The Chatham Archipelago
We had a fair number of whale encounters, but most were not very close. These pilot whales were the closest
encounter to whales we had on this trip as we traveled north to the Chatham Archipelago from the Bounty Islands.
To Jackie's delight, the seas became much calmer at this phase of our trip.
The Chathams are not part of the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand. The islands are remote with only a few
hundred people living on these islands. These islands are noteworthy for the many rare birds and the herculean
efforts made by some people to save these species. One of the greatest success stories was the rescue of the
black robin in the 1970's. The numbers of this robin reached a low of five. They were saved by moving them to
another island with adequate vegetation and where predators were eliminated.
Our first contact with the
Chathams was Pyramid Rock.
This rock is covered with
thousands of Chatham Island
albatross which only breed on
Our last day before returning to Dunedin was a visit to the main Chatham Island. Most of the island is grazed sheep
farm. Our objective was not the green pasture lands, but a few preserves of old growth forest which is being restore
to pristine condition by killing all the predators such as rats, mice, and feral cats.
The beauty of these forests stood in stark contrast to the barren sheep lands. We could only admire New Zealand
hosts who are fighting the good fight to restore some of these places so that more species of birds do not disappear
permanently from our planet.