4-12-2004

We booked an Albatross encounter with… Oceanwings Albatross Encounter
(NZ $ 60 p.p.). It was crowded at the centre but soon everyone went swimming with
dolphins leaving only 4 participants to watch albatrosses. We boarded the ship and only
after 10 minutes the first Cape Petrels (Daption capense, Kaapse Stormvogel) started
following the boat. Hutton’s Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni, Huttons Pijlstormvogel) was
common close to shore. I was thrilled when the first albatross arrived, much closer than
from the Wellington-Picton ferry! Then a second, third and within minutes we were
followed by 10 albatrosses, all Salvin’s, and the skipper just kept on going. At the first
chumming spot we were surrounded by albatrosses, Cape Petrels and Westland Petrels.
What a sight when the first ‘big ones’ started to arrive! At a certain time there were at
least 5 Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans, Grote Albatross) and two Northern
Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi, Noordelijke Koningsalbatross) among the
common Salvin’s and New Zealand White-capped Albatross (Thalassarche cauta,
Witkapalbatros). Unforgettable. Of course Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli,
Noordelijke Reuzenstormvogel) was around too.
After this 2,5 hour trip we had a good lunch and decided to depart without a Whale
excursion. We drove all the way to Fairlie, south of Christchurch. In Farlie it rained like
hell and it didn’t stop during the night. We slept at Fairly Top Ten Holiday P