Make your way to a central city meeting point. The captain and expedition team awaits your arrival at the ship to greet you and show you to your cabin. You have the opportunity to unpack before exploring the ship and meeting other expeditioners, there is also a formal introduction to the team followed by safety briefings. Plan to sail late afternoon.
A day at sea is a chance to relax. Do some reading in the bar/library, or come birding up on the bridge. A series of lectures, videos and briefings are scheduled to prepare you for your visit to the Kermadecs. For the keen birders, you are sailing across deep waters – prime Pterodroma petrel country and you are likely to see an impressive variety of these birds. You are also likely to encounter Black-winged, White-necked, Kermadec and Cook’s and there is always the chance of something really rare. If viewing conditions are good you stand a reasonable chance of seeing the mighty Sperm Whale and the elusive Cuvier’s Beaked Whale.
Today continue your journey northwards, arriving in the afternoon at the southernmost island in the group: L’Esperance Rock. Later visit Curtis and nearby Cheeseman Island. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable cruise by Zodiac (no landings are permitted) and possibly offer an opportunity to dive or snorkel.
All of these islands are havens for breeding seabirds and you are likely to encounter impressive numbers as you cruise offshore. In addition to the more common species, be on the lookout for White-bellied Storm-Petrel and the Kermadec White-faced Storm-Petrel. You are also likely to encounter some tropical seabirds that occur nowhere else in New Zealand, such as Masked Booby, Red-tailed Tropicbird, and Black Noddy.
You have four days scheduled for activities at Raoul Island, including options for diving, snorkeling, and hikes ashore. The weather and sea conditions dictate your activities to a certain extent. The seas surrounding the Kermadecs are the only true example of subtropical waters in New Zealand and are sufficiently distant from the mainland to have escaped heavy commercial fishing. The extensive Marine Reserve ensures added protection and guarantees some of the best diving in the South Pacific. For those keen on diving, a Dive Master organizes as many dives and snorkeling opportunities as weather and time allow.
During your days on Raoul Island, cruise the Meyer Islets by Zodiac to witness seabirds returning in the evenings. Many of these birds are endemic, including the Kermadec Petrel, the White Napped Petrel, and the Kermadec race of the Little Shearwater. On shore get great views of the endemic Kermadec Red-crowned Parakeet and it is also one of the easiest places to see Spotless Crakes. You should also get good views of Black Noddy, Grey Ternlet, White Tern and the beautiful Red-tailed Tropicbird.
The following are some of the walks that you may be able to do on Raoul Island depending on weather and time.
• Boat Cove to the Department of Conservation Base
• Green Lake Walk
• Water Supply Walk
• Denham Bay Hut
• Mahoe Hut
Arrive at Macauley Island early in the morning. The original forest cover was destroyed by goats and since their removal in the 1970s the vegetation is recovering. Landings are not permitted on this island so you will Zodiac cruise and dive/snorkel if sea conditions are suitable.
These days present an opportunity to catch your breath after your activities at Raoul and Macauley Islands. Your staff and Dive Master offer lectures and further presentations on the islands and some of the conservation issues surrounding them.
Your vessel berths in Tauranga this morning. Enjoy breakfast on board and a last minute opportunity to bid farewell to your expedition team then you disembark and board your complimentary coach transfer to the central city or local airport.