Our summer season officially came to an end on 1st May, which means less visitors arriving to this southern isle. There has still been a bit of guiding work during the month including a group from Alma College in the USA.
As guiding takes a back seat for winter, I do a few days here and there working on the ferry between Stewart Island and Bluff. A ten minute walk down to the wharf in the dark serenaded by Kaka and Weka calling is a good way to start the day. Working on the ferry is tough, but the advantages (so long as you can handle the puke bags) are that seabirds are plentiful on the Foveaux Strait. A strong easterly a week or so ago brought a good selection of birds out on the Strait including Royal Albatross, White-headed and Mottled Petrels, and a nice close view of an Arctic Skua.
Saying that, we do have pleasant sunny days and I think on the whole islanders enjoy having the island to themselves for a few months of the year. A few days ago a large bull Hooker's Sealion decided to relax in the middle of the road, probably the nearest thing to a Stewart Island traffic jam.
Birds on Ulva Island have been very quiet, bulking up for the winter. Yellowhead, Saddleback and Rifleman can be quite elusive. At the beginning of this month the Ulva Island Charitable Trust launched its new website www.ulvaisland.org