We reached the Auckland Islands after a day at sea. Pretty rough passage, given it was the first day on the ship for most of us. But now we had made it so far!
»So far« was Enderby Island, the northernmost one of the Auckland islands. The idea was to make a landing on Enderby, but that was not to happen. Far too much swell and surf on the beach.
Anyway – we had other options, so we went Zodiac-cruising the various bays and shorelines of Port Ross. A landscape that reminded me greatly of the fjords and islands in Tierra del Fuego, in the southernmost part of Chile. Very similar vegetation, with a dense cold-temperate-climate rainforest near the shore, and exotic birds calling from within the forest. A birdwatchers’ paradise, and we got to see quite a lot, including the endemic Auckland shag, the New Zealand pipit, the chick of a light-mantled sooty albatross, the odd sea lion … we also found the basalt columns made famous by Mr. M’Cormick, the naturalist on board with Captain James Clark Ross in 1840:
Mr. M’Cormick, who remarks that the formation of these (referring to the Auckland Islands), as well as Campbell Islands, is volcanic, and constituted chiefly of basalt and greenstone, especially calls attention to »Deas’ Head,« a promontory of Auckland Island, as being of great geological interest, exhibiting fine columns, three hundred feet high, which are highly magnetic.
James Clark Ross (1847):
A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions,
During the Years 1839-43
Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.
Later we went out again in Carnley Harbour, further south on the main island of the Aucklands. An unbelievable place! Scenery, wildlife … stunning!