When Covid hit in March 2020 everything in the business of tourism changed.
Our cruise and business relied on 85% of international tourism with borders closed and no idea when they would be open again, we took the time to look at our business and where we wanted to go.
Early on I made the decision I would stay positive and try and find the positive side to covid, lock-down and borders closed. This proved tricky at times and to be honest there were a few ups and downs, but luckily, we are close family business and being able to talk through both the up and down helped us cope.
One of these talks, with my brother lead to the idea that, this is a great opportunity to give back to the community. So, thank you Barry for creating the spark that led us to this exciting marine explorer education activity for local kids in our community.
We have an amazing vessel on which we take guests out to view and experience the stunning Bay of Islands. Our yacht is purpose built for this, and we knew that we would not be booked every day and what a great opportunity to use our yacht to give back to our community.
As a wildlife and sailing business in the Bay of Islands we are passionate about our environment and helping to protect wildlife for the future. So, we decided that an education activity that helps local kids to become kaitiaki for the Bay of Islands, fits well with our ideals.
So began the idea of a one-day, Bay of Islands Marine Explorer activity for kids, on our vessel CARINO NZ.
We want kids to consider the marine environment around them and how it is all related. To increase kids’ interest in natural science by using children’s natural wonder about dolphins and wildlife and to inspire kids to look at a career on the ocean in working on boats to marine or wildlife conservation.
Basically, we want local kids to experience something that is outside of their day-to-day life and maybe to push some boundaries, both physically and mentally.
Chance encounters with some great local people (chatting in the supermarket, car parks) led to coffee meetings and the concept began to take shape, I was getting a lot of positive feedback and thankfully some helpful people were very keen to get involved – Thank you Thibaud, Cat, Jo and Justin.
So, we have created an opportunity for those in the community who have never been on a boat or experienced the Bay of Islands to join us for a glimpse into the life of our local wildlife and conservation islands, to learn what means to be a professional skipper, sailor or marine scientist. We want to open minds and push their boundaries of local kids of what is possible for their future.
Inaugural Carino Marine Explorer Activity
On the 14 Dec 2020 we had our first Carino Marine Explore cruise. We had eight kids, who had never been on a yacht before and never been out into the Bay of Islands. We were all nervous, for the kids as it was all an unknown to them and us because, would it work? Would the kids like it and be involved?
After a busy day of driving the yacht, pulling up the sails, recording sightings of penguins, gannets, stingrays, collecting kina, jumping off the back of the boat, learning how to use binoculars and how to identify the dorsal fins of dolphins the kids were tired, salty and had huge smiles.
I personally considered it a complete success when I heard back that one of the girls was going to drive a boat when she grows up and another mother was enormously proud of her daughter who was afraid of the sea, jumped off the boat into the water.
Not only have we helped to widen the kid’s environment, but also helped them to face fears and push boundaries, now that is a great day!
Thank you to Waypoint Electronics for sponsoring our first marine explorers.
Where to from here?
We have several companies and individual willing to sponsor more trips out with kids and with kind backing from tri oceans research and DOC, we hope to create an ongoing relationship with local community groups and hapu, that will help lead to a cruise once a month.
We plan on creating a Carino Marine Explorer Club, where we will email updates to our new explorers and we want this program to last into the future.
Contact us if you want to get involved or sponsor a cruise.