Kia Ora, and welcome to Piopiotahi, otherwise known as the majestic Milford Sound. At 5:30 a.m., National Geographic Orion prepared herself to receive the local pilot to assist and guide us into the entrance of this amazing sound. We were met by a serene sunrise over the mountain range, enticing early risers with a cool, fresh breeze. Much to the amazement of guests who have never been here before, the glorious sunrise highlighted the cascading waterfalls and the sheer, snow-capped cliffs.

Our morning excursion was a Zodiac cruise around the sound. We were humbled as we faced the scenery and wildlife of Piopiotahi. We accepted all nature had to offer, including the brilliant sunshine and the energy of the waters and the wind. Brand new baby seals swam along the cliff walls mischievously while their parents basked in the sun on Seal Rock. Mothers protected their young from squawking black-backed gulls.

A great lunch was hosted on the back deck by hotel manager Sonja and her team. JP cooked up his Asian noodle soup, and National Geographic Orion’s iconic duo–Teddy With (Hair) and Teddy Without (Hair)–ruled the back deck as they wooed our guests with their talents.

The afternoon was a great time to relax. Our Global Perspective guest speaker, Mr. Peter Hillary, shared memories of his father and his feats. What an absolute honour to have this esteemed gentleman in our midst, a true inspiration for all.