Continuing our discovery of remarkable Aeotearoa (New Zealand), National Geographic Orion made its way to some of the islands off the northeast coast of North Island. We began our day at the legendary White Island, known in the Maori language as Whakaari. The still active volcano was smoldering under the morning sun, sending up colorful smoke and vapor and reminding us of the eruption in 2019 that unfortunately resulted in the loss of 22 lives. The ship observed a respectable three-mile distance from the shore, giving us views of the island.
The afternoon saw us take to Zodiacs to explore the small archipelago of the Aldermen Islands (Ruamaahu in Maori). Also volcanic in origin, these pillars of rhyolitic stone have long been quiet of all volcanism. They are thrust into deep water, allowing for scenic navigation and interesting wildlife potential.
To cap it all off, our evening entertainment featured a fabulous performance by the crew, including traditional dances, some modern numbers, and even a full band set. A truly epic day.