As we wrapped up a breathtakingly wild Zodiac cruise around a Campbell albatross colony, we tried to “one up” the experience with a revisit to the Snares Islands, a rocky outcrop of islands 300 km from the southern tip of Stewart Island.

Arriving at the Snares, we were blown away by the calm conditions, a stark contrast to the windswept ocean we witnessed just one week earlier. After our magnificent crew loaded all the Zodiacs, we took a comfortable cruise through the remarkable sea caves, finding ourselves in crystal-clear, flat waters brimming with life.

With waters upwelling from the deep ocean, the Snares host a remarkably productive ecosystem. We were lucky to witness this in the form of Buller’s albatrosses, Snares crested penguins, and Cape petrels preying upon thousands of fish.

We were overwhelmed as we returned to our comfortable home aboard National Geographic Orion. We settled in for some snacks as we went through the thousands of photos snapped earlier in the day. We were careful not to get too full as we soon gathered in the restaurant for a seven-course degustation menu. This was one of our last dinners on board, and the kitchen crew paired each course with wine. It was the perfect finish to our day.