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Yearly Archives: 2020 − News & Stories


At sea – 20th-22nd Febru­a­ry 2020

Three days at sea sepa­ra­te Camp­bell Island from the Bal­le­ny Islands – when things are going well. They do go well. The sea is calm and we are making good pro­gress. The alba­tros­ses are get­ting fewer and fewer, the first ice­bergs appe­ar on the hori­zon. We are get­ting on with our vast seri­es of lec­tures and start pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for Ant­arc­ti­ca. Here we are tes­ting the emer­gen­cy tent and check safe­ty equip­ment.

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

Camp­bell Island – 19th Febru­a­ry 2020

It was a bit fog­gy today, but other than that, Camp­bell Island was good to us. No wind or anything else that would have made our lives dif­fi­cult. So we could easi­ly go ashore, full ahead Jthe­re is qui­te den­se vege­ta­ti­on also here on Camp­bell Island near the shore and when the­re is no wind, such as today near the lan­ding site, a wea­the­red con­cre­te plat­form that belongs to the for­mer wea­ther sta­ti­on, then the­re are a lot of fly­ing beasts that bite and bother you. But as soon as you start wal­king a bit hig­her up then you lea­ve the bit­ing beast area behind (I am sure experts would use a dif­fe­rent ter­mi­no­lo­gy but I am not an insec­to­lo­gist).

The way takes us through the area of the wea­ther sta­ti­on that was aban­do­ned in 1995 and soon the low but den­se coas­tal forest is get­ting more and more open. A board­walk is win­ding up and bet­ween some hills across to the other side of the island.
Camp­bell Island is, amongst others, famous for its mega­herbs – beau­ti­ful, lar­ge flowers that may reach this remar­kab­le size in order to be able to gather more light to crea­te a warm micro­cli­ma­te wit­hin the flower, some­thing that keeps the insects hap­py that the flowers rely on for pol­le­n­ati­on. And of cour­se for birds. The­re are many inte­res­ting spe­ci­es. Some of us were lucky enough to see the famous sni­pe, which was only dis­co­ve­r­ed in 1997 on neigh­bou­ring Jac­quemart Island. In 2001, when Camp­bell Island its­elf was rat-free again, the sni­pe could re-occu­py the main island again.

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

For many, the main attrac­tion will have been the majes­tic roy­al alba­tros­ses that breed high up on the win­dy slo­pes and hills.

The­re was not much to be seen of the view on the west side of the island. But that didn’t mat­ter too much. The­re was so much beau­ty other than that.

Now we have got a cou­p­le of days at sea ahead of us. We have set cour­se for the Bal­le­ny Islands.

Auck­land Island – 18 Febru­a­ry 2020

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!

Bluff – get­ting rea­dy for Ant­arc­ti­ca

Did you know that Bluff is not just the sou­thern­most town in New Zea­land but also the oldest one? James Spen­cer sett­led down here in 1824 and foun­ded a fishing sta­ti­on which employ­ed 21 peop­le.

Today, the num­ber of inha­bi­tants has grown well bey­ond 21 and they have all sorts of pro­fes­si­ons well bey­ond fishing.

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

Such as hel­ping peop­le like us who are about to get rea­dy for a very long ant­arc­tic voya­ge. The amounts of food stuffs, fuels and other sup­plies that we get deli­ve­r­ed to the ship are qui­te incredi­ble. And it is qui­te a bit of work to get that all on board … but even­tu­ell it is done and the­re is still time for a good walk, up the hill to the view­point, down to the coast at Loo­kout Point on the other side and back along the coast­li­ne. Gre­at views, gre­at sce­ne­ry, gre­at remants of the ori­gi­nal moun­tain forests. A mild ocea­nic bree­ze and wide views over the south end of New Zea­land, Ste­wart Island and the Sou­thern Oce­an. That’s whe­re we will be very soon, hea­ding south.

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