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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesAntarctic blog → Camp­bell Island – Febru­ar 17, 2017

Camp­bell Island – Febru­ar 17, 2017

Yeah – we did go ashore, and not just a litt­le bit!

During the morning, Camp­bell Island came slow­ly out of the low clouds. A green, wild island in the midd­le of a grey, wild sea.

The wea­ther fore­cast gave some rea­son to be opti­mistic, and rea­li­ty was not to disap­point us. Ages ago, friend­ly gla­ciers car­ved a very use­ful fjord into the island, which pro­vi­des shel­ter from the oce­an swell. If only the wind is not too strong …

If you are pre­pa­red for ant­arc­tic con­di­ti­ons, then the mild tem­pe­ra­tures may sur­pri­se you. It seems warm, insects are in the air. High grass and shrubs, almost making the impres­si­on of litt­le trees, are forming a rather pecu­li­ar vege­ta­ti­on resemb­ling low forests on the lower slo­pes. A lonely pen­gu­in near the shore turns out to be an erect-cres­ted pen­gu­in, a new spe­ci­es for me. Erect-cres­ted pen­gu­ins are only bree­ding on the Boun­ty Islands and the Anti­po­des. Talk of luck.

A board­walk leads up the hill, pas­sing the woo­den buil­dings of an aban­do­ned wea­ther sta­ti­on and con­ti­nuing through the den­se dwarf forest. The views bet­ween the small trees onto the bay are lovely. Sur­pri­sin­gly lar­ge herbs are gro­wing on lar­ge are­as as we get hig­her up in the ter­rain, they are known as mega­herbs, an appro­pria­te name.

The wind is get­ting fres­her as we are get­ting hig­her and it is tur­ning clouds into cold fog banks. White dots every here and the­re on the gras­sy slo­pes turn out to be alba­tros­ses sit­ting on their nests. Roy­al alba­tros­ses, which clo­se­ly rela­ted to the Wan­de­ring alba­tross, the world’s big­gest bird accord­ing to the wing­s­pan. Only small details of the beak and plu­mage tell the dif­fe­rence. The huge birds are spread ever­y­whe­re, kee­ping their chicks warm in their nests. The chicks will be just a few days old by now. We are very lucky to obser­ve alba­tros­ses in a rela­tively clo­se distance, fee­ding chicks and gree­ting part­ners upon return to the nest. Tho­se few of us who can’t lea­ve are trea­ted with a group of alba­tros­ses which comes to land just a few metres away from us, socia­li­sing with one ano­t­her. It is no less then six in the end which are dan­cing and making stran­ge noi­ses. An unf­or­gett­able expe­ri­ence, espe­cial­ly as the fog has by now given way to the blue sky and evening sun.

Gal­le­ry – Camp­bell Island – Febru­ar 17, 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

After a long after­noon on shore it is time to say good­bye to Camp­bell Island. Two years ago we spend one and a half day watching the island in a how­ling gale without get­ting real­ly clo­se to it. What a con­trast. An unf­or­gett­able after­noon in a very spe­cial, uni­que world.

In the evening it is time to set cour­se to the south. More than 1100 miles are sepa­ra­ting us from the Ross Sea, we will spend at least for days cros­sing this stretch of the Sou­thern Oce­an.

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last modification: 2017-03-30 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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