Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The 'Sounds' which Cook refused to enter
Sailing in Endeavour, James Cook surveyed the coastline of New Zealand on his first circumnavigation of the globe.
But during that voyage he purposely chose to sail past the fjords of the south island of NZ without entering them.
He was concerned that the unfathomable depths would provide no anchorage, that he might enter the fjords but be unable to turn around, and that the lack of wind within the old glacier valleys could leave his ship becalmed.
Today Milford Sound is visited regularly by cruising ships and Dusky and Doubtful Sounds (well named by Cook) are easily navigated from end to end.
In the cold damp air, I tried to imagine how Cook would have felt seeing the stark coastline for the first time.
Photo: NZ fiordland (Robert Dunn, 2005) in summer
Photo: Milford Sound (M Muir, 2008) – in a less enticing mood