This is without doubt one of the most inspirational and informative journeys or expeditions into the Southern Ocean ecosystem that one can make anywhere in the world. Long recognised for their rich biodiversity, the Subantarctic Islands lying to the south of New Zealand are UNESCO World Heritage sites. This places them in a select group of only 180 natural sites that have been designated as ‘the most important and significant natural habitats' on the planet. They are also afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments and access to these islands is by permit only. On this expedition we offer you the unique chance to explore, photograph and understand these wonderful places in the company of some of the most knowledgeable and passionate guides.
As a young biologist, Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ first visited these islands in 1972 with the New Zealand Wildlife Service. He organised New Zealand's first commercial expedition there in 1989, and many years and over 100 expeditions later, he is still as passionate about the islands as he was in 1972. It was only natural that his family should travel with him, what wasn't predictable was that they would join him in the business and be as passionate about the conservation of this region as he is. As the original concessionaire we enjoy good relationships with the conservation departments and some of the access permits we hold are unique to these expeditions.
The name we have given to this voyage ‘Galapagos of the Southern Ocean' reflects the astounding natural biodiversity and the importance of these islands as a wildlife refuge. (The book ‘Galapagos of the Antarctic' written by Rodney Russ and Aleks Terauds and published by Heritage Expeditions describes all of these islands in great detail.) The islands all lie in the cool temperate zone with a unique climate and are home to a vast array of wildlife including albatross, penguins, petrels, prions, shearwaters and marine mammals like sea lions, fur seals and elephant seals. The flora is equally fascinating; the majority of it being like the birds and endemic to these islands.
This expedition includes four of the Subantarctic Islands, The Snares, Auckland, Macquarie and Campbell. Each one is different and each one is unique, just like this expedition.
Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Our ship - The Spirit of Enderby:
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a recently updated combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room (March 2018). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
Classification: Russian register KM ice class
Year built: 1984
Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
Bunker capacity: 320 tons
Day 1: 23rd December
This evening we gathered at the Kelvin Hotel for our first meal together and to meet with our Expedition Leader, we were briefed on plans for the next day and the expedition we were about to set out on.
Day 2: 24th December
Position 0800 hrs: 46º37.8’S 168º21.2’E Bluff
Weather: SSW wind 16 knots, air temperature 14ºC
Sea conditions: 2 metre swell, sea temperature 13ºC
Nature highlights: Southern Royal, Auckland White-capped and Salvin’s Albatross; Cape, Mottled, Cook’s & diving petrels; Sooty Shearwater, Spotted and Bronze (Stewart Island) Shags, Red-billed and Kelp Gulls, White-fronted tern, Little Blue & Fiordland Crested Penguins, Antarctic & Fairy Prions.
We met in the lobby of the Kelvin Hotel in Bluff at 0900, tell-tale signs betraying fellow passengers; rugged day packs; strong walking shoes; outdoor jackets and outsized camera bags.
“Hi, I’m Chris, one of your guides. Welcome to Heritage Expeditions! Please bring your bags over here. Max and I will label them and Alex will have them waiting in your cabins when you get on board. Once that’s done we’ll head down to the museum to look at the Subantarctic display, come back to the Kelvin for lunch, then at 1.30 we’ll take a coach to Bluff and the Spirit of Enderby.”
Once aboard we enjoyed tea and fresh scones in the bar-library, cleared Australian customs for Macquarie Island, settled into our cabins, then headed down to the lecture room for our first briefing at 4pm. Rodney Russ, our Expedition Leader and founder of Heritage Expeditions introduced the team,
….“ I bring you greetings from Captain Dmitri and the crew. This is Jessie Prebble our Cruise Director: She’ll be keeping the show on the road. Here are 2 of the most important people on the ship - our chefs Alain Hauswirth and Ed Roberts. This is Dave Chamley, ship’s doctor, and these are your guides, lecturers and Zodiac drivers; Lisle Gwynn, Steph Borrelle and Chris Todd. OK team, come on up and introduce yourselves…” “And now for the Zodiac briefing… safety around the ship… lifeboat drill…..”
We set sail for The Snares at 6pm, feeling the roll of the ocean as soon as we left port. After a superb dinner (choice of seared salmon or rack of lamb) served by cheerful Russian wait staff Natalia and Olga, we left the lee of bush-clad Ruapuke and Rakiura / Stewart Islands and experienced the full influence of the Southern Ocean swell.
We climbed up to the bridge and upper decks to enjoy the landscapes, seascapes and the see-sawing flight of seabirds long into the evening. Thus began our 13 day voyage to one of the most remote and wild places on earth.
Day 3: 25th December – Christmas Day
The Snares and at Sea
Position 0800 hrs: 48º01.8’S 166º37.7’E
Weather: SSW wind 12 knots, air temperature 14ºC
Sea conditions: 2 metre swell, sea temperature 13ºC
Nature highlights: Snares Crested Penguin, Snares Island Tomtit, Southern Buller’s Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Fulmar Prion, Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, Antarctic Tern, New Zealand Fur Seal, New Zealand Sea Lion, Fern Bird.
The perfect Christmas present: fine weather for a Zodiac cruise at The Snares! We arrived here at 0730hrs. All five Zodiacs were craned off the back deck and driven to the gangway, where Russian sailors helped passengers into the Zodiacs, which rose and fell with the swell.
The granite buttresses of The Snares rose abruptly from indigo depths, strikingly blanketed by white lichen and fringed by tan-coloured bull kelp. Higher plants took hold some 20-30 metres further up, above the line of storm-driven waves. The island is covered in a mixture of forest (tree daisy Olearia lyalii with some Brachiglottis stewartii ), open tussock (Poa spp), shrublands on the seaward margins (the coastal hebe Veronica elliptica) and lichen-covered granite.
As we approached the island, endemic Snares Crested Penguins rafted past in big groups; their black and white bodies, bright orange beaks and yellow crests a study in contrast. They preened themselves in the water, porpoised, dived and torpedoed clean out of the sea onto the rocks, before hopping and walking up long, sloping rock-ramps to their nests high in the forest. They seemed very definite about leaving the sea, but eternally undecided about getting back in.
