January 14. We were well outside Australian territorial waters during our first full day at sea after leaving Brisbane late the previous afternoon. A Gould's Petrel was identified close to the ship in the early morning. Many other small Pterodromas that day went unidentified - a pattern to be repeated throughout the trip as these small, fast-flying petrels are not easily identified from big ships unless they are close. The first of many Great-winged Petrels appeared; this species proved to be common on both transects of the Tasman Sea and in waters all around New Zealand. Almost all were of the New Zealand-breading race gouldi; however, a couple of the race macroptera were seen on the return leg in the Tasman Sea. A few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and a couple of Flesh-footed Shearwaters were also seen on Day One of the cruise, and just before sunset, a single Sooty Tern flew over the ship.
|Northern Royal Albatross|
|Pycroft's Petrel off Poor Knights Islands|
|Cook's Petrel off Poor Knights Islands|
January 20. Most of the journey south of Napier was again at night but in the few hours of daylight in Cook Strait before arriving in Wellington we saw our first Hutton's Shearwaters and Sooty Shearwaters. Other birds included Shy Albatross, Fairy Prion and another Northern Royal Albatross.
January 21. More nocturnal travelling before reaching Akaroa, where Spotted Shag in large numbers was added to the list.
|Northern Royal Albatross at Talaroa Head colony|
January 24. After visiting Fiordland, we left Milford Sound for the return journey across the Tasman, seeing the only White-chinned Petrel of the trip along with small numbers of Buller's Shearwaters, Cook's Petrels and Shy Albatross. A small group of Short-tailed Shearwaters was unexpected as we proceeded westward, as were a couple of Black-winged Petrels.
|Cook's Petrel - Foveaux Strait|