Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stewart Island

After Queenstown Aaron dropped me off in Bluff to catch the ferry over to Stewart Island for the NZ Marine Sciences conference. Aaron then headed home.

Bluff... the end of the South Island of New Zealand

Stewart Island is just off the south island of New Zealand and despite having been past it several times on the ship it was my first visit to the island. Fortunately the ferry trip across Foveaux Strait was very calm.

A calm Foveaux Strait with Stewart Island in the distance

The conference was in Oban, the very small township on Stewart Island. As it is mid-winter there were very few tourists around and only the pub and small shop were open. The conference was in the community centre with the local Lion's club doing all the catering and looking after us. Quite a few of the community members even came to several of the talks about the local marine history and the tagging and tracking of Great White Sharks around Stewart Island - many of the sharks are named after the locals who had helped with the work and they came to see where their shark had gone on its winter holidays! Usually somewhere tropical like Fiji, Tonga, Great Barrier Reef.

Oban the little township on Stewart Island

There were several field trips out to some of the reserves. I went out to Ulva Island - a local bird and marine reserve. The water was very, very clear... lots of the marine biologists went diving and snorkelling as the visibility was so good - after hearing about the Great White Sharks I wasn't so brave.

Clear waters of Patterson Inlet

There were lots of birds on Ulva island - I saw my first Saddleback

An inquisitive robin

It was a very good, social conference in a beautiful location with friendly, interested locals.

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