Across from Arapaoa Island at the eastern end of Queen Charlotte Sound, Motuara Island is home to one of the 50 or so nature reserves located throughout the Marlborough Sounds. When Captain Cook explored this region in 1770, the islands here were covered in dense vegetation. Over time many of them, including Motuara Island, were converted to farmland. In 1920, the island became a bird sanctuary. While a number of species thrive in this predator-free environment and you may see some of them from the deck of your ship, the most important—the nocturnal Okarito brown kiwi—is almost impossible to spot.