A ship transporting super yachts for the mega-rich has arrived in Auckland to drop-off and pick up vessels, including a monster 150m motor yacht.
The DYT Yacht Transport vessel visits Auckland twice a year and is now docked at Wynard Quarter, where it is understood to be off-loading about four yachts and taking on two others.
Duthie Lidgard, the managing director of Asia Pacific Superyachts, a company that provides services to visiting vessels, said the loading and unloading process was "cool" and happening now.
The transport vessel had a way of taking on water so the super yachts could be floated on and off.
"They will lower the back door, and the whole thing will just sink right down," he said.
Divers entered the water to go under the yachts and remove the wooden chocks and "cradles" that had held them in place while they were being transported.
This morning a large motor yacht was unloaded as members of the public watched from North Wharf.
"It's very big and pretty cool to set up a camera and watch it happen," Lidgard said.
He said about 30 to 50 super yachts visited New Zealand each season - or more than half of all super yachts cruising the Pacific each year.
The super yachts often base themselves in New Zealand for about two years as they cruise between Pacific Islands, such as Fiji and Tahiti, when it is not hurricane season.
"So they will stay in the Pacific for two years and may only come to New Zealand once," Lidgard said.
"Or they will treat New Zealand as a base, go to the Pacific and then come back during hurricane season and then go back out there again."
Boats that did this tended to spend six month stretches in New Zealand waters doing small cruises and getting regular fitouts and maintenance.
Ports such as Auckland, Wellington and Nelson all had staff capable of working on the yachts which had exclusive systems and equipment brands.
The transport vessel currently docked in Auckland spent all year touring the world from the Mediterranean and US to the Caribbean and Pacific.
Lidgard said he wasn't able to talk about the owners or individual super yachts in Auckland.
Two of his clients were having their boats loaded onto the transport vessel.
He said he regarded a super yacht as one that was at least 30m long with a professional crew, although the definition of a super yacht varied.
Before arriving in Auckland, the transport vessel had stopped in Papeete in Tahiti, according to the DYT Yacht Transport website.
Next stop after Auckland was Brisbane before the vessel headed back to North America, stopping in Ensenada in Mexico.
Lidgard said the yacht transporter would next be back in Auckland at the end of March when it would head towards Asia and through the Suez Canal to Europe.
DYT Yacht Transports website said the company began as a shipping specialist in heavy offshore bulk transport and tugboats before starting to cart super yachts in 1987 after an oil crisis forced them to look for new business opportunities.