After following the shoreline some way, we motored into a cavernous tunnel, the seabed 5-10 metres down clearly visible through crystal clear water, before exiting into a perfectly calm cove surrounded by forest. Someone sang a verse of Silent Night in the tunnel to check out the acoustics and mark the season.
Buller’s Albatross nested high above us, their beautiful grey heads phasing into dark eye patches, with striking yellow bills. They were all around the island; at sea, soaring over clifftops, sitting on the water, nesting amongst tussocks and shrubs, or sitting on high rocky promontories.
Young sea lions followed the Zodiacs curiously, twisting and turning under water to get a better look at the boats. On the rocky foreshore a large male with furious red eyes defended 2 females against challenges from 2 other males, one from each side. Fern Birds and Black Tomtits fed down to the rocky sea margins. The abundance of wildlife action made it hard to decide what to look at or photograph next: a truly memorable Christmas Day.
Photo credit: C. Todd
Photo credit: L. Gwynn
What a Christmas present!
Kayaking on a flat sea surrounded by a raft of curious Snares Crested Penguins, with Hooker's Sea Lions ignoring us as they challenged each other on a wave platform, Mike and I could have been the only humans on the planet.
With the Spirit of Enderby and the cruising Zodiacs out of sight, we paddled quietly through the clear waters, marvelling as the wild inhabitants of The Snares went about their day. Penguins approached to about one metre on the surface, braver under water they came right up to our hull. Sea lions were more curious, frequently swimming right up to our paddles.
We had launched from a Zodiac alongside the Spirit of Enderby, and paddled along the coast of the island, stopping to drift past groups of penguins and posturing sea lions. The benign conditions allowed for exploration deep into a sea cave, with the waves gurgling over rocks in the darkness. Paddling quietly through a long archway which opened into a mirror-calm bay, we were joined by the Zodiacs as we went around to the famed Penguin Slide.
Sitting off to the side as penguins timed their leap ashore, we craned our necks as they made the long trudge up the smooth rock to their colonies high in the vegetation.
With the conditions so good, Rodney called over the radio to push back our pick-up time, and Mike and I paddled back south along the island before heading back to the ship. We pulled alongside a Zodiac to be transferred aboard, having paddled 5 kilometres of the most pristine coastline in New Zealand.
Photo credit: J. Kirk-Anderson
Day 4: 26th December – Boxing Day
Position 0800 hrs: 50º30.4’S 166º16.5’E
Weather: NW wind 20 knots, air temperature 13ºC
Sea conditions: 1 metre swell (inside harbour), sea temperature 15ºC
Nature highlights: New Zealand Sea Lion breeding colony, endemic Auckland Island Pipit, tomtit, Flightless Teal, snipe, shag and anded dotterel; Red-crowned and Yellow-crowned Parakeet; NZ Falcon, Yellow-eyed Penguin, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross synchronised-flying, nesting Southern Royal Albatross.
The ship stopped rolling at 0300hrs as we entered the sheltered waters Port Ross, known affectionately by early sailors as ‘Sarah’s Bosom’ and anchored off our landing point at Sandy Bay. Enderby Island is low-lying, rising gently from a sandy beach in the south to coastal cliffs along the exposed north coast. After launching the Zodiacs, we landed stern first in order to keep the bow pointing into the small surf. After swinging our legs over the side, we crossed the sea-lion strewn beach to Department of Conservation field huts. A few young male sea lions made half-hearted lunges at us to remind us who owned the beach. Once we had stowed the life-jackets and changed into walking shoes, we headed up a grassy bank above the beach, through low shrubs and onto the boardwalk under a canopy of an enchanting, low-growing, red-flowering rata (Metrosideros umbellata), Myrsine and Dracophyllum trees, the forest floor punctuated by mosses, ferns and the rhubarb-like megaherb Azorella polaris. As we climbed further towards the wind-exposed north coast, the vegetation quickly transitioned down to a dense carpet of cushion plants, gentians, and the megaherbs Bulbinella (yellow flowers and strap-like leaves) and Anisotome (huge mauve globes of florets).
Endemic Auckland Island Dotterels, pipits and tomtits fed on invertebrates (Astelia) close to the boardwalk, the dotterels seemingly oblivious to our presence. At the end of the boardwalk Auckland Island Shags flapped rapidly up and down the line of cliff-tops and a pair of Light-mantled Sooty Albatross soared past in a beautiful display of synchronised flying. Deep peat above the cliffs had been scoured by the wind, revealing old layers where trees had once grown.
Thirty-five people carried on around the island, clockwise and eastward above the cliffs, around the eastern coastline and back to Sandy Bay. They reported seeing endemic snipe amongst the tussocks, Red-crowned Parakeets feeding on grass seeds and Gentianella, Yellow-eyed Penguins nesting and sea lions hauled out around the shoreline, a colony of Auckland Islands Shags, Southern Royal Albatross nesting and flying over the tussocks, a pair of falcons chasing parakeets, and walking inside the ‘enchanted’ rata forest, the canopy twisted over by the prevailing winds and floor carpeted with Azorella, moss and ferns.
Photo credit: J Kirk-Anderson
The remainder of us remained at the cliffs for a time to look at the flowering plants and watch the Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses before returning to the beach to watch sea-lions: huge testosterone-driven dominant males desperately defended their harems, erupting periodically into furious fights. Females with pups snapped at the fighting males or scrambled out of the way to prevent their pups being crushed. Females and pups lay together in small groups, pups bleating like lambs and being nursed attentively. At the top of the beach slightly older pups were being held in crèches while their mothers were at sea. We watched a sea lion give birth to a pup straight onto the sandy beach, skuas dashing in to snatch pieces of the placenta.
We enjoyed a magnificent buffet roast Christmas dinner, delayed until Boxing Day to ensure calm conditions at table.
Photo credit: L. Gwynn
Day 5: 27th December
Carnley Harbour, Auckland Island
Position 0800 hrs: 50º50.6’S 166º05.8’E
Weather: SW wind 20 knots, air temperature 11ºC
Sea conditions: 4 metre swell, sea temperature 14ºC
Nature highlights: Watching seabirds from the bridge leaving the Auckland Islands. Gibson's Wandering Albatross, Grey-backed and Black-bellied Storm-Petrel.
