Monday, 10 March 2014

dancing dolphins and killer congers - a fishy tale from Doubtful Sound

A drizzly morning on Doubtful Sound

I am getting behind.

I haven't told you about the dolphins on Doubtful Sound.

It was an exhilarating 24 hours out with the great guys from Deep Cove Charters on my overnight cruise.

'Yes' it was beautiful.

'Yes' it was just as good as Milford Sound

and 'yes' I would do it again tomorrow if I could.


there were moments when I thought I was in an action adventure movie along the lines of Jurassic Park

We were just 5 guests, due to luck and it being the end of the season.

It all started innocently with a cruise past the lushly forested rocks and a delicious lobster lunch.

We looked for penguins, but they were out fishing.

We admired the podocarps ( tree ferns)

We looked for dolphins…….

We found five.

They swam under the boat a few times and then played around in a show that might have been at Sea World. Just for the joy of it. Not a free fish or trainer in sight.

sorry; I didn't have a telephoto lens handy……...

All delightful.

Much better than Sea World, and the rocks that looked like fake rocks were actually real, whereas at Sea World the fake rocks look like fake rocks.

real rocks 

Everyone elated.

Time for a little fishing to catch some supper.

Pop a rod into the water , and within 3 minutes the first fish came up, followed by several more in rapid succession.

Fern gets the first catch

the first 3 

Soon we had enough for tea.

next stop the lobster pots to pick up tomorrow's lunch.

They were full of lobsters.

bringing in the lobsters

We popped them in a box too.

Everybody happy.

On we sailed.

We passed a few waterfalls. Those of you who know me will know that I am not a big fan of photographing waterfalls. I just don't see the attraction. Even if they are 1000m high like the one we saw, a photo will never do it justice. But I felt obliged to point my camera at a couple out of politeness to the group.

one of the many

Time for some more lobster pots.

This time a small problem.

Conger eels.

Large, strong and with teeth that can bite a hand off.

conger eels
The difficulty for our captain was to remove the lobsters without getting eaten by the conger.

If it was me  I would have let the whole lot go.

But no.

We had a dramatic few minutes while he tried to maim the eels sufficiently to get the lobsters out and then tip the eels back into the briny.

Tense moments. Everybody very quiet.

Mission accomplished. On to the next pot.

Another conger. Same problem.

different solution

This time the conger won the first round.

It jumped out of the lobster pot and landed down by our feet.

I screamed. Everyone else moved back very fast. Fern climbed up a nearby ladder. I followed her.

What followed was not pleasant and I will spare you the details, but lets just say that the captain won round two.

During this episode one of the lobsters made a move …..

I was still up a ladder so was really not bothered.

'it's behind you'

He was marched back into his box.

Everybody very relieved, and a bit shocked after all the excitement.

Time for a cup of tea and a game of scrabble to calm us down.

By which time the penguin was back from fishing and normal order was restored.

if you look carefully you will see a penguin