Lindblad Expeditions - From the Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand - Peter Carey, Expedition Leader; Photos by Brent St
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From the Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand

Feb 3, 2011 - Oceanic Discoverer

Xplorer’s bow ramp makes for a dry landing on Great Mercury Island
Bottlenose dolphins as seen from the dinner table

Great Mercury Island

Not far from the bustle of the world’s biggest Polynesian city (Auckland), we made the first landfall of our trip at a tranquil bay on the shores of Great Merucry Island. After cruising closely along the island’s stark volcanic cliffs, we chose a placid bay whose sandy beach simply demanded to be strolled. Using Xplorer, the innovative tender from Oceanic Discoverer, we landed off the bow ramp and enjoyed a sampling of local bird life. Red-billed gulls, white-fronted terns, paradise shelducks, and variable oystercatchers were all found right along the water’s edge, making for an easy introduction to some of New Zealand’s endemic wildlife. Our return to the ship was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a group of bottlenose dolphins, and we lingered to photograph them as they lolled on the surface or zoomed past us for a closer look. We remained anchored during dinner, but the dolphins didn’t desert us – they continued to splash boisterously right outside the dining room windows as the sun set over the island’s green hills.

About the Author

Peter Carey·Naturalist

Peter is a New Zealand zoologist with extensive experience in the polar regions and on remote islands. Much of his research has been with seals and seabirds. His current project is in the Falkland Islands where he works on the control of invasive species and other ecological restoration projects on a group of small islands he has purchased there.