We arrived at Carnley Harbour at 0630 in thick fog and high winds which made it unsuitable to anchor. As a result we headed back out to North Arm in the lee of the island.
Day 6: 28th December
At sea en route to Macquarie Island
Position 0800 hrs: 51º56.2’S 164º06.4’E
Weather: SW wind 24 knots, air temperature 11ºC
Sea conditions: 3 metre swell, sea temperature 12ºC
Nature highlights: Experiencing the power of the Southern Ocean
We spent the entire day punching directly into a SW swell, a day best spent reading or lying in bed.
Rodney asked us to spare thought for those in the sailing ship era who had sometimes taken weeks to beat their way down to Macquarie Island, only to have to stand off for days until it was calm enough to land a boat.
Photo credit: J Kirk-Anderson
Day 7: 29th December
Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island
Position 0800 hrs: 54º24.8’S 159º11.9’E
Weather: Westerly wind 20 knots, air temperature 9ºC
Sea conditions: 1 metre swell, sea temperature 11ºC
Nature highlights: Sandy Bay landings: King and Royal Penguins; elephant seal weaners and young adults; orca; skuas and giant petrels hunting penguin chicks; dramatic landscapes and seascapes.
Macquarie Island, an Australian territory 34 km long x 5 km wide, is apparently the exposed crest of the undersea Macquarie Ridge and the only place on earth where rocks from the earth’s mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level.
We arrived at 0900 and ferried 2 Australian Antarctic Division staff and Alex Fergus (NZ Department of Conservation botanist) by Zodiac to the Australian base at Buckles Bay. The Zodiacs returned with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service rangers accompanying us to our landings.
We landed stern-first at Sandy Bay between sets of big waves, scrambling onto the beach as fast as possible so the Zodiacs could get off before the next set arrived. The beach and rocky headland was alive with wriggling elephant seal weaners, wrestling and barking sub-adults and groups of elephant seals simply lying sardine-style on the beach. Groups of Royal Penguins marched or stood on the beach, backs to the wind. Royal Penguins with rakish gold crests porpoised back and forth on fishing trips to feed their young in colonies high above the beach. The colony we visited via a boardwalk was alive with little groups of creched chicks, adults marching to and fro to feed them, and desperate attempts to drive off marauding skuas and giant petrels, ever alert for an unguarded chick, which they would snatch and disembowel in minutes. As we departed for the ship from our second (afternoon) landing, a pod of orca swam by and out past the ship.
What an extraordinary place and what a privilege to be here! It made the previous 36 hours beating into sou’west swells to get here seem trivial and irrelevant. The ship remained anchored off Sandy Bay overnight.
Photo credit: L. Gwynn
Margaret and Vijay were surprised spectators when a group of Giant Petrel killed and ate a penguin beside their kayak, off Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island.
The couple had just been launched from a Zodiac and were heading towards the beach when the raw act of nature played out beside them. As Mike and I paddled over, the unfortunate penguin was quickly devoured by the group of large seabirds, who ignored us and our double kayaks.
Rafts of penguins formed around us, as if there was safety in numbers and our presence. They left us to head inshore as we continued paddling along the coast, staying outside the surf zone, which was dumping on the shingle beach.
Ashore, Royal and King Penguins formed ranks of white, broken by large grey elephant seals shuffling along the beach. Penguins swam in pools on the rock platforms at the north-eastern end of the bay, and stopped to watch us. Mindful of the swell rolling in, we were cautious in our approach to the shore, back-paddling away from the breakers.
As the time approached for the passengers ashore to return to the Spirit of Enderby, we took advantage of the tail wind and paddled quickly out to board her via a moored Zodiac.
Marvelling at our witness to nature's rawness, we prepared for lunch and our visit to the beach via Zodiac.
Day 8: 30 December
Lusitania Bay cruise-by (south-east coast of Macquarie Island) and Zodiac landings at Buckles Bay (site of Australian base). Afternoon at sea.
Position 0800 hrs: 54º42.1’S 158º32.5’E
Weather: SSW wind 12 knots, air temperature 9ºC
Sea conditions: 2 metre swell, sea temperature 13ºC
Nature highlights: Huge King Penguin colonies at South-east Reef and Lusitania Bay; a pod of orca patrolling the penguin colonies.
At 0630 the Spirt of Enderby cruised to Heard Point and South-east Reef at the southern end of Macquarie Island, site of an estimated 500,000-pair strong King Penguin colony. A pod of orca patrolled the beaches nearby, their massive dorsal fins breaking the surface every few minutes. We headed north to Lusitania Bay, once the scene of mass slaughter as penguins were thrown wholesale into giant pressure cookers (‘digesters’) and their fat rendered into barrels of oil. The digesters were rusting on the beach, surrounded entirely by breeding penguins.
After breakfast we dropped the rangers back to Buckles Bay, landing on the bouldery beach by Zodiac between sets of large waves and scrambling out while Rodney, Lisle and John stood in the water with dry-suits to hold the boats steady and push them off.
The sea’s gorgeous milky blue colour was reminiscent of a glacial lake, apparently caused by penguin guano washing into the sea from the massive colonies. On shore, rangers and scientists gave us a guided tour of the base and its surrounds. In the mess we were given tea and scones with jam and cream. Some of us had our passports stamped, bought souvenirs or sent postcards from the Macquarie Island post office, which will apparently reach their recipients some time in April. Once again the wildlife was spectacular: A Macquarie Island Shag colony; scores of huge elephant seals slumbering amongst the tussocks; a Gentoo Penguin colony, with gentoos fishing amongst the seaweed or feeding their young; white-morph Southern Giant Petrels; King Penguins resting on the beach. We picked up 6 more staff from the base to transport to New Zealand, as we departed swinging by in the Zodiacs for a quick look at the Rockhopper Penguin colony near the base.
We set sail for Campbell Island at 1430 hrs.
