Day 14 is a little different as there are two sides of the day. My side and my fiancé. I’m going to start with mine because is the unpleasant one and I want to end this post on a high.
When we felt for New Zealand it was at the beginning of the pandemic. At that point though New Zealand had 2 cases and the UK maybe 200. New Zealand wasn’t a risk country so even if you wanted to cancel there was no way for us to cancel and claimed our money from our insurance. So we crossed our fingers and decided to enjoy our holiday. And we did up to this point.
Throughout our holiday I keep an eye on the news and especially on what airlines were doing with there flight. Emirates had a page on their website with all routes that they were cancelling and when. And when I woke up on the 14th day I saw the dreaded news… Emirates was stopping all flights to London Stansted fro the 25th and our flight was scheduled for the 28th.
So at the point, I told my fiancé to go do the dive, after all, he is way more passionate about diving that me, and I would stay back to call the airline and find a solution.
So my fiancé got ready and I called the airline. I think I was around 1,5 hour on hold maybe more before they picked up the phone. I explained the situation and they told me that Emirates was still flying to London Heathrow so they could put us on a flight to Heathrow. Now the tricky part was that they had flights on the 26th and the or 28th for free and then 27th but we had to pay extra. We were on the South Island and our fightback to Auckland was on the 27th. I was very tempted to take the fight on the 26th but I had no guaranty that I could change our NZ fight to Auckland to leave earlier. So I opted for the flight on the 28th. And I chose poorly but that a story for the next blog. I ask the lady on the phone if Emirates was planning on cancelling more flight and she told me “no, but things change every day so please keep an eye”. At this point, the crisis was averted.
So as you can guess I didn’t go to Milford Sound. Everything I’m writing below is what my fiancé reported to me to help me write this post. I hope I’ll do it justice.
We had booked with Descend Dive Club and as every company, we had booked with they were amazing. First of all, a month or so in the Fiordland they had horrible floods that destroyed part of the only route to get to Milford Sound and since it had recently reopened and the route was still little damaged they offered to come and picked us app. Then when my fiancé paid for the diving since I didn’t show up we were perfectly fine with still paying for my spot (which is normal in those kinds of activities), and yet they didn’t charge us with I was so grateful for (it turned out we would need every pound we could spear).
Anyway, they came and picked my fiancé at around 7 in the morning from our lodgement and made their way to Milford.
The sceneries along the route like expected were amazing. The stop at a couple of viewpoints to take some photos.
The drive took around 1,5 to 2 hours to arrived. There they were given the diving equipment. We had booked dry suites because well 16°C water temperature is not one that you want to dive with a wet suit on. My fiancé told the that the equipment that they had was very good quality and very well maintained. The even gave then diving computers. This was also because after the dives the needed to route to go back climbs at around 640m of altitude. And for those how don’t know after diving you are not allowed to go above a certain altitude for a certain amount of time after the dive. So they were given all diving computers the instructor can make sure that everybody has gone through they decompression time before the start the drive back home.
Anyways, after getting ready and putting the boat in the water, they all climbed aboard and sailed toward the opening of the fiord for a little scenery tour.
On their way, they saw some very cute seals just sunbathing on their rock.
And then they when to Dale Point to see the above rock formation that looks like two little turtles kissing!
Then it was finally time for the first dive.
So the reason why is so interesting to dive in Milford sound it’s because you have all those waterfalls spilling fresh water into the sea creating an approximately 3 meters fresh water. This layer is all filled with soil and leaves and everything that comes down from the mountain which means that this layer lets little light go through. And as a result of the lack of light means one of the highest concentration of black coral trees in the world (the trees are actually white) that are normally growing at depths of 100 metres plus. You can see one of those corals on the right photo below.
The first dive lasted around 35 to 40 minutes. When they got out of the water the crew had prepared some sandwiches for lunch and hot beverages. They then anchored the boat and got off land to go explore some impressive waterfalls, before heading to their next diving spot for the second dive of the say.
The second dive last again around 35 to 40 minutes and then it was time to get dry, change and slowly make their way back.
On their way back they again and a couple of viewpoints were in one of them they were treated by Kea parrots.
Like all the experience we had so far this was again an amazing one. It makes me sad that I wasn’t there to experience it by myself and be able to describe in more details how it was. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to go back and visit Milfort Sound.
This was our last day in Te Anau. The next day we packed our stuff and made our way back to Queenstown.
Unfortunately, this where our amazing time ended. The next day the pandemic finally caught up with us and it was the beginning of the end. I plan to write one last blog about this trip that will include an overall retelling of our last 7 days in lockdown, how we got stranded and how we managed to get back to the UK out of sheer luck. However, I will not get into too many details because I want to remember and write about the good times not the bad.
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I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure and I hope I’ll go back and be able to write even more adventure about the wonderful country.