Southern Ocean Stories

I went through some of my photographs from the Sub-Antarctic Islands that I took on my voyage south with Heritage Expeditions over the easter break. Each time I do this, it feels more and more like a dream and I begin to remember the little things about that trip that made it so special. I thought I would share a couple of excerpts from the diary I took while I was on the Spirit of Enderby in an attempt to document my experience. It helps me remember, and hopefully, gives readers an insight to the fantastic region that is the Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand.

13th December 2010

The climb in Carnley Harbour, Auckland Island. (Photo: Kimberley Collins)

Today we went around to Carnley Harbour in the Auckland Islands. We were given a choice of going on a Zodiac cruise around the Island or climbing to the top of a peak (around 200m so not too bad) to get a look at the white-capped mollymawk colony. It was a pretty hard work but definitely worth it in the end! They were beautiful. The mud was plentiful and the grass deceptive as I grabbed a few to hold on to and came out with sliced up hands.

White-Capped Mollymawk on Auckland Island (Photo: Kimberley Collins)

Once we got up the top we had lunch and relaxed for a little bit before having to leave early. The ship was apparently dragging its anchor and so had to move further out of the harbour. The harbour acts as a wind tunnel, which we soon found out on the Zodiac ride back. We were up in the air and side to side for most of it. Eventually we got back to the boat and prepared the cabin for the supposed treacherous waters between the Auckland Islands and Macquarie Island. I can honestly say that I felt sick for the first time the whole trip and didn’t manage to get dinner.

15th December 2010

First day on Macquarie Island today. Words can’t describe how excited I was when we were heading ashore, even looking from the boat you could see a mass of little black and white specks dotting the coast line. It was like something out of Animal Planet. When we got ashore in the Zodiacs, we had to weave our way through elephant seals and along the beach to the Royal Penguin colony.

Royal Penguins on Macquarie Island (Photo: Kimberley Collins)

The Royals were incredibly interested in us, one even came up and nibbled on my trousers as if to say “who are you, what do you want?”. We had to walk at a very slow pace so that we didn’t startle them, especially the King Penguins which were much more skittish. Quite funny to watch people waddling very slowly along the beach, but better than startling thousands of penguins. Elephant seals were huge and quite sedentary, although I assume they can still move pretty fast! I still can’t get over the sound that they make, it’s quite disturbing!

Southern Elephant Seal on Macquarie Island (Photo: Kimberley Collins)

I think of that trip every single day and without sounding cliché, am so incredibly thankful that I was lucky enough to be on it. I hope my adventure and my passion for these islands has inspired at least 1 other person to take an interest. Even if it’s only looking at a Wikipedia article. That’s where it all starts.

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