The sound of water

Firstly, I’d like to start today’s blog with a heartfelt apology to my lovely, hard-working brother-in-law, Hugh, for my tactless comment regarding chocolate companies yesterday (Hugh works for Mars – D’OH!). Hugh – I’m sorry, it was nothing personal – I was just standing on my usual soap-box regarding global corporations and only realised today how I could have caused offence to my nearest and dearest, oops. I hope you weren’t overly offended and, more the the point (and incredibly hypocritically), I hope this doesn’t lead to the drying up of my familial supply of maltesers!

Anyway, grovelling over, I shall briefly describe my first impressions of the world-famous Milford Sound fjordland (brief because internet is extortionate at this far-flung corner of the world and I have once again completely blown my budget by signing up for a nature cruise and a kayaking experience whilst I’m here – my hand must have slipped on the credit card machine).

My first glimpse of Milford Sound was from the bus window as I woke from a heavy sleep – the sight of the foreboding mountains made me jolt wide-awake as I struggled to take it all in. The landscape here is dominated by rock and water. It’s a harsh environment – all sharp edges and imposing sheer faces. You can tell it has been scoured out by coarse ice; it lacks any of kind of curved softnesss. Water seems to be everywhere – in hundreds of thread-like waterfalls tumbling down the granite faces from high above, in rushing rivers and streams below, in the rain-heavy low cloud hovering in the valleys and imprisoned within the dusting of snow on the jagged peaks.

It is beautiful – there’s no doubt of that. But it’s a raw, savage beauty. One to be respected rather than cooed over. We arrived to a white sky, with no sunshine, and that felt right. This place needs to brood. I felt like the stony-faced mountains were gravely granting us passage. In fact, this road is often closed due to snow or rockfalls, showing that the environment is indeed in charge here – it felt like you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of these serious, unforgiving peaks.

The only colour to break up the monochrome greys and whites is the Fangorn-like forest at the base of the hills. The trees drip moss from their boughs, and lichen from their foliage. But even this colour is somehow grey-scaled – it’s a solemn green, like khaki and camouflage.

I am deeply impressed by the environment, but feel awed and subdued rather than bubbling enthusiasm. I am fascinated by how keenly my environment affects my mood – I’m sure this is the same for everyone.

Anyway, enough muted musings – I shall hopefully bring you photos and news of my cruise (that rhymes!) tomorrow…

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