Photo credit: Lisle Gwynn
Day 9: 31st December - New Years Eve
At sea en route from Macquarie Island to Campbell Island
Position 0800 hrs: 53º33.4’S 164º12.9’E
Weather: Easterly wind 16 knots, air temperature 13ºC
Sea conditions: 2 metre swell, sea temperature 14ºC
Nature highlights: Quarantine procedures pre-landing at Campbell Island.
Sea Shop open
New Year’s Eve celebrations deferred until Perseverance Harbour and calm waters.
Photo credit: L. Gwynn
Day 10: 1st January 2017
Col Lyall, Campbell Island
Position 0800 hrs: 53º33.1’S 169º10.0’E (Anchored Perseverance Harbour)
Weather: Easterly wind 20 knots, air temperature 12ºC
Sea conditions: 1 metre swell, sea temperature 14ºC
Nature highlights: Southern Royal Albatrosses, megaherbs, ground orchids, Campbell Island Snipe and spectacular coastal landscapes of Col Lyall.
Social highlight: Celebration for New Years Day.
We anchored in Perseverance Harbour under the island’s highest point, Mt Honey. All around us hills rose high and steep from the rocky shoreline, up through Dracophyllum shrubland and tussock clad upper slopes to rocky crags and ridges. Showers of sleet blasted the tops and the high winds made an immediate landing out of the question. The crew had to reposition the ship periodically due the wind. Everyone was dying to get outside!
The wind dropped slightly over lunch, so dressed ‘warmly and waterproofly’ we took the Zodiacs over to the Col Lyall board-walk for the afternoon. Several snipe jumped out in front of us on the way up, including a mother with a small chick. Mauve Pleurophyllum were opening beside the boardwalk and the sharp-eyed spotted 4 species of ground orchid. As we neared the col we began to see Southern Royal Albatross flying above and then around us, their huge wings sweeping across the tussocks-covered slopes and soaring on updrafts. It’s hard to appreciate just how enormous they are until you have familiar objects on land to scale them against. Soon we came to an albatross sitting on its mounded nest among the tussocks. Then we saw dozens of birds, with groups of young adults ‘gamming’, a term for their courtship behaviour, with beak-clacking, wing-stretching, yodeling, head-shaking, neck-arching, co-grooming, and flying low over the tussocks together. One over-flew us so closely we could hear the wind whistling through its wings.
It was sleeting on the col, which somehow added to the splendid sense of wildness; overlooking the rugged cliffs of the west coast, South West Bay, Dent Island and the spectacular volcanic hills and outcrops.
Cold, wet and very happy, we returned to a hot shower and a special 6-course meal and supper to celebrate New Years Day.
Our kayaks slipped across the still waters of Perseverance Harbour, calmed after the previous day's strong winds, and we were able to drift along the shoreline of Lookout Bay scanning for birds. The Campbell Island Teal, which we were hoping to see, remained elusive, but we spotted Pipit and were soon joined by sea lions snorting along beside us.
Passing by the abandoned buildings of the MetService, we found the Zodiac cruisers in Tucker Cove with cameras pointed at a Teal standing on a rock at the water's edge. They quietly motored away and we enjoyed the sight of this bird, bought back from the brink of extinction after Rodney Russ discovered one in 1975.
Paddling to the head of Tucker Cove we were escorted by four sea lions, one ahead, one on each flank, and one following in our wake. One inquisitive sea lion took a liking to Mike’s paddle blade.
Heading around into Camp Cove our two double kayaks kept our escort, but they dropped back as we approached the shallows. On the left of the beach an elephant seal shuffled towards us, then turned around and headed back into the bush. Ahead was the “Loneliest Tree in the World”, a Sitka Spruce believed planted in 1907 and the only tree on the island. Wider than it is tall, it has suffered in the past from being the source of Christmas trees for the long-closed meteorological station.
Rounding Duris Point into Garden Cove we passed roaring elephant seals, who stopped their posturing to watch our progress. Soon after another teal was spotted, feeding among the kelp where its plumage was great camouflage.
Passing Venus Bay with the flanks of Mt Honey catching the sun, it was hard to believe we were deep in the Southern Ocean, kayaking at New Zealand's southern-most island. Ahead of us the mixed vegetation on Shoal Point shone in the sunlight, and waves gently broke over Terror Shoal.
Spotting the Zodiacs returning from their cruise towards the entrance to the harbour we turned towards the Spirit of Enderby, sitting below Beeman Hill. Once the Zodiacs had dropped their passengers off at the gangplank, Margaret, Vijay, Mike and I rafted alongside the moored Zodiac and climbed the rope ladder to the deck, where we quietly celebrated a fantastic paddle in an amazing place.
Photo credit: J Kirk-Anderson
Day 11: 2nd January
Northwest Bay and Col Lyall, Campbell Island
Position 0800 hrs: 53º33.0’S 169º09.4’E (Anchored Perseverance Harbour)
Weather: Southerly wind 2 knots, air temperature 8ºC
Sea conditions: 1 metre swell (in harbour), sea temperature 16ºC
Nature highlights: Landings and Zodiac cruises from Perseverance harbour, spectacular departure from Campbell Island via Bull Rock.
Our last day on land was calm and mainly sunny. We had a choice of a long walk; the board walk again, a Zodiac cruise or sea-kayaking around the harbour.
Rodney led the long walk over the range to Northwest Bay, supported by ‘Dr Dave’. Walkers climbed up through Dracophyllum shrubland. Antarctic Terns nesting in the tussocks chided and circled overhead. A large area near the saddle was completely covered in megaherbs at peak flowering; mauve Pleurophyllum and Anisotome, bright green Azorella and yellow Bulbinella. A few large sea elephants lounged at Northwest Bay. After lunch, dozens of Southern Royal Albatross began flying across the slopes of Mt Dumas. Many others were on the ground ‘gamming’. Dozens of snipe scuttled off, their population recovering in spectacular fashion since the eradication of rats in 2001. Prior to that their last refuge had been on tiny Jacquemart Island.
