Snorkelling at Goat Island

It’s another quick post from Edin, because damn am I all over the place right now! All going to plan I will return from the Australasian Ornithological  Conference (and a few days haring around taking bird photos) tomorrow, immediately head to Tawharanui for a bird banding course, and then jump on a boat to go to the Noises for three days for my own fieldwork. Busy busy.


I’ve been doing fieldwork on Goat Island all year, but not once have I had time to stop and smell the roses. And by stop and smell the roses I mean jump in the sea and go snorkelling around the Marine Reserve. Goat Island is New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve, and it’s a haven for marine life.

Going snorkelling there has been on my list since March.

In October I combined a trip to Goat Island to check for Grey-faced petrel chicks with one of my monthly trips to Tawharanui, and Abby came along for the ride. We had a few hours free before we had to head to Tawharanui after arriving at Leigh, so it was straight into the (quite chilly) water for a snorkel. The sea is a soup of salps at the moment (all those gelatinous blobs you see drifting around in long chains), and it was rather cold – but we had a great time floating along with curious Snapper following our every move. We swam over to Goat Island and back before giving in to our rapidly numbing extremities and heading back for warm showers and tea.

I took the GoPro along for fun, and threw together a few of my favourite clips below.

The next day we kayaked across to the island so I could check the traps and burrows. It was the first field-test for Abby’s inflatable kayak in New Zealand waters, so we did a quick loop around the island (another first!) before getting to work. We found a few sweet petrel chicks and made it through the trap-line in record time. The only spanner in the works was a dozy fur seal that decided to nap in the spot where we land the kayaks at low tide – so we left him to it and improvised with some manoeuvring over a slightly steeper drop into the water…

It was a great two days!