Christmas Day at Enderby Island

25 December, 2018

Image (c) Alex Fergus

After heaving and rolling our way from the Snares south, we were glad to find respite in the calm anchorage of 'Sarah's Bosom' in the early hours of Christmas morning. Dawn revealed 30-knot westerlies and a sodden clag hanging over low-lying Enderby Island. Once ashore, in two parties we traversed the islands boggy centre via a boardwalk to the northern cliffs, where gusts exceeding 50-knots threatened to flatten us against the coastal peat turfs. Here our two bands parted ways, one undertaking a clockwise circumnavigation of the remainder of the island, the other tenaciously exploring the northern cliffs and back beaches of Sandy Bay. Both troupes were treated to bursting floral displays of giant pink and purple subantarctic carrots (Anisotome latifolia) while in the forested ribbons of th e island, the Southern Rata was beginning to break crimson bud. All over the island sub-adult male New Zealand Sea Lions sought opportunities for spirited rendezvous with passing wanderers, while both crews had dynamic exchanges with local pairs of New Zealand Falcon. All over the island we found Yellow-Eyed Penguins, Red-Crowned Parakeets, Macquarie Island Cabbages, Banded Dotterels and Auckland Island Teal, and those at the front of our forces were even treated to fleeting escapes of Auckland Island Snipe. Back at Sandy Bay the spectacle of Sea Lion battle, birth, and the generalities of harem life kept us captivated for much of the afternoon. Back aboard the ship, a seven-course degustation, courtesy of our galley-champions, lead onto an exhausted but overwhelmingly satisfied Christmas collapse into slumber.

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