Lisle, Steph & Chris drove Zodiacs for the harbour cruise where we enjoyed close encounters with the flightless endemic Campbell Island Teal (possibly the rarest duck in the world with approximately 130 known individuals); wrestling sea elephants; nesting terns, Red-billed and Kelp gulls. We landed and walked to the ‘lonely’ Sitka Spruce tree at Camp Cove, and at Tucker Cove walked around the site of the former farmhouse (Shacklock stove standing testimony in the grass), where Chris gave us a quick history lesson. Out towards the heads we watched Light-mantled Sooty Albatross with their striking grey heads and white eyes nesting improbably amongst cliff face vegetation. Meanwhile the kayakers made a landing at Venus Cove for lunch before heading back to the ship.
Photo credit: Heritage Expeditions
Jessie led the ‘board-walkers’ back up to Col Lyall, with more great opportunities for macro-photography and albatross observation. There were some challenges negotiating space with resident male sea lions on the way back to the landing.
After a very successful day we weighed anchor at 1500 hrs and set sail for Bluff via Bull Rock and North Cape. As we rolled gently on long, heavy swells in bright afternoon sunshine, Campbell Island revealed itself at its spectacular best: under cliff after massive cliff waves were smashing and being atomised to white mist; above the cliffs face after tussocky face was covered in huge colonies of Campbell and Black-browed Albatross, a gentle valley was truncated abruptly be sea-cliffs, its river becoming a huge waterfall; the dramatically uplifted sandstone cliffs of Courrejolles Point fell sheer to the sea, at one point tunnelled right through by the waves. And all around the ship albatross and petrels wheeled and soared. A perfect finale to a highly successful expedition to the Galapagos of the South Pacific.
Day 12: 3rd January
En route to Bluff
Position 0800 hrs: 49º30.7’S 168º43.7’E
Weather: NE wind 16 knots, air temperature 10ºC
Sea conditions: 2 metre swell, sea temperature 15ºC
Nature highlights: Seabirds
Day 13: 4th January
Position 0800 hrs: 46º37.8’S 168º21.2’E Bluff
We arrived in Bluff at 0630, had breakfast and disembarked at 0830. There were fond farewells to new friends, each taking with us indelible memories of encounters with wildlife, wild places and a great adventure shared in the Subantarctic.
Day 1: 3 December 2013
At 9am the bus swept onto the wharf in Dunedin and expeditioners began to board the Spirit of Enderby (aka Professor Khromov) and luggage and cabins were organized. Once aboard most found the deck where entertainment was provided by a pipe band, augmented by a saxophone, piano accordion and singing guitarist. An addition to the band was one very burly, beautifully socialized and friendly dog belonging to one of the wharf workers. He was obviously accustomed to the wharf-side environment and pranced and gamboled about as the band played a selection of Scottish tunes and some updated medleys.
At 1000 we slipped our moorings and the Spirit of Enderby, guided by the pilot, proceeded down the channel heading for the open sea. Off the Aramoana Mole the Dunedin pilot boat burbled alongside to collect the pilot waiting on the rope ladder hanging down the ship’s side. With a nimble ‘Zorro-like’ leap the pilot landed on the deck of his vessel and waved us off. We rounded Tairoa Head where we could see Royal Albatrosses nesting amongst the long grass and soaring over the upper slopes of the Head. At 1130 we filed down through the ship to the lecture room where Nathan gave his informative introduction to the ship and the staff.
It was not long before we felt the gentle roll and lift of the open sea. Captain Dimitry Zinchenko set our course for the Subantarctic islands and the voyage began. Lunch was announced and the chefs produced the first in a series of superb meals which we would enjoy throughout the voyage.
At 1330 we all participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill which precedes every voyage. As the alarms rang (7 bells followed by one long one) expeditioners donned their life jackets and made their way to the boat deck where all climbed into the bright orange lifeboats. Conditions in full lifeboats can only be described as ‘intimate’, but what better way to meet your fellow travellers? Passengers were advised that the boats contain food and water for a full complement for about 6 days. “Excuse me” said one querulous voice, “but where do we go to the bathroom?” In the afternoon Nathan gave his introductory lecture on the use of the Zodiac inflatables and followed that with an illustrated introduction to the Snares Islands, our first destination.
Conditions for our first day at sea were superb. A light northwesterly wind and sea followed us as we made our way south past Saddle Hill, the Catlins coast, Murderers Bay and Nugget Point. The evening meal was excellent and the sunset beautiful as we sailed south along the east coast of Stewart Island.
Departing Otago Harbour. Photo credit: A.Breniere
Day 2: 4 December 2013
Weather forecast: Northerlies 15-20kts freshening to 40-45kts in the afternoon, swell from north at 2-3m. Sea conditions moved from benign to decidedly more malignant overnight and the run on sick bags was like the New Year sales.
0730 Breakfast was attended by a few hearty stalwarts and a parade of pale faces who had to rapidly learn the art of eating cereals without spilling the milk.
During the morning Samuel and Martin were on the bridge birding and whale watching respectively. Samuel saw our first Mottled Petrel of the trip and some Sooty Shearwaters. Martin saw three whale blows but the height of the swell and the wind speed prevented identification. As we travelled south, moving out of the lee of Stewart Island, conditions became increasingly rough. Nathan decided it was too rough for the planned Zodiac cruise of the Snares Islands and the ship would travel as close as possible to the islands to allow passengers a relatively close look instead. Wisely, in deference to the tender state of many of the passengers and aware that in rolling conditions sitting in the lecture room is akin to being inside a galloping cow’s stomach, Nathan postponed the mid-afternoon lecture. Meanwhile the super-keen bird watchers were out on deck while other passengers popped in and out the doors to get some fresh air. At 1620 a pod of 6 Common Dolphins was seen 15-20m off the port side. Among the birds seen were Wandering, Royal and Salvin’s Albatrosses, Black Bellied Storm Petrels, White-chinned and Giant Petrels and a Thin-billed Prion.
The wet aft-deck is particularly slippery in a heavy roll as one of our number discovered when he fell onto his back and shot towards the gate where, fortunately, he prevented himself from being the first man-overboard with a well placed foot on the superstructure. During this caper his grandson stood aghast, mouth open, clutching his camera – but no photos. What a missed opportunity! Up on the port side 400 level, another passenger, unused to the roll, inadvertently toppled out through the open door onto the deck among the legs of those lining the rail. One of the staff got her upright and back inside, shaken but not bent. Some minutes later she took another tumble and fell down the stairs tragically breaking her femur in the process. Dr Sam, an A&E expert, rapidly attended to her in the ship’s hospital and made her as comfy as possible for the overnight run back to Port Pegasus, Stewart Island, while Nathan arranged for her to be helicoptered off the ship the next morning and taken to Kew Hospital in Invercargill.
