It’s cloudy with strong winds. It’s perfect weather for the albatross! We’re off to see what we can see from the sea. There are only five of us boarding the Monarch Cruise from Wellers Rock for a one hour tour of the Otago Peninsula coastline. The boat can accommodate 60 guests, but it’s low season here in Dunedin until the university starts up again. Of course the weather might have something to do with it – blustery winds, cloudy and lots of chop in the harbor, so who knows how rough it will be when we pass the headlands into the ocean. We’ve been told that this is ideal weather for the albatross – they WANT and NEED the wind – so we are a GO! What a kick to watch the three different species of albatross glide with the wind – I didn’t see them flap their wings once! We also watched the NZ fur seal with some of their playful antics and lounging around. We were given a reference sheet and right before we departed the boat we checked off that we had seen – okay our bird watching friends – here’s the list! Northern Royal Albatross, White Capped Albatross, Bullers Alabatross, Red Billed Gull, Black Backed Gull, Royal Spoonbill, Stewart Island Shag, Little Shag, Spotted Shag, Sooty Shearwater and Northern Giant Petrel. We’re not committed bird watchers but it was a real treat to spot these and watch them fly – some working really hard against the strong winds and some looking like they were simply enjoying the ride. The commentary during our cruise, the spotting assistance, the expert handling of the boat by the captain to put us in the best viewing position, which meant that we got much closer to the birds and seals than if we had been viewing from land. This all made for a highly professional operation that delivered an excellent thrilling experience. A must do when on the Otago Peninsula.
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