Doubtful sound covers a very large area with three arms off the main sound and connecting with both Thompson and Bradshaw sounds so we thought it deserved it's own post. It has also been one of our favourite with it's high peaks, interesting walks, friendly few people and large wildlife population. As is often the case we ended up staying longer than anticipated.
We entered through Thompson sound and dropped anchor in Deas' cove as darkness fell. Our next days walk was very hurried due to the huge population of sandflies we encountered. In such circumstances you really have to move fast, or even better go for a sail which solved the problem perfectly.
There was a mounting onshore land breeze such that when we arrived in Deep Cove, the terminus at the inland end, we did not like the look of the recommended 'all weather' anchorage. We sailed around finding only very deep water. We furled our jib and motored another time around right up close to the steep sides and were hailed by the captain of a big motor boat. He suggested we take a buoy over by the hostel and invited us for coffee the following morning before his tourist trips. The buoy looked so near the shore that we'd discounted it as for a dinghy!
It was really interesting talking to Paul and his crew about their lives there. They worked 7 days on, 7 off and lived together in a house provided by the company whilst at work since the only access to Doubtful sound is either by sea (a long way) or as the tourists do; a ferry ride across lake Manapouri followed by a 21km coach ride on the unsealed road. They need to have the boat ready before the day trippers arrive. He was filling up with fuel. This boat uses 300 litres of Diesel per hour (about what we've used since Bora Bora) and so he fills up 3,000 every other day! One of the reasons the tourist day package is a pricey one.
Paul was really helpful in suggesting where we might be able to anchor in each arm and what we might hope to see. He was originally a fellow Brit but now lives in Te Anau with his family on his weeks off and has had sailing boats himself.
Once their passengers arrived we went over to meet the hostel manager Billy and also the relief manager as it was his fortnight off and he was preparing to go tuna fishing. They were both really friendly and helpful. We were able to buy internet time and hot showers then find out about all the local trails.
The short walks from deep cove were some of the most fun of our whole trip. The pouring rain wasn't able to dampen our spirits since it just made the waterfalls better!
Our comedy yellow mac has come in very handy over the last few weeks. Not so suitable for the more demanding walks but it's great as a wind and rain stopper whilst we're sailing. The walk just above Deep cove hostel really stood out for us both. It was a rugged track that though well marked really kept you on your toes and ended at the steep rock face of the hanging falls.
See the orange triangle? The waterfall IS the track! The temperate rainforest bush of this whole area is beautiful, peaceful and full of life going about it's quiet or sometimes quite noisy way.
Yes indeedy, a photo of something other than a mountain or waterfall! *1 task completed...
After some heavy socialising with Billy and his friends we sailed up Hall arm, reported to be the most spectacular. It may well be, we couldn't see much... so when the wind died completely we had to motor most of the way to the end of crooked arm.
From the end of Crooked arm at Haulashore cove there is a trail (of sorts) across to Dagg sound (Dy'a like Daggs? 'Snatch')
We lost the track for a bit so got pretty wet and seed covered on this 'tramp' *2 Task complete, walk between two sounds...
Then we ran away from the sandflies that were chasing us to Snug cove in First arm where we awoke to a beautiful sunrise.
There are several islands in the wide entrance to Doubtful sound so on our way out we decided to stop and try our *3 task and dive into the icy depths.... I can tell you that we weren't disappointed, the variety and amount of life in the rocky steep sides of the Fjord were amazing, however, we didn't linger. We stayed just long enough for Duncan to snag this guy, a huge spiny rock lobster. He was so big he needed a new cooking method and fed us for three meals. * 4 tasks complete... 7 more to go...