The 'Dolphin Explorer' + our amazing Crew

The ‘Dolphin Explorer’ is a luxury 20 metre (65ft) Powercat that was purpose built to maximize our passenger viewing experience and at the same time make the boat trip around the Hauraki Gulf as comfortable as possible for up to 100 passengers.


Connect with & learn from our highly experienced and knowledgeable crew.

Our qualified crew and on-board research scientists provide a fun and educational experience that connects you to this wonderful planet that all species call home. 

Andy Skip the Senior Captain

Andy ('Skip') – Senior Captain

I’ve been captaining whale and dolphin watching vessels for over 20 years both here and the South Pacific and would be one of the most experienced whale-watching Captains in New Zealand. I have a life-long passion for preserving marine environments and protecting our fantastically diverse species who have their homes there.  Engaging with our passengers, explaining how to Share, Connect and Learn is something that I gives myself and all the crew huge personal satisfaction.


Darren – Captain

I have been captaining vessels of all shapes and sizes right around New Zealand for over 25 years. Coming from one of this countries oldest Seafaring families and having grown up and worked on boats my entire life I am happiest and most at home on the water. I love working with AWADS and the many Marine Biologists who strive to better understand and protect the life found in the Hauraki Gulf. I get a real thrill from showing others the Hauraki Gulf and I measure my success in the smiles as people depart our vessel at the end of a trip. Most of all, I love to give others awesome experiences they will never forget. That is my ‘take home’ at the end of the day. I look forward to having you onboard soon!


Sarah-Lyn - First Mate/Senior Second Mate

Hi everyone, working in an environment with whales and dolphins has always been something I have wanted to do. I started out by completing a Bachelor of Science with majors in ‘Marine Biology’ and ‘Ecology and Biodiversity'. I have also worked on several marine mammal research projects around the country. In fact I started coming out on Dolphin Explorer as a marine researcher. Now I work onboard and am living the dream! I look forward to meeting you all and sharing in the amazing experience that is seeing these incredible animals thriving in their natural habitat.


Cat - Research & Conservation Officer

I am originally from England where I studied for a Master of Science in 'Marine Environmental Management' before coming out to New Zealand in 2013. I first started out as a Research Assistant on a PhD study looking at the common dolphins here in the Hauraki Gulf before becoming a crew member here on the Dolphin Explorer and a Research Technician at Massey University. Over the past three years, I have also gained experience on research projects studying the bottlenose dolphins, Bryde’s whales, pilot whales and sea turtles. I have a huge passion for marine life and absolutely love working in the unique marine ecosystem that is the Hauraki Gulf.