Friday, February 1, 2013

Being a Tourist

Takahe. Larger-than-life replica of the endangered Takahe.
A native bird only known from a small area of Murchison Mtns.
in Fiordland. They have now reared some in captivity.
I'm treating myself to being a tourist - some things I never saw in Fiordland when I was a student. Last night I took a boat ride across Lake Te Anau to Luxmore Cave (NOTE: Minnesotans, As far as caves go, Mystery cave in SE MN is in my view far superior, but this one has glow worms). Today I took the trip across Lake Manapouri to the Intake for the Hydro Power Station, bus ride across Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound, and a nature Cruise on Doubtful Sound, followed by the return bus ride to the Power Station, and a visit to it, followed by a return trip across Lake Manapouri. Well worth shelling out the big bucks. I also spent quite a bit of time thinking about / planning my work. I'm not sure how I'm going to get things done, but I'm certainly motivated.

These two guys walked along theTe Anau beach with a box of beer
and their fishing rods, and ambled out to the end of the pier at about 5pm.
They were still there at 10:30 pm.
View across Lake Te Anau from Luxmore Cave.

En route back from Luxmore Cave in the evening.
Looking west from Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound.
Navigating the route out to the Tasman Sea.
Fur Seals (okay, black dots) on islands at entrance to Doubtful Sound.
This is the Tasman Sea. Next stop East Antarctica!
Rock avalanche / tree avalanche scars. There was a big earthquake here in 2003,
and the scars that have started to revegetate largely formed during the earthquake.  the recent (white)
one is about a year old - related to extra-heavy rain.
Luckily this was not an experience we had.
The power station is all underground. Intake is in Lake manapouri. Water drops down
penstocks to turbines that are just above sea level, and water is let out into Doubtful sound).
An incredible feat of engineering. The road from the station over to Doubtful
Sound isn't attached to any other roads - a single function road - and the most expensive road to build in NZ.

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