SHOKALSKIY: Auckland Islands Delight

14 February, 2017

 

After a calm night at anchor in Erebus Cove we relocated the ship to Sandy Bay on Enderby Island.  We used the zodiacs to shuttle passengers ashore after a briefing by Samuel in mild and fine conditions with a brief shower here and there. Once on the island many enjoyed watching the Giant Petrel and skua that were feeding on a sealion carcass on the beach. There were scientists at the research hut conducting research into the sealion population and they gave us information about their work and findings thus far.  We all enjoyed the hike across the boardwalk to the Western Cliffs with wildlife dotted along the way such as yellow-eyed penguins, pipits, bellbirds, Southern Royals Albatross. The cliffs were blustery and light-mantled sooty albatross were soaring the cliff faces along with some Auckland Islands cormorants.

Those wanting to explore further set off on a longer walk around the island shores while the remainder took their time to take photographs and footage as they made their way back to the scientific huts at Sandy Bay. Those circumnavigating the island hiked along the high cliff faces, past Derry Castle reef and through megaherb fields where the anisotome latifolia was in late bloom with a distinctive scent and smaller gentians bloomed in patches.  As we continued through the tussock the landscape and wildlife began to change. Here we saw harems of sealion females and one group took a particular liking to one of our group!  The highlight of the hike was definitely stepping into the gnarled rata forest and sitting in silence while the bellbirds serenaded us in song.  We all sat in silence, some with eyes closed, as we listened to their song. After the groups reunited back onboard the Akademik Shokalskiy we enjoyed dinner as we left Auckland Islands, headed towards Macquarie Island further south.

Guest blogger: Leanne Dunhill, Reservations

©RLilley Exploring Enderby IslandImage from file ©RLilley 

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