the marriage of mrs water and mr stone

Yesterday, I got back to base from touring the South of the Southern Island of New Zealand, and… well, my neck is still sore from searching the skies for mountains. The two words most commonly used on this road trip were “OOOOOOH” and “AAAAAAH”. Man, what else can you say when Nature takes off all her clothes, and poses for the centrefold?

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Baby, babyblue. Do you get the blues too?

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White, whiter than the whites of your eyes, so white it hurts the blacks of your eyes.

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Mt. Cook, the tallest peak in NZ. Yes, I have sacrificed many a sheep to the weather Gods. The weather is incredibly unpredictable here; on a bad day you see absolutely nothing. Lucky lucky Andy!

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Camera obscura on the way to Fiordland; Mirror Lakes.

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The roaring road to Fiordland is ripped by rioting rivers.

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Our sturdy vessel for the day; The Milford Wanderer. We have arrived in deepest Fiordland, about to sail out through the Milford Sound, possibly the coolest spot in the universe. Of course, it rains more than 300 days a year here, and as you can tell, the weather Gods had turned their backs on me… or so they thought! Because, after heavy rainfall, the cascading waterfalls come out to play all wild and fat, and suddenly you start to believe in heaven. Besides, as the Milford Wanderer set sail, it stopped raining… lucky lucky Andy!

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Heaven? Or the black cliffs of Mordor? Some of the sights are downright scary! Yelp!

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Words can not explain, nor can cameras do justice to the sheer size, stunning steepness, and pure ‘awesomeness’ of the walls of the Milford Sound. But statistics can try: the Mitre Peak at 1692 metres is the tallest mountain in the world to rise straight up from the water.

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A small waterfall high above, which the wind is shattering into drops, onto lens. Tongue out now.

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This snow-level picture is actually taken just before the worst and darkest and bumpiest and narrowest car-tunnel in the world – the claustrophobia-inducing Homer Tunnel – that leads to the other side of the mountain chain, to the Milford Sound.

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I love waterfalls. For once, I got my fill. In bazillions.

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Did I already tell you I love waterfalls? Because I do. I rilly rilly do.

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Here is another futile attempt at clarifying size: check out the other cruise boats ahead of us. They look like tiny toyboats from a dollhouse against these mighty walls of stone, don’t they? And yet the picture is probably not even halfway to the top…

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The captain thought it would be fun to stick his ship underneath the waterfall and take a cold shower. Hide the Sony! Then get wet.

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One more for the road, sweethearts.

Thanks so much for reading the Pyton Geographic.