The meals today were again excellent even though they were prepared under very trying conditions by chefs Bruce and Dean. What a shame 31 crème caramels remained uneaten. The “Mal de Mer” won again!
Snares Islands. Photo credit: S.Blanc
Day 3: 5 December 2013
After breakfast in the sheltered, bush-clad calm of Port Pegasus, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural harbours, Martin gave a comprehensive introductory talk on the Hooker’s (New Zealand) Sea Lion which we were to encounter in coming days at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island. At about 1000 our unfortunate patient was taken by Zodiac into North Arm at Port Pegasus where she was uplifted and flown by helicopter to Invercargill for further treatment. As soon as Nathan returned, the Zodiac was loaded and secured and Captain Dimitry resumed our course south to Enderby Island.
After lunch, Samuel gave an introductory talk on sea birds of the region illustrated with some exceptional photographs. At 1530 everyone went to the Bar/Library where the DOC rep, Kirsten Ralph, was overseeing the important task of cleaning and vacuuming all packs and walking gear to be taken ashore of any vegetable matter to prevent the accidental introduction of alien seeds to at Enderby Island.
The last talk of the day was Nathan’s fascinating introduction to the Auckland Islands. He covered the geological history, sealing, settlement, the shipwrecks, farming, the wartime activities of the ‘Cape Expedition’ coast watchers and finally, the implementation of reserve status and removal of feral animals.
Day 4: 6 December 2013
Auckland Islands - Enderby Island
At 0430 the Spirit of Enderby dropped anchor about 500m offshore from Sandy Bay, the location of the second largest breeding rookery of New Zealand Sea Lions. The weather was not quite what we’d hoped as thick sea fog blanketed the island and driving mist promised a soggy walk around the coast.
After breakfast, the chefs, Bruce and Dean, assisted expeditioners to assemble their packed lunches and by 1000 all passengers going ashore had been landed at the convenient gap in the rock platform west of the beach. We all walked in single file past the massive bachelor male sea lions guarding their territories in anticipation of the arrival of the females coming ashore to pup in about 7 days and climbed up to the historic boatshed erected in 1888 by the crew of the NZ government vessel “Stella”. Life jackets and gumboots were stored there in bins from the ship and we then made our way across the sward past the restored Stella Hut (built in 1880) to the boardwalk crossing Enderby Island to the northern cliffs. The boardwalk snakes its way through the wind-sculpted Rata forest where we saw Red-fronted Parakeets (“Kakariki”) and out into the open where we walked among wind-shorn Rata bushes with crimson new growth and aromatic Cassinia bushes to the top of the island (elevation about 30-35m asl). At that point, those who wished to continue the walk eastward around the island set off with some of the expedition team, while those content to botanise and spend more time in the Sandy Bay area were free to return to Sandy bay and the Sea Lions under the watchful eye of Arthur.
As time was limited the walkers set a fast pace and despite the awful conditions, managed to see Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses soaring through the murk, Red-billed Gulls, Auckland Island Shags, Skuas, Black-backed Gulls, Giant Petrels, Red Polls, Pipits, Red-crowned Parakeets , Flightless Teal and Yellow Eyed Penguins. The walkers returned to Sandy Bay between 1430 and 1500. There was little activity among Sea Lions on the beach where only 4 females and one stillborn pup were present.
Everyone was back on board the ship by 1645 when the anchor was lifted and we left Sandy Bay. Captain Dimitry ran a course south in the lee of Auckland Island in oily, foggy calm, so we could dine in relative comfort. At 2130 we cleared the lee of Auckland and Adams Islands and rolled our way across the westerly swells south west to Macquarie Island, 360 nautical miles (and 1.5 days) away.
Yellow Eyed Penguins. Photo credit: L.McKenzie
Day 5: 7 December 2013
At Sea enroute to Macquarie Island
Throughout the night and in the early morning, despite the 20kt southerly wind and a 2m swell on the port quarter, we maintained a brisk speed of 11-11.5kts en route to Macquarie Island. As the Southern Ocean would have it, by 1000 our speed was reduced to 9kts with rising sea and wind. A few albatrosses and prions followed the ship but the hardy birders on deck reported nothing unusual.
In the late morning Samuel gave a superb lecture on penguins, demonstrating once again his profound knowledge of his subject and his ability as an excellent photographer. Lunch was a perfect lasagne produced by Bruce and Dean under tricky conditions in the galley where the ship’s roll caused anything unsecured to levitate and fly about the stove, ovens and benches.
Just after 1415 Duade spotted 2 sperm whales at 53°10’S 161° 50’E. Fifteen minutes later, Martin gave a repeat of his lecture on Hooker’s Sea Lions for the benefit of those who missed it the first time around. The lecture was well attended, despite the roll, probably because of group’s recent experience of these animals on Enderby Island. By and large, this was a day when people either stayed on their bunks or in the Bar/Library reading, playing cards, editing photographs or just socializing. However, as might be expected, a small coterie of hardy birders made it out on deck looking for those ‘life list’ sightings or the one remaining species they haven’t seen.
Our speed had been reduced to 9kts and once again the chefs gave us a hard choice, Blue Cod fillets or Short Ribs. When conditions are difficult for the chefs the staff usually help out in the galley. Tonight Martin was the fish cook.
2130 Our speed had risen to 10.8-11.2kts and we had a little over 50nm to run to Macquarie Island with an ETA around 2am.
Day 6: 8 December 2013
Macquarie Island - ANARE Station at Buckles Bay and Sandy Bay
Soon after 0200 we dropped anchor in Buckles Bay, Macquarie Island. The motion ceased and all aboard dropped into a deep and restful sleep in preparation for a busy day ahead. After the miserable conditions at Enderby Island and on the way to Macquarie Island, one could be forgiven for thinking the weather was not going to improve much. How wrong you can be. The morning was sunny and clear and in the lee of the island the westerly wind was hardly apparent. A pod of Orca patrolled the water just off the beach followed by hopeful Giant Petrels and Skuas.
