The sun is shining, and the ocean is calm. We are cruising along the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island today, making our way toward Abel Tasman National Park. After a full day at Milford Sound, I think we are all happy to spend a restful day on the ship. We finally had our first opportunity to eat outside for breakfast and lunch, and what a wonderful treat it was. We enjoyed dining al fresco while watching albatrosses soar back and forth in the wake of the ship.

We also enjoyed lectures from several staff members and guest lecturers. Ebony Peeni, our on-board cultural specialist, spoke about Māori medicinal traditions. Louis Henry Mitchell, our guest speaker, spoke about his journey as an artist. I also gave a lecture about the power of environmental education.

In between talks, we’ve been out on the deck, scanning for marine mammals. We all rushed to the bow when dolphins joined us for a few minutes and a few spouts have been seen off the bow. All in all, it was a beautiful day at sea on National Geographic Orion.