A few weeks ago my sister bought me a ticket for our local Bay Explorers who take people out on their boat to search for wildlife. At the time it was too windy so we postponed it to yesterday. The other half bought a ticket for himself so we got to the wharf bright and early (guess who left their coffee in the car).
The sun rising as we sat waiting for the rest of the people to arrive. Looked like it was going to turn out ok.
Scenery as we headed out through Tauranga's port - these are the cranes alongside the wharf, the area is lined with containers everywhere.
The area runs for several kilometers - these containers can be hired as far as I know.
Out on the open water, the sea was fairly calm and in places the depth of water got to between 40m and 90m deep, we sailed over several reefs as well.
After 3 hours on the water we arrived at Mayor Island which is owned by local Maori Iwi. Apparently you need a permit to set foot on the sand so we anchored offshore and heard all about how it is a pest free island with no dogs, cats, goats, rats, mice or stoats and is used as a breeding ground for endangered birds such as our native Kiwi.
On the way back we saw fur seals playing in the water and the skipper heard there were dolphins nearby, I think these were our common variety of mammals. They followed our boat and these ones I captured on my camera were part of a 200 large pod - such beautiful creatures, it saddens me when they get caught in fishing trawler nets or killed purposely.
And along our main Mount Maunganui beach these Orcas were seen hunting stingray on the coastline. These were 3, a dad, mum and a bay - the dad apparently had a bit missing from his fin but they were happy to hang around for a good 15-20 minutes.
All in all a fantastic day, the other half and I came home tired and sunburned but happy.