Albatross Amongst Brightly Coloured Megaherbs

30 December, 2017
After an incredibly smooth sailing from Macquarie Island to Campbell, we awoke in the calm waters of Perseverance Harbour. Those who ventured out on deck were rewarded with the chirping of Yellow Eyed Penguins, and a show from curious sea lions as the mountains around us emerged from the fog. After a hearty breakfast, Alex gathered up a small group of intrepid walkers to do the long walk around North West Cape(12-14km). Alex promised the group that it would at times be both the worst, and the best, activity of this expedition. For those wanting a more sedate morning, after a leisurely breakfast we all joined Zodiacs to cruise the inner harbour. Yellow Eyed Penguins peeked out from the tussock furtively, sea lions swam under our zodiac, NZ Pipits fluttered around the Megaherbs and Arctic Terns and their young nested in narrow caves. Anisotome Latifola and Bulbinella Rossii provided a picturesque background for the wildlife we spotted along the rocky coastline, including two incredibly photogenic Light Mantled Sooty Albatross. The sun even peeked out from the clouds as we finished our cruise in the calm waters of the harbour. 
In the afternoon all passengers came ashore to embark on the Col Lyall boardwalk. As we headed up the boardwalk, some spotting a Snipe, as well as a shy Yellow Eyed Penguin and a couple of Sea Lions peeking through the ferns close, the botanists were enjoying the tiny plantlife next to the boardwalk including some stunning orchids. As we made our way through the fog, we started to get the first glimpses of the majestic Southern Royal Albatrosses soaring overhead. As we got further up the track, we enjoyed great views of the courtship ritual of the albatross as well as young juveniles gamming. Some who sat quietly on the boardwalk were even rewarded with close encounters by albatross who thought nothing of using the boardwalk as well! Right at the top of the boardwalk the field of megaherbs was in full flower and the bright purple and yellow colours were a feast for the eyes. There were hundreds of Pleurophyllum speciosum, anisotome latifola, and pleurophyllym criniferum flowering and in the midst of this field of colour, a solitary albatross who would have been one of the most photographed animals of the day. As we descended down the track, the winds picked up resulting in an adventurous zodiac cruise back to the ship, quite different from the zodiac cruise of this morning. On this expedition, there are people with a wide range of interests from birds, wildlife, photography and botany, and Campbell Island offers so much, there were many happy people when we returned to the ship. 

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