Sandra and I were lucky enough to go out on a pelagic trip off the famous Kaikoura Peninsula, on the east coast of the South Island north of Christchurch. There, no more than a few kilometres offshore, the Kaikoura canyon drops down to over 1,000m deep The steep shelf results in an nutrient rich upwelling of cold antarctic water. The area is mostly known as a whale watching site, but where the whales feed, so do the fish and the seabirds. Albatross Encounters has been operating pelagic trips for many years now, and at times see upwards of 12 albatross species in one trip, more than anywhere else on earth!
We went out for only 2.5 hours this weekend, and were treated to some amazing views of these magical ocean wanderers.
Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys)
Gibson's Albatross (Diomedea gibsoni)
And now for something completely different...
Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)
White-capped Albatross (Thalassarche steadi)
Spotted Shags (Phalacrocorax punctatus)
New Zealand Fur Seals