Day two at sea, and we’ve made steady progress up the east coast overnight on our way to the Three Kings. We passed the Poor Knights islands at dawn, and by 9am we were approaching the Cavalli Islands, which lie just off Matauri Bay in the Bay of Islands.
If calm seas were something to celebrate yesterday we’ve gone one better today. We’ve had calm seas and an orca sighting! And not just one or two orcas, but a large pod of at least 13 or 14 that came past the boat over a ten minute period.
New Zealand orca specialise in eating stingrays, and judging by the orca’s behaviour once they reached a shallow channel between the mainland and the closest island – lots of tail slapping and breaching – they were in hot pursuit of some tasty rays.
We’ve now anchored at the Cavallis, and will be here until 6pm tonight.
Everyone is out on the back deck at the moment sorting out all the dive gear and scientific equipment, and in a couple of hours we’ll get into the water for a shake-down dive. It’s a good opportunity in calm water to get used to diving out of the inflatable boats, and run through safe diving procedures. There will be a bit of work done on the dive of course – Wendy is on the hunt for seaweeds, and Kareen and Libby are interested in invertebrates so we’ll be collecting sample of those while we’re in the water.
I’ve just carried out an interview with Kareen and Wendy so you’ll hear from them soon and we’ve been writing up some answers for all the Freeman’s Bay students following our blog and sending in great questions. More soon.