Today we were able to sleep in a bit and had a delicious mid-morning brunch. Many guests were on the outside decks of National Geographic Orion taking in the gorgeous scenery and looking for birds and other wildlife.
Two wildlife boat tours or a walk about town were on offer in Kaikoura. The albatross tour was a small but mighty group; they headed to the edge of the underwater canyon to look for birds foraging. Albatrosses are often intrigued by boats because many throw fish parts back into the ocean, and they were very interested in our vessel today. We quickly attracted several wandering albatrosses and a lot of Salvin’s albatrosses; we also observed Westland petrels, cape petrels, and even a southern fulmar.
The other tour was the whale-watching adventure that quickly found a sperm whale — it was near the underwater canyon that drops to 2000+ meters (6600+ feet). Sperm whales utilize the canyon’s depths to catch and eat their favorite prey, the giant squid. The small and endangered Hector’s dolphins made an appearance, as did many dusky dolphins that performed acrobatic feats.
After recap and dinner, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset; the front windows of the observation lounge of National Geographic Orion reflected its brilliance as we sailed southward.