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Encounter Foundation

Albatross Encounter Staff

Albatross Encounter Staff

Albatross Encounter has two full time skippers who also act as tour guides. Both skippers have a wealth of knowledge on the Kaikoura district and the pelagic sea birds which visit the area. They also share a passion for all oceanic wildlife that they encounter whilst leading Albatross Encounter tours.

 » Gary Melville
Gary Melville
Gary or "Gazza" (as he is locally known) is one of our most experienced and longest serving skippers. He has worked for Encounter Kaikoura since 1998 and brings with him a wealth of pelagic seabird experience with 25 years of fishing in the Kaikoura area.

His adventures have taken him all around the world including a circumnavigation of   Antarctica, South America and South Africa, certainly well travelled!!! His favourite places include South Georgia, South Thule and of course Kaikoura.

Gary has been skippering on our Albatross Encounter since its inception. When he’s not taking people out to see the albatross, he likes to spend time nurturing his garden and using his organic vegetable patch to create culinary masterpieces in his kitchen.


 » Tracy

Tracy Cooper started out with Encounter Kaikoura in 2005 as guide on our dolphin boats and in 2011 she successfully gained her Commercial Launchmasters Certificate and now shares the skippering on Encounter II our birdwatching vessel. Tracy has a degree in Environmental Science and has worked on research projects around the world including the Falkland Islands, Borneo and Hong Kong. During her free time she likes the challenges of exploring the outdoors with weekends away spent climbing mountains and tramping. Tracy also enjoys travelling and has hitch-hiked through the Amazon with Antarctica standing out as her favourite place.