Chatham Islands: A Land Apart


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    Discover amazing endemic wildlife, meet the locals and experience conservation in action as we journey through the incredibly-diverse archipelagos of the Chatham, Antipodes and Bounty Islands.

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Invercargill
    Make your way to the Ascot Park Hotel where we will transfer you to the ship. Settle into your cabin and join the captain on the bridge, or fellow travellers on deck, as we set sail for the Antipodes Islands.

    Day 2: At Sea
    Today is a day for pelagic birding. Species commonly seen include Wandering Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Campbell Island Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel, and the Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. This is one of the few places where Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion occur together; while other species include Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Wilson’s Storm-petrel, Black-bellied Storm-petrel and the Common Diving-petrel.

    Day 3: Antipodes Islands
    The Antipodes Islands are the most isolated and perhaps least known of New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands. Antipodes Island has benefited from one of the world’s most successful island eradications dubbed the ‘Million Dollar Mouse’ which saw the island declared ‘mouse free’ in 2018. The island’s unique plants and wildlife now thrive following the removal of some 200,000 mice. Landings are not permitted, so if sea conditions are suitable we plan to Zodiac cruise along the coastline looking for the Antipodes Parakeet, the largest of New Zealand’s parakeets, which has an entirely green head, the Reischek’s Parakeet, a subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet found in the Auckland Islands and on the Chatham Islands, as well as the Antipodes subspecies of the New Zealand Pipit. We can also expect good views of Erect-crested and Rockhopper Penguins, Antarctic Terns and Kelp Gulls.

    Day 4: Bounty Islands
    These inhospitable granite knobs, tips of the submerged Bounty Platform, are home to thousands of Salvin’s Albatross, Erect-crested Penguins, Fulmar Prions and the endemic Bounty Island Shag – the world’s rarest – along with large numbers of New Zealand Fur Seals. At sea there should be opportunities to see Wandering Albatross, Northern Royal Albatross, Mottled Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, White-chinned Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-petrel as well as Wilson’s Storm-petrel. Other possible sightings include White-capped Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Fulmar, Sooty Shearwater, Little Shearwater and Grey-backed Storm-petrel.

    Days 5 to 8: Chatham Islands
    Pelagic birding opportunities as we approach the Chatham Islands’ archipelago include the Chatham Island Petrel and, in the past, we have observed the very rare Chatham Island Taiko (Magenta Petrel), one of New Zealand’s most endangered species. Consisting of one large island and numerous smaller islands and rocky islets, only two islands of the Chatham Islands’ archipelago are inhabited. Working closely with the Chatham Island people our visit could include: Chatham Island The main settlement of Waitangi features a wharf normally bustling with activity where we may see the endemic Chatham Island Shag. Visiting a private reserve in Awatotara Valley there is a good chance to see the endemic Chatham Island Pigeon (once close to extinction), Chatham Island Warbler and Tui. During our time on the main island our activities may include: · Visiting small fishing village Owenga and searching for fossilised sharks’ teeth at Blind Jim’s Creek. · Discovering the rich history of Maunganui’s old stone cottages and seeing the dendroglyphs (tree carvings) at the JM Barker (Hapupu) National Historic Reserve. · Viewing the island’s two endemic shags (cormorants) at Matarakau and endemic plants, including the famed Chatham Island Forget-me-not, at Kaingaroa · A visit to the uniquely designed Kōpinga Marae, built as a tribute to the Moriori ancestors. Mangere and Little Mangere Islands Mangere Island is one of only two sites in the world where Black Robin are found. We will hear how this endemic species was rescued from the brink of extinction in the 1970s from a population of just six birds. As we Zodiac cruise the islands we will be looking for the rare, endemic Forbes’ Parakeet or Chatham Parakeet at Mangere Island. Pitt Island The jewel in the Chatham Islands’ crown, our visit may include Flowerpot or Glory Bay where we will hear stories of life on the island and be on the look out for impressively horned New Zealand Pitt Island Sheep. Pyramid Rock Viewing the basalt outcrop of Pyramid Rock – the only breeding place of the Chatham Island Albatross – great views of birds can be had. South East Island One of the world’s greatest nature reserves, we plan a Zodiac cruise where we can expect to see the world’s rarest wader the endemic New Zealand Shore Plover, Chatham Island Oystercatcher, and Pitt Island Shag.

    Day 9: At Sea
    We will cross the Chatham Rise where nutrient-rich waters allow for an overlap between northern pelagic and southern latitude birds including Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Cape Petrel, Westland Black Petrel and Cook’s Petrel. We can also expect to see shearwater and prion species off New Zealand.

    Day 10: Christchurch
    After a final breakfast we will say our farewells and board complimentary transfers to either a central city drop off or Christchurch airport.

    Inclusions

    • Voyage on board in selected cabin category
    • Pre/Post cruise transfers
    • Experienced expedition leader and team
    • All meals while on board
    • All expedition shore excursions

    WildEarth 2021

    Images courtesy of Wild Earth Travel