We had a great group onboard the Carino catamaran - people from Switzerland, France and Holland. The boat was roomy and the staff was super informative (thanks Scott) and friendly. We also had a researcher onboard so we got an extra lesson in dolphin observation. Unfortunately we didn't get to swim with them. It doesn't seem it was even a possibility because there was no preparation, gear, etc. Maybe we missed the talk since we were picked up in Russell after everyone else was onboard. I think it would have been a pretty cold plunge anyway. We were just told from the start of the many reasons that we would probably not be able to swim with them. It's a no-go if they are feeding, sleeping, eating, traveling with babies or retreating. Even though we immediately found several dolphins that were very active and seemed interested in us, they soon joined another pod with babies. We loved our stop on the island of Urupukapuka to swim and hike. Even though most of the hike to the top can be done barefoot, I recommend shoes for the rocky parts. Great, great view. Take a swim if you have time. Lunch followed our stop - grilled sausages and coleslaw. Beer, wine and soft drinks for sale. Then it was a nice leisurely sail back with lots more dolphin sightings. Wish we had seen more than one penguin but hey, you can't have everything.
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