After being dropped off in Oban and settling in to our accommodation it was time to just relax, have a drink and tell stories about the sharks we saw. Fortunately this time round the infamous Kai Cart was open and we were able to have fresh fish and chips for dinner.
Later that night we headed up to the local rugby field to go kiwi hunting and as we walked out on to the field one trotted across in front of us – woohoo! Other groups were not so lucky.
The next morning we headed over to Golden Bay Wharf to meet up with our skipper, Rakiura, for another adventure. With no idea what we expect we eagerly boarded Wairangi, a 1930’s wooden vessel with a long work history which we learnt as we cruised around Paterson Inlet.
Our first stop was the Norwegian Whaling Station in Prices Inlet, used in the early 1900’s to haul out and repair their boats. The old boiler on the beach will look very familiar to anyone that has dived the Progress in Owhiro Bay. After a lovely walk through the bush we boarded Wairangi to head to our next destination.
Another opportunity for a walk included a very close encounter with native NZ Sea Lions. While the first one was cute the others definitely got our heart rate going as we walked very quickly past them.
It was finally time to get back into the water, sans sharks we hoped, and explore Stewart Island underwater. The area we dived is similar to Wellington with many of the usual suspects, Blue Cod, Spotties & Banded Wrasse though I did see a Trumpeter and Wendy & Alan were buzzed by a male sea lion – fortunately off on a mission of his own and not interested in us. We had fun exploring for an hour or so and collected a few paua for dinner.
Our final day included a walk around Ulva Island, a native bird sanctuary, and another encounter with a sea lion at Boulder Beach. & concluded with dinner and the infamous South Sea Hotel’s quiz night – we came 3rd equal.
A BIG shout out to Shark Experience Bluff and Rakiura Charters for creating the memorable moments that made this trip so unique.