island hopping 🐬
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WOW look at the dolphins! crossing the cook strait from wellington (north island) to picton (south island) on the @interislander_nz ferry isn’t just a mode transportation, it is an incredibly scenic cruise giving us our first look at the marlborough sounds and the magical south island! the huge ocean liner is filled to capacity with 520 passengers and 5100 tons of vehicles (the equivalent of 525 cars or 108 semis). and, one is our campervan agent smith! enjoying the multiple indoor lounges and cafes on a blustery and chilly evening is an ideal way to spend a few hours. braving the elements and venturing out every once and while for the views, J captured the misty mountains, moody skies and calm seas. in the meantime, spotting 50+ dolphins swimming and playing around the boat and it’s wake - such a cool and memorable part of the journey! later learning that it’s another one of WK’s life goals to see jumping dolphins surround a boat like the opening scene of the little mermaid (who knew!), J will never make the mistake again of taking photos first before getting him...he’s more than a little bitter about missing this sight!
View from the #interislanderferry en route to the South Island. As you make your way through the #marlboroughsounds, you see houses nestled into landscapes like this with no roads leading to them, only boat access. But you'll have to trust me on that because I forgot to take a picture of it 🤦🙂
Making Waves in Marlborough Sounds
Māori mythology tells us of the origin of the intricate network of inlets, coves, bays, islands, and forested hills around the northern reaches of South Island. According to legend, a boy named Aoraki—along with three of his brothers and a crew—were boating in the open sea when a storm god crashed their vessel on a reef and flipped it. As the brothers scrambled out of the water, a bitter wind froze them in place and turned everything into stone. The overturned hull became New Zealand’s South Island. The petrified body of Aoraki, the tallest of the brothers, turned into Mount Cook; the others became the Southern Alps. The partially submerged prow of the canoe formed the maze-like Marlborough Sounds and other landforms along the northern coast of South Island.
Geologists have a different way of explaining the distinctive landscape. They see evidence that the northern end of coastal mountains in this area began to tilt and sink about 1.5 million years ago. Meanwhile, as global temperatures increased, the rising seas swamped coastal valleys and turned them into features known as rias—drowned, funnel-shaped river valleys that connect to the seas. While sea level has risen and fallen many times with the comings and goings of Ice Ages, geologists think the current coastline began to take shape about 7,000 years ago when the most recent Ice Age ended.
On December 2, 2017, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this natural-color image of the rocky landscape of Marlborough Sounds. The shallowest (light blue) parts of the inlets are estuaries, where sediment from rivers has discolored the water and accumulated on the bottom. Deeper water is darker blue. The inlets that make up the Sounds are mostly shallow; none have depths that exceed 50 meters (160 feet).