Craving something completely different? Colourful cold-water diving spells true adventure in this remote outpost in southern New Zealand
Milford Sound, located in the remote southwest corner of New Zealand, is not the first place that comes to mind when planning a dive trip. The name “Sound” suggests that it was formed when a river valley was flooded by the sea. However, Milford Sound is actually a fjord, carved out by the erosion of ancient glacial ice leaving behind a deep valley flanked by sheer rock faces, lush forest and majestic snowy peaks. Over time the deep valley has been slowly filled by overflow from the Tasman Sea, bringing with it a vast array of life.
With an annual rainfall of 6813mm (268 inches), Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in New Zealand, but don’t let that put you off as it is also one of the most beautiful! High amounts of rainwater rush down through the dense vegetation bringing with it a tea-coloured tannin that pours into the fjord and stains the top layer of water a dark brown. This fresh water can range from two to six metres deep (6 to 20 feet) depending on rainfall, and as you descend your eyes will struggle to focus through the salt- and freshwater mixture. It is this cold, blurry layer, or halocline, that makes Milford Sound so unique to dive. The dark tannin mixture filters out sunlight which in turn creates the perfect environment for deepwater species such as sevengill sharks and huge ancient black coral trees.
CRAY & THE COD
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Issue 02 - 2019