Laetitia’s tour began on an excursion boat about to enter Doubtful Sound, an inlet from the Tasman Sea on the southwestern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. When Captain Cook sailed by its entrance in 1770, he called it “Doubtful Harbour.” Later, local whale and seal fishermen began calling it “Doubtful Sound.” It’s actually a fjord, carved by glaciers that then retreated rather than a river, but geologists’ understanding of the glacial origin of fjords is much more recent. Doubtful Sound is on of several fiords, including Milford Sound that make up Fiordland National Park, an extensive natural area that includes much of the southwest corner of the South Island. There was excellent wildlife viewing from the deck and they saw more Little (Blue) Penguins and some of the rarer Fiordland Crested Penguins. The latter are striking in appearance. They are black with white undersides. A sulfur-colored crest on each side of the head runs backward from the edge of the orange bill over each eye to a feathery extremity that extends backwards over the neck.
The former British colonies, Australia and New Zealand, cooperate on many issues including a common mutual defense force called the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac). However, when the encounter each other in public, they often engage in insulting repartee. This became clear when the narrator for the excursion boat, a New Zealander, asked where all the guests on board were from. Most of the passengers were from Europe or the United States, but one couple said they were from Australia. The narrator said, “I’m sorry?” The couple said louder, “Australia.” The New Zealander said, “Oh, I heard you, I’m just sorry.” Afterwards, he announced that “Doubtful Sound” was a brand of Australian hearing aid. This bit of repartee might have made a good limerick, but Laetitia decided to make the Fiordland Crested Penguin the subject instead.
In Fiordland, if you’ve got a yen
To gaze at a Crested Penguin
It’s black with white breast
With a light yellow crest
On each side, o’er its eye like a fin