A flock of ducks are keeping tourists entertained daily in Taupo

Steph Rangi

Pete Boyle talks about how feeding the ducks, while onboard Cruise Cat on Lake Taupo, came about.

Cruising the waters of Lake Taupo day in and day out, Pete Boyle has made a few new friends – but these friends quack.

At least twice a day, the Cruise Cat captain is visited by his feathered mates, which fly alongside the boat and snatch their daily intake of bread.

It's like clockwork.

The ducks on Lake Taupo come right up to the window to grab their food.
Supplied

The ducks on Lake Taupo come right up to the window to grab their food.

It all started 16 years ago, when Chris Jolly's Cruise Cat had a full-time catering service on board.

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People started feeding the ducks over the side of the boat.

They flock in numbers, trying to be the first to get the bread.
Supplied.

They flock in numbers, trying to be the first to get the bread.

"We picked up and ran from that and started holding bits of bread up over the side," Boyle said.

"They gradually got more and more confident, started to fly up. And then we gradually coaxed them into flying alongside the boat."

The dozen or so ducks fly at 16 knots, ready for their daily treats.

Sometimes feeding the ducks out of the window on the Cruise Cat is the highlight of the trip.
Supplied

Sometimes feeding the ducks out of the window on the Cruise Cat is the highlight of the trip.

"Each year there seems to be more and more ducks," Boyle said.

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"New season ducklings who have been watching mum and dad are now there. There would be about three to four generations of ducks."

Boyle said the crew have started to evolve along with the ducks, by changing up the feeding strategy.

"We are going to move away from the white bread and try to produce our own Chris Jolly duck bars," he said.

"We are going to consult with DOC on that and see what's preferable to use for them. We do like it to be at one with ecology."

Sally Seely, who's travelled from England for the Lions Tour, said she's never seen anything like it.

"Some friends on the tour told us about the cruise and said there was a bit of a surprise, but didn't want to ruin what it was," she said.

"It was so cool. Just seeing ducks so confident and getting up so close, it's amazing."

Boyle said the crew don't usually talk up the ducks, as they like to leave it as a bit of a surprise for people.

"On an overcast day, sometimes it's the highlight of the trip," he said.

"To see them up so close and flying at 30 kilometres per hour is just really cool."

 

 - Stuff

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