Lindblad Expeditions - From the Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand - Malcolm Campbell, National Geographic staff; Photo

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From the Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand

Jan 24, 2013 - Oceanic Discoverer

Bottlenose dolphin in Dusky Sound

Doubtful Sound to Dusky Sound

This morning we awoke to a gloriously fine day at anchor in Doubtful Sound, after breakfast we began our extensive cruise through the arms and around the islands of this, the second largest of the 13 fiords within Fiordland National Park, which encompasses a total land area in excess of 3.25 million acres.

After bypassing Dusky Bay (Dusky Sound) in the Endeavour in 1770, Captain James Cook came to a small narrow opening in the land where there appeared to be a snug harbour. But there was a large island (Bauza Island) lying in the middle of the opening with only a narrow channel on each side and because of the prevailing winds he continued north naming the bay Doubtful Harbour. It wasn’t until April 1810 when Capt. John Grono, a sealer with his vessel Governor Bligh entered the sound, although it was the Spanish who first entered the sound by long-boat 16 years before in an expedition commanded by the Italian Malaspina.

Today Doutbful Sound is the second most visited fiord, after Milford, as in the 1960s a hydro-power project was constructed at the head of Lake Manapouri, which involve the building of a tail-race tunnel through the mountains, to empty into the Sound at Deep Cove. This project required a road to be constructed over the mountains; today visitors can travel up the lake over the pass and take a limited day-trip on the fiord. Thus opening up one of this country’s real treasures.

This afternoon saw us steaming south to Dusky Sound to be escorted in by the resident pod of dolphins.

An absolutely glorious day—it really does not get much better.

About the Author

Malcolm Campbell·National Geographic Staff

Native New Zealander Malcolm Campbell is a professional naturalist and birder who has worked for 20 years on conservation and environmental issues in his country's national parks, forests, and coastal marine environments. He has led many National Geographic Expeditions in New Zealand and will share his in-depth knowledge of his country's people, political history, flora and fauna, and indigenous Mâori culture.