Image (c) Alex Fergus
Pre-dawn we spotted the craggy outline of the Snares. In spite of a naysaying forecast, we managed to find enough lee to disembark five Zodiacs at South Promontory, just north of Broughton Island. Salvins Albatross and Cape Petrels were in abundance around the ship as we powered the Zodiacs toward the eastern coast of North East Island. The next few hours were spent exploring the many coves, caves and bays of the eastern coast. As we rounded Station Point from Ho Ho Bay into flotillas of Snares Created Penguins we noticed the distinctive dorsal fins of Orca just offshore, for the next half hour we watched a pod of three Orca survey the coast, only once in the past had any of our staff seen Orca here at the Snares. We dipped into caverns and cornered wave-cut rock platforms, meeting endemic Fernbirds and pure black Tomtits before we continued north to the legendary penguin slide, where a continual parade of Snares Crested Penguins wends its way up and down a near vertical granite slope to the island's apex. Our expedition was underway.