. Customized cabins, comics on the toilet cubicle walls (some funny, others way above my head)… just the cutest little place.

I think the general family opinion was that Doubtful was better than Milford. I'm not completely sure, though. Milford had these small white particles that made the water look slightly star-spangled. I was too busy getting buffeted by gusts of wind to bother getting the camera from Mom and trying to take a picture, though.

On the second deck (there were three, first, second, third/top), a group of about eight Chinese men were either watching or playing a game of cards, complete with Chinese money (I think. I haven't seen a New Zealand Dollar yet to ascertain if it's red or pink) being lain down for betting. Their wives were discussing all manner of things. I think the cruise was their socialization time. It was hilarious.

Very beautiful trip, but not as personal as the Doubtful Sound trip. There was a French couple, and probably two British couples, one old, one young. And we were just smiling at each other the entire time, which made it feel ten times more friendly.

Our driver drove a speed boat, a bus, and a slightly bigger boat, all while talking out facts from his head. Dad seemed to be amazed.

I want to be able to do that, and effortlessly. It's going to take time and commitment.

Sometimes I hate those words.

Anyway.

Doubtful Sound was more interesting simply because we saw the power station, which relies on using the water from the fiord to drop it down to sea level to move huge turbines. The outtake depends on the fiord's water level, which depends on rainwater. The power station is now controlled by a little guy in a little room with a little remote control hours away from the actual station. 

We got a tour of that (there is actually no room to turn around for larger vehicles— back then they'd go back the 2.1km in reverse, in the pitch black because lights were dangerous).

Definitely fantastic.

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