National Geographic Orion sailed into our first stop in Fiordland, Doubtful Sound, just as the sun backlit the towering clouds. Doubtful Sound is the deepest in Fiordland at over 1,200 feet, and stretches for 23.8 miles. Guests gathered on the observation deck to appreciate the beauty of this glacial region, and were greeted by a pod of bottlenose dolphins. This dolphin population is the southernmost distribution in the world for its species, and only 56 individuals remain here in Fiordland.

As we navigated from Doubtful Sound to Milford Sound, albatrosses soared at our shoulders and Pacific gulls greeted us at the entrance to Milford. Tua Pittman, Cultural Navigator, presented on the Maori history of Milford Sound (Piopiotahi). The clouds finally broke and blue skies surrounded us as we embarked on Zodiac tours around the sound. Guests were in for a thrill as expedition staff drove them all the way into the shower of the Stirling waterfall. We were lucky to spot New Zealand fur seals basking in the sunshine as we cruised the edges of the fiord.