Silver Shadow Docks In Wellington, New Zealand: Scouting Seals On A Coastal Safari

Wellington, New Zealand's capital, with Silver Shadow docked in the harbor.

Today, Silver Shadow docked in Wellington, New Zealand. About a dozen of us joined a 3.5-hour excursion called “Seal Coast Safari.” Two Land Cruisers were waiting dockside to pick us up and take us up to an overlook for a stunning view of New Zealand’s capital and Silver Shadow docked far below (we would eventually reach 500 meters in elevation).

Our adventure today: Seal Coast Safari, an exciting 3.5-hour excursion in Land Rover's along Wellington's rugged coastline.

We traveled up a public road, then passed through a gate to single-lane private roads, up and down and along a ridgeline, where we spotted deer, rabbits, ostrich, wild horses and wild goats, along with many varieties of birds.

Our guide, Nathan, is also a best-selling author.

Our guide Nathan was exceptionally friendly and well-spoken, and it turns out that he is a best-selling author in New Zealand for his popular book about trekking the Great Wall of China.

We drove along the beach below to a seal colony.

We also drove along one of the fault lines and learned that Wellington experienced one earthquake that lifted the earth 16 meters above sea level. Once again, I was reminded that we are traveling in a land still living, as the unfortunate in Christchurch learned not so long ago. Earthquakes are a part of life here in New Zealand’s north and south islands.

Land Cruiser rules the road and the beach.

Locked in four-wheel drive, our Land Cruiser took us along black-sand (and pebble) beaches on a rigorous, but comfortable, ride, fording streams, and maneuvering over rocks and through sand to reach a fur seal colony.

Safely arrived.

We arrived at a rocky peninsula, within view of a leaning, decommissioned lighthouse, and as promised, we saw many seals. Some of the amusing-looking creatures slept and lounged, but others were active. We watched them plod and waddle to the water.

One of the many seals we saw today.
Thanks to conservation efforts, seals can sleep safely. Their numbers dwindled from 1.5 million a millennium ago to as many as 100,000 today, a number that is increasing each year.

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