Archived Blogs: Southern Right Whales in the Auckland Islands
Departure from DunedinWe're off! After the usual running around at the last minute for all the things we all forgot, as well as the last minute glitches both technical (wrong cables, wrong batteries), and human (where did we park that car anyways?), we sailed from Dunedin at about one oclock in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful, mostly clear and cold with a brisk breeze out of the northeast. As we rounded the last navigation marker to the harbor into the open sea, we passed a small Royal Albatross colony on the Otago Peninsula to our right, and headed off to the south toward the sub-antarctic islands of New Zealand. Our first offshore bird was a Cape Petrel, a pair of which circled the boat a couple of times before flying off. A glorious sunset over the mountains of the Otago Penninsula sent us on our way, with following seas and clear skies. We cleared the chaos of luggage, cameras, equipment cases, dive gear, and miscellaneous gear out of the main cabin, and squirreled everything away in all of the hidden spaces aboard the ship. The crew provided an extraordinary dinner, and we all turned in. The seas calmed all night, as we seem to skirting the edge of a high pressure system. Captain Steve Kafka told us the weather looks good for the next day or so, and with this tailwind, we should be in the Auckland Islands in 48 hours. He also said its rare to get such good weather in this part of the ocean. We say, its better to be lucky than good!