Our EXC In-Depth Voyage is in New Zealand! EXC In-Depth Onboard Exploration Leader Mark Read sent some Field Notes and excellent photos from gorgeous Waitangi and Tauranga. Enjoy this installment, and stay tuned as the ship continues its exploration in the Pacific Ocean.
Waitangi, New Zealand
The Bay of Plenty was spectacular as Maasdam glided into anchor. A pod of dolphins cruised the bow of the ship, seeming to welcome us to our first port of call in New Zealand. The change in temperature between Fiji and New Zealand had people reaching for their coats and jumpers – many for the first time on this voyage. One of the shore excursions was the Puketi Forest Nature Walk, a 30-minute bus ride from Waitangi. Parts of this forest were never logged, and giant kauri trees never threatened by the loggers axe reached into the sky. The incredible matai trees, called ‘hammer’bark’ by locals, were also spotted during the walk.
At the at the end of the nature walk was a hot cuppa and home-made muffins – a fitting reward for a gentle tramp as light, misty rain pattered through the canopy overhead.
Tauranga, New Zealand
With the distinctive shape of the extinct volcano Mount Maunganui in the background, an EXC In-Depth Zodiac tour headed off to explore the Tauranga estuary and look for local wildlife. With binoculars and telephoto lens at the ready, everyone searched the sky, trees and coastline for local birds.
Cormorants, gulls and dainty- and delicately-coloured kingfishers were revealed and photographed for prosperity. The kingfishers used the overhanging trees as a perch to search for unsuspecting fish – darting down and plunging into the water to catch their breakfast.
If you’d like to join one of these amazing adventures, check out our EXC In-Depth itineraries. Stay tuned to the EXC In-Depth Field Notes as Maasdam heads for Alaska!
All photos in the post © Mark Read.