Media Release - Cruise for a Cause aides the penguins
Friday 4th September, 2015
Doubtful Sound came up trumps yet again for last weekend’s Real Journeys’ Cruise-for-a-Cause and its chosen charity, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.
The persistent drizzle, Fiordland is a rain forest after all, was just what was needed to produce a totally memorable atmosphere for this shake-down cruise in preparation for the start of the new tourist season. Everything went according to plan and the full complement of 72 guests revelled in the sublime natural setting.
Those on board had heard about the trip through the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s networks, some having come from as far away as Auckland and the Manawatu.
The trip began in Manapouri where the guests gathered to board a Real Journeys’ vessel to take them across the lake, followed by a coach ride over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove. There, we boarded Fiordland Navigator for the start of a truly spectacular 24-hour trip in one of New Zealand’s most remarkable places.
This trip was the final preparation for Real Journeys’ staff before the tourism season begins. And what a team! Their enthusiasm for the wonders of the fiords, wildlife, weather and even the sandflies (not that they were too bad) was infectious.
Saturday’s clearing skies provided a different appreciation of the splendour of the area. Afternoon activities included an optional kayak, small boat cruise or even a polar plunge, which about a dozen brave souls took on in mere 8.9O waters! Hot showers and soup immediately after were welcome revivers.
Due to the calm sea conditions, we were able to view not only the seal colony at the entrance to Doubtful Sound, but also to do a bit of a trawl around in the Tasman Sea, and we appreciated the grandeur of this fiord as we re-entered in the fading light at day’s end. Shortly afterwards, we enjoyed a banquet of all sorts of wonderful dishes, beautifully prepared by the on board chef and his team. Wines and juices flowed, as did the conversations, and the evening ended with a nature presentation by the on board guide.
Sunday drizzle greeted the morning which provided wonderful reflections and misty scenes like paintings as yet unfinished. At the top of Hall Arm the Captain turned off the engines and we appreciated hearing bird song floating from the shore, the fierceness of the water as it fell sometimes from 600m above us, and generally enjoying Zen moments.
Other highlights included the Captain manoeuvring Fiordland Navigator so close to the cliff that we were able to fill our glasses with water cascading off the sheer rock faces, filtered by the overhanging vegetation. He was able also to bring the boat close enough to shore for us to view Fiordland Crested penguins roosting near their cave.
More than $15,000 has been raised from the sale of tickets to support the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s continued monitoring of yellow-eyed penguins on Rakiura / Stewart Island over the next breeding season. Thank you Real Journeys for this wonderful opportunity both to raise funds and to appreciate this world class location.