I once went to Milford Haven, a huge sound on the west coast of South Wales. I happened to be diving off a small island outside the sound and used Milford as a port to launch our RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat). My impressions were of an horrendous port littered with giant tankers, huge jetties and numerous gas containers everywhere you looked. It just so happens that Milford Haven is one of the major oil and gas ports in the UK. I would not describe it as picturesque, in fact it was a truly awful place.
MIlford Haven, South Wales
Last week I was some 12,000 miles away in Milford Sound which is in Fiordland, New Zealand. I have to say it was the complete opposite of Milford Haven, a complete dichotomy. It is one of the beautiful landscapes I have encountered. In every direction there are sheer sided walls, topped with towering peaks all dressed with huge waterfalls tumbling down into the Fiord. It was incredible.
Sailing across Milford Sound
We decided to splash out and with the backing of a recommendation from Paul we went on an overnight stay-on-the-boat posho trip around the sound. It turns out to be the best money we have spent in New Zealand. Our boat rounded the sound a couple of times, got awfully close to some waterfalls and went out to sea where the Captain told us it was one of only two days in 2009 he had managed to get out to the Tasman sea. As it happens Fiordland gets some of the roughest weather in the world as well as one of the most amounts of rain, a whopping 7+ metres of rain annually. Thanks to the weather we got the privilege to anchor up for a few hours Kayaking in one of only two areas in New Zealand where Pounamu (a.k.a. as Greenstone or Jade) is found. I even got to go for a swim which has to be one of the dafter things I have done one my world trip; The water was verging on only a few degrees.
Sunset in the Tasman Sea
Milford Sound, as it turns out was overlooked by Capatin cook when he charted New Zealand in 1773 ... either he missed the entrance or was doubtful about whether he could escape the steep mountainsides, afraid that the wind conditions would prevent his boat from sailing away. The sound was only discovered when a welsh sailer sailed into the sound looking for refuge during a spot of bad weather, something that Fiordland is notorious for. It reminded him of home, Milford Haven. I find it hard to grasp the similarity to Milford Haven. Probably a good job that the Kiwis did not build any giant LPG ports in the sound.
As it turns out 'Milford Sound' is not a Sound and 'Milford Haven' is not a Fiord (Milford is derived from the viking 'Melr Fjordr' meaning Sand Fiord) . Milford Haven is a Sound and Milford Sound is Fiord. I hope your as confused as me now.