After Nathan’s comprehensive introduction to Macquarie Island we all prepared for a much anticipated landing. Martin and Arthur went ashore first with Nathan to act as boat ‘grabbers’ at the landing and by 1000 all passengers were ashore enjoying close encounters with King, Gentoo and Royal penguins, the predominantly white Southern Giant Petrels and Elephant Seal weaners about 2 months old. Our party was split into groups, each accompanied by one of the efficient TASPAWS (Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service) rangers. One group climbed to the lookout platform from where you get a panoramic view of Buckles Bay on the eastern side, Hassleborough Bay on the west, and along The Neck to the Base Station where most of the inhabitants of Macquarie Island do their work. Another group was down on the beach photographing. We made our way along Hassleborough Bay beach to the balloon shed where the meteorologist explained the workings of a hydrogen filled, high-altitude met balloon and the data collecting package it carries. Finally we stopped at the Base mess hall where the hospitality and quality of the scones is legendary (for all you bakers, lemonade is the secret raising agent) and the tea and coffee come just at the right time. Passports were stamped with the Macquarie Island ‘visa’ by the ‘postmaster’. For one of our number this visit to the Macquarie Base had special significance. Graham Lodwick was a physicist here 50 years ago to the day and found the group photo on the wall to verify it. Back at the landing, we farewelled our Macquarie wildlife Ranger escorts and boarded the Zodiacs, which made a brief run past the Rockhopper Penguin rookery on the way back to the ship for lunch.
At 1530 the weather was holding but the accumulation of high cirrus and other clouds suggested a northerly change was on its way. Captain Dimitry lifted the anchor in Buckles Bay and steamed south along the coast to Sandy Bay where all were landed for a three hour walkabout among the Royal and King Penguins and the Elephant Seals. Here all the animals and birds are fearless and inquisitive. Penguins would nibble at boots and clothing, while Elephant Seals were accepting and playful. After first investigating Dr Sam, who was lying prone on the beach, an Elephant Seal pup licked his face, then crawled up onto his back and went to sleep! Sam had to record this or nobody back in Lyttelton would believe him. He passed his camera to Martin who took the shot, handed the camera back and walked away laughing, leaving Sam to work out how to get out from beneath the affectionate, and fairly hefty youngster.
After 3 hours ashore, our group and rangers were shuttled back to the Spirit of Enderby which, by this time, was rising and falling 1.0m – 1.25m on the increasing swells. Transfers from Zodiacs to the gangway were tricky but everyone managed to board safely, thanks to some timely ‘strong arming’ by the Bosun Yuri and one of the Russian crew. We steamed back to Buckles Bay in an increasing northerly wind and swell to drop the rangers at the Base. Local safety rules require that we have two Zodiacs in the water at any one time, and perhaps that is just as well. Nearing the landing, we noticed a big (8-9m) male Orca with an exceptionally large dorsal fin, patrolling the kelp edge close to the beach. He was on the lookout for a tasty young Elephant Seal yearling. We waited until he had cleared the area, then quickly dropped the rangers at the beach and made our way back to the ship. The Zodiacs were craned aboard and lashed down at the end of a great day ashore. It is a rare occasion indeed when you can get excellent weather on Macquarie Island which allows excursions at both Buckles Bay and Sandy Bay in one day. Bruce and Dean produced yet another superb dinner and the Captain steered us slowly southward in the lee of the island towards Lusitania Bay, the site of a huge King Penguin rookery.
Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island. Photo credit: S.Blanc
Day 7: 9 December 2013
Macquarie Island - Attempt at Lusitania Bay and enroute to Campbell Island
Lusitania Bay, the site of Joseph Hatch’s infamous (failed) 1899 penguin oiling venture, was hidden from view by sea fog driven by a stiff northerly wind. Given our tight schedule, there was no point in hanging about so the Captain set a course for Campbell Island. The wind on our beam and the westerly swells on the port quarter promised a rolly trip. Breakfast was marked by human cannonballs with plates of food lurching about the restaurant. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
In the galley where Bruce was preparing lunch it was like a war zone, with the air punctuated by bangs and curses. Bruce was showered with spices and black pepper corns which rolled about the deck making walking interesting. Dean made repeated trips to the hold for lunch ingredients emerging with terse comments such as, “it’s carnage down there mate”. But, as usual, Bruce and Dean put out an excellent lunch for those passengers who were brave enough to come to the dining room. The food would never have made it onto the tables without the athleticism and extraordinary balancing skills of Natalia, the Chief Stewardess and Zoya her assistant. Despite the conditions, these two never dropped a plate, were always cheerful and somehow always knew where vertical was.
In the afternoon a visitor to the galley would have seen Dr Sam, his Hobbit feet dusted white with flour, sitting watching the bread mixer as it prepared the dough for the naan bread to accompany the curry at dinnertime. The clingfilm-covered dough was left to prove in a large roasting pan in the warmth of the galley. As the afternoon wore on the dough rose and rose and showed signs of escaping from under or, exploding from its clingfilm bonds. It was rapidly punched down and Sam and Martin spent the rest of the afternoon rolling the naan bread which Sam cooked for the evening meal.
Day 8: 10 December 2013
Enroute to Campbell Island
At sea en route for Campbell Island. Course 075°, wind 040°, 20 - 30 kts. Swells 3m. Rough. In the words of the Chief Mate Evgenii (Zhenia), “Is very good weather for this place”. Nathan decided there would be two lectures in the morning, by Samuel and Martin respectively. In the afternoon, Agnès opened her ‘Sea shop’ and trade was brisk as usual. Later, Nathan gave his introduction to Campbell Island. He then asked for a show of hands of all those interested in walking across the island to Northwest Bay and back. The remainder elected to walk to Col Lyall.
