A Day in the Life of a Doubtful Sound Skipper


Go Orange Skipper, Ricky on the Tasman Explorer

Doubtful Sound is the second largest fiord in New Zealand, it’s remote, vast and wild… no wonder our skipper Ricky loves his job deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park.  We asked him what a day in the life of a Go Orange skipper looks like.


Ricky on the Tasman Explorer

First and foremost, we have to get to Doubtful Sound. There is no direct access to Deep Cove by road, so I start my day at Manapouri onboard the Real Journeys vessel, the hour-long ferry takes us across Lake Manapouri to West Arm. I’m always on the early boat with the kayakers and early bird cruisers.

I jump straight in the company ute and head over the Wilmot Pass, unfortunately I don’t have time to stop and look at the views as I need to warm up the boat. The one-hour journey for our travellers only takes me about half an hour, giving me time to get on board, give her a quick clean and fire up the engine. When the coach pulls up, I greet our adventurers, inviting them on board to settle and ready to cruise.


Go Orange Tasman Explorer

After a quick introduction and safety brief we get on with it. The early cruise departs between 9-9.30 and we are on the water for three hours. Weather dependant we cruise out to the Tasman Sea, have a look at the wild West Coast before spinning her round and cruising back down the Fiord toward Deep Cove.

When our first passengers have departed and left for West Arm, I have a spare moment to clean the old girl, refuel and give the whole boat a once over making sure she is spick and span for the arrival of our next intrepid explorers.

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - Tasman Explorer

Tasman Explorer

The next coach arrives around 12 and we depart as soon as everyone is on board and good to go.


Tasman Explorer

Another three-hour cruise around Doubtful commences, we can take a little detour down Crooked Arm or down one of the other arms in the sound, depending on how the weather is panning out for the day. Crooked Arm is my favourite, I can pull the boat up close to the mountains and it’s so serene down there with no another humans in sight. Along the way I spin some yarns over the microphone, giving our travellers an insight to the epic landscape were travelling through.

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - Views

Doubtful Sound

We might also see some of our local residents, the Dusky Dolphins, Penguins and Seals are normally hanging around somewhere. I saw a whale once too, that was pretty epic. Also, Steven Sea-gall and Albert & Ross our bird friends are always up for the photo op.

Go Orange Cruise Doubtful Sound - Dolphins

Bottle-nose Dolphins

Cruising in Fiordland is incomparable to anywhere in the world. It’s beautiful, serene and untouched. Not a bad place to call home every day, right? My favourite part of the day has to be arriving in Fiordland early and being one of the only people around, also at the end of the day I am the last to leave. When all our passengers have departed, I quickly clean the boat, refuel, jump in the ute and head back over the Wilmot Pass.

We then all cruise back to Manapouri together. Here I get the chance to kick back, have a brew and yarn with our cruise passengers.

Getting up for work the next day never seems a chore when Doubtful Sound is your office.

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