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New Zealand is the gift that just keeps on giving. Today, we’ve been sailing down the Eastern coastline of the North Island, and after all those weeks at sea, crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, disappointed by the almost total lack of interesting wildlife, the waters down this stretch have been a veritable banquet of marine delights.

After a wet and windy start to the day, things soon brightened up. I had expected to have a class this morning, but it wasn’t in the programme. What was in the programme was our fortnightly Emergency Drill… yeeey!

There are lots of new faces on board, having taken on a load of new passengers in Auckland yesterday, and it would seem that the passenger drill that had been scheduled for yesterday afternoon, specifically for them, was postponed and lumped into a general all-passenger drill today.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent up on deck watching the wildlife. First, there was a massive pod of dolphins that came past, easily a hundred or more strong. Then, just after lunch, we spotted a hammerhead shark swimming just beneath the water’s surface right alongside the ship. Tracey was particularly happy with that one (as was I), as it was something that she’s never seen before, and has been hoping to spot.

Then there have been the Albatrosses; the great broad-winged birds of the southern oceans, of which we’ve seen a few… and we even saw a couple of whales, just to top things off.

It’s been a very pleasing day at sea, with lots to delight, and the dramatic coastline and mountain shapes off to our right throughout the day.

Tomorrow, we are due to arrive at our final stop in New Zealand, its capital city, Wellington.

Peter Woolley

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