We woke up to a beautiful, warm morning near Ulva Island and had breakfast in the sunshine on the back deck. Shortly after, Zodiacs began to shuttle guests to shore on Ulva Island, where a group of local nature guides, along with our field staff, took groups of guests around the island.
The guides spoke about the history of the island and the importance of keeping Ulva Island free of predators. They also pointed out birds, including South Island saddlebacks, Stewart Island wekas, New Zealand pigeons/kererus, South Island kākās, yellow- and red-crowned parakeets (kakariki), New Zealand fantails, South Island tomtits, Stewart Island robins, yellowheads (Mohoua), brown creepers, grey warblers, New Zealand bellbirds, and tui. Steve, one of our naturalists on board, even spotted a kiwi!
We returned to National Geographic Orion for a Mexican feast on the back deck, including enchiladas and churros. During the afternoon, we began our journey towards Dunedin and sailed through calm waters in the sunshine. Little blue penguins and fjordland penguins were spotted swimming in the sea from the bridge and the top deck, and guests enjoyed birdwatching in the sunshine.
The final evening on board kicked off with Captain Fred’s Farewell Cocktail Party. We viewed a slideshow of photos from the trip, including images submitted by guests, before heading down to the restaurant for a delicious dinner.