19 November - Had to get up at 5.45am!!! this morning - that's so early! Was being picked up a 6.30am to go sea kayaking in Milford Sound. It took two hours to get there (I was the only one going from Te Anau, the rest were already at Milford Sound), but we (me and the two guides, Gordon and Ron), stopped along the way at Lake Gunn for a hot chocolate. We picked the others up and went to the launch site to get geared up. The clothes they give you to wear make you look so incredibly stupid. There were eight of us kayaking plus the two guides, and us eight were in double kayaks. The girl I was sharing a kayak with was called Phillipa and I had already met her before; I shared a room with her in Riverton and she was really nice. I was in the front and Phillipa was in the back and therefore in charge of steering as she controlled the rudder. It took her a little while to get the hang of it! We had drifted off a bit so we missed all the instructions on how to steer etc. That continued for the rest of the day - we were generally behind so missed all instructions and basically were probably the worst at kayaking - but I think only because we didn't get good instructions! It was quite noisy in the sound as there were a lot of big boats and also planes and helicoptors. Actually Milford Sound isn't actually a sound but is a fiord. We had only been in the water for about ten minutes when we spotted a young seal swimming lazily in the water. He was turning around as he swam and came right up to our kayak - we had to lift our oars out of the water to ensure we wouldn't hit him! We also spotted a Fiorland Crested penguin a little further on, but he was a bit shy, and went back into the bush when he saw us. We kayaked for about 2 hours and had reached Mitre Peak when we crossed the sound to head for the beach for some lunch. It was a good job we stopped as my arms were really aching. Ate lunch then started to head back. We passed really close to the Lady Bowen falls which were quite spectacular, even more so because there had been so much rain. Luckily the rain pretty much held off today, although it was really overcast and we couldn't see the top of Mitre Peak. We then kayaked to the start of the Milford walking track, then we had to lift up the rudder because we were going over a really shallow patch. As we were behind we missed the instructions on how to steer without a rudder (and it isn't as easy as it sounds to steer) so we got grounded on the pebbles and Gordon had to tow us off! But we didn't care because it had been such a laugh - we were the worst kayakers but we probably had the best time. Got back to the launch site and got changed. There were so many sand flies there it wasn't true. As I had practically been eaten alive by them it Skippers Canyon (and they still really itched and were really red even though it was ages ago I got bit) I put on so much repellant I nearly gassed myself out. But it worked because I was only bitten twice (but that was bad enough). Then the kayaking was over so I headed back to Te Anau. The Milford road is really amazing - the part closest to Milford has mountains all around, and sometimes you look up at sheer cliffs. You have to go through a tunnel called the Homer tunnel - the last bit of this was destroyed by an avalanche!. We stopped for some photots at a place called The Chasm - it's really cool - a tremendous amount of water forces its way through rocks, and had formed holes in the rocks - you can see a face in the rocks and this is called The Scream. Got back to Te Anau about 5.30pm. Was really knackered and my arms were killing me, so had a chinese takeaway for tea and went to bed.