Meet the Crew - Skip

Get to know our longest serving captain – Andy Light (better known as Skip)!

How long have you been working for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari?

I have been working on Dolphin Explorer for nearly 18 years now.

Did you start as a skipper?

No. Although I had been a skipper on dolphin watching boats and fishing boats in the Bay of Islands for many years, I started like most in the humble galley position. I worked in every position on the boat and even off the boat in the booking office! As a Captain it is the best way to have a complete understanding of the various roles.

What’s the best thing about operating in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park?

To quote Forrest Gump – “Its like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!”. The life and behaviours out there are so diverse, and it’s a very unique, very special part of the world. Not just for us of course, but for the wildlife that exists within it still.

What’s the best thing about skippering the Dolphin Explorer?

I’ve been doing this for a long long long time now, and I have been fortunate to see many spectacular sightings, but it is the passion of the crew and management that makes my role so satisfying. Just the knowledge that we are really contributing to the protection of that environment and those species by doing our jobs is truly rewarding.

It’s easy for our jobs to become our world (after all, it is our passion!) but what do you like to do in your spare time?

That’s easy, flying. I don’t get in the air very much, am not a pilot and it is not cheap to learn. So instead, I have built a simulator at home and am learning to fly from the comfort of my living room. At the moment I am learning to fly the T51 D Mustang and Mk IX Spitfire!

What’s your favourite animal in the whole wide world?

That would be the Tardigrade, it is a micro animal. Look it up, they are amazing!

If there is one question you could have answered about the oceans right this instant, what would it be?

How will rising world ocean temperatures affect plant plankton and our planet’s carbon cycle?

If there’s one place in the world you could visit (money no object), where would it be and why?

Easy – Outer Space – I would love to look back on this tiny fragile Earth from that perspective. Great way to appreciate how unique and special our only planet is.

Any particular stand out memories or highlights during your time at Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari?

Two that really stand out. Firstly seeing a blue whale for the first time. It took 17 years of running whale watching boats before that happened to me! Secondly, watching a pod of orca successfully hunt common dolphins with a boat full of very excited local university researchers.

If you could give your passengers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Please, please, please respect the only planet we’ve got. It is a finite resource and our number one priority should be its protection.