After a very rough, rolly and sleepless night (the ship was rolling up to 30° each way) Campbell Island appeared through the murk at about 1830. About 30 minutes later we entered the calm of Perserverance Harbour. The air was cold and rain showers came scudding down the harbour from the northwest. We passed Davis Point on the northern side of the harbour entrance and Martin made repeated counts of the Sea Lions hauled out at what is the largest rookery on Campbell Island.
Davis Point rookery: Males 42 (incl 3 harem bulls); Females 30, Pups 1
About ½ mile further into the harbour, on the south side, is the euphemistically named Paradise Point where Sea Lions have bred in the past. Because of the nature of the terrain here – a 25-30° peat and tussock slope dropping to a 2.5m cliff with rain pools at the waters edge – pup mortalities have been very high in past seasons.
Paradise Point rookery: Males 3-4; Females 1. Pups 0
At about 1930 we dropped anchor off the meteorological station (Beeman Base).
At Sea. Photo credit: S.Blanc
Day 9: 11 December 2013
After breakfast Nathan and the Northwest Bay walkers were dropped ashore at 0930 to begin their trek across the island. The weather looked alright at this time but we knew it could change quickly. One hour later, Samuel and Martin began landing passengers at the base before setting off for Col Lyall. The wind was gusting strongly and the rain began slashing down driven by the strong northwest wind. Agnès, Samuel and Arthur led off with the main group while Dr Sam and Martin helped Joan along the boardwalk. Joan made steady progress, stopping frequently to admire the plants (she trained as a botanist) and the views, which she said were “so much better than looking at my feet all day”. The sleety rain, low cloud and strong, gusty wind made for a cold, wet walk. As the first Zodiac back to the ship was at 1300, people started down soon after reaching the Col Lyall saddle. Although there were a few albatrosses sitting in the shelter of tussocks or on nests in the vicinity of the saddle no displays had taken place. Sam, Joan and Martin had a late lunch in the shelter of the huge tussocks as albatrosses ghosted out of the murk, wings whooshing in the wind barely 4-5m above ground. Fifteen minutes later the cloud and mist lifted a little and a full changeover display occurred – just what Joan and Michelle had wanted to see. We set off back down the boardwalk for the base and 2 ½ hours later Samuel came and picked us up. Joan, complete with sticks, was craned aboard in the Zodiac, ending a very creditable day for this remarkable 84 year old ex-Himalayan climber. The Northwest Bay walkers had returned after a tough but rewarding walk with stunning views when the weather permitted. Notable observations today were Campbell Island Teal, Hooker’s Sea Lions and young Elephant Seals around the landing, Snipe up the boardwalk and of course, Southern Royal Albatrosses. Along the boardwalk the prickly shield fern Polystichum vestitum and the water fern Histiopteris incisa were common, mosses are everywhere and spectacular lichens cling to the trunks of the grass trees Dracophyllum longifolium and D.scoparium.
Up around Col Lyall, three species of the megaherb daisies Pleurophyllum were common as were the two large relatives of carrots Anisotome latifolia and A.antipoda. The iconic Subantarctic yellow flowering lily Bulbinella rossi, the gentian Gentiana antarctica is endemic to Campbell Island as is the beautiful blue flowered hebe H.benthamii found next to the boardwalk.
The animated chatter over dinner was the best indication of a good day’s activities.
Southern Royal Albatross, Campbell Island. Photo credit: A.Breniere
Day 10: 12 December 2013
Three activities were planned for the morning before our departure at about 1230:
Mt Honey walk, Zodiac cruise, a return to the Mt Lyall boardwalk for those who missed out yesterday.
At 0530, the 13 Mt Honey (569m) climbers, accompanied by Samuel and Dr Sam were dropped at their departure point at the eastern end of Garden Cove. At about 0620 an amazing phenomenon occurred in Perseverance Harbour, a blinding sunrise in a largely clear sky! At 0840 Nathan briefed everybody opting for the Zodiac cruise and Col Lyall.
At 1030 the cruise and Col Lyall groups boarded the Zodiacs and were away. The walkers were landed at Beeman Base and the Zodiac cruisers with Agnès, Nathan and Martin set off around the head of Perserverance Harbour visiting Tucker Cove and the farm site, the ‘loneliest tree in the world’ at Camp Cove, and Garden Cove. As usual the wind got up and blew strongly around Beeman Hill with great willwaws ripping towers of spray off the sea and raising an ugly chop – just when the Zodiac drivers had to land their passengers back on the ship. Martin collected the Col Lyall walkers while Agnès and Nathan brought Samuel, Dr Sam and the Mt Honey climbers back aboard without incident.
Captain Dimitry lifted the anchor at about 1230 and we sailed up the east coast of Campbell Island so all aboard could have lunch in relative comfort before setting our course for the Snares Islands, about 30 hrs steam away.
View from Mount Honey, Campbell Island. Photo credit: S.Blanc
Day 11: 13 December 2013
Enroute to Snares Islands
Both the lectures and Nathan’s briefing re disembarkation procedure were cancelled due to the rough conditions encountered as we push into a strong northerly wind and a beam sea. Nevertheless, we were making a good 11.3kts and our ETA at the Snares was 1530.
0830 Position: 49°07’S 167° 11’E. 1 fin whale crossed the bow from starboard to port.
At 1530 we hove to in South Bay. A heavy swell was running with a wind chop over the top. Two Zodiacs were dropped, with Nathan and Sam in one, Samuel and Martin in the other. The boats proceeded out through the passage between the islands on the eastern side of the bay heading up the coast for the biological station where four ornithologists, who have been working on the islands for 14 days, were picked up for return to New Zealand.
In the Bar/Library before dinner Nathan gave his disembarkation briefing. He was followed by Samuel who presented a superb chronological slide show of the trip he and Agnès had prepared. This was made available free to any passengers either on a memory stick or DVD.
This evening, under very trying conditions, Bruce and Dean excelled themselves in the galley preparing a special end of cruise buffet of roast lamb, ham, prawns, mussels, salmon, salads, potatoes, kumara and vegetables. For dessert there was a selection of crème caramel, meringue baskets with mascarpone, raspberries and cream. It was the perfect fare to complement a similar trip.
Photo credit: A.Breniere
Day 12: 14 December 2013
Port of Bluff
At 0630 on a sunny Bluff morning we were slowly making