Kermadec Whale Expedition Blog
The Whale Team pictured on SV Falcon GT.
The whale research team have been in full operation for the last 3 days, searching for humpback whales and doing transects at sea to look for other cetaceans in the area. Perfect for me to also look to see what seabirds use the area. It’s unlikely that seabird surveys have ever been undertaken here so anything I can do while here is... More
Karen and Olive pictured at Palaha sea cave.
Niue finally came into view, a very long low island around 12nm away at 6.30AM, yesterday (Sunday 22nd NZ time). The island is an uplifted coral atoll, surrounded by steep limestone (makatea) cliffs and chasms. Arrival in Niue by boat is a relatively simple affair. Mooring buoys have been set up for all visiting... More
Karen pictured at the helm.
Making good progress and now expect to see landfall around dawn tomorrow.
Karl was on watch this morning when he yelled out ‘whale’, catapulting the troops out of their bunks and into the cockpit. The whale had surfaced right next to the boat, but he only glimpsed its back. Overall the impression was that it was a humpback whale. It surfaced... More
Spotted a distant bird this morning – possibly a booby as it plunged rapidly from a great height, but of course the other bird to do that is the red-tailed tropic bird. Then later we spotted 2 red-tailed tropic birds one came in and circled the boat, really very far from any land. These are gorgeous birds soft snowy plumage with a tinge of pink, large bright red bill and huge paddle like black... More
Sunset on Thursday
Started out slow again but finished with a roar. Rain, drizzle, little lifts of wind from the SW then turning East, more rain. Not much to write home about..... a couple of movies..... Great to get some feedback on the blog from people too - thanks!
At last the south east trade winds kicked in as expected, with a steady breeze around 10 knots... More
A view from the boat, sun on the clouds.
Slow day today again. Good wind direction from the West/South West, but light. The boat can do quite well at 8-9 knots of wind speed – reaching speeds of nearly 5-6 knots, but anything less is slow going. I’m on the midnight to 3.00AM watch tonight, and in light winds it is a good time to reflect on the day!
Cooked banana... More
Juvenile Kermadec booby pictured in flight.
Sailed into the dawn on my watch, just a slight brightening of the sky at about 5.30, then a salmon pink dawn. Wind began to drop and for part of the day just fluctuated around 5 knots. Perfect for listening for whales! We dropped the spinnaker and headed up into the wind. Over the side with the hydrophone. A loan moaning... More
A Pintado in flight
It was a beautiful morning as Gerry and I headed to Raoul Island for a 10km stroll to the DOC base. Landing was still a bit tricky with the residual swell but the outboard made the run in much easier. The resident white terns at Boat Cove could be seen heading out to feed as we headed up the hill to the old Boat Cove hut. Half way along the track we came... More
Looking for anchorage in Boat Cove
I slept soundly in my ‘cave’, but the others in the main cabin slept fitfully as the anchor alarm went off all through the night. Raoul is notorious for poor anchorages and our experience was no different. The wind gusted into the bay and by morning had risen to 50 knots from the north with willy whorls forming in the bay. Disaster overnight... More
Sunset in Boat Cove (Photo: Gerry Kelly)
Still on 2 hour watches last night and by morning we were ready to tack again. Still struggling to make way into the wind, sailing close hauled. My home-made muesli again for breakfast and more time on deck looking for birds. No-ones had much sleep, and looking forward to resting up.
Now seeing Kermadec birds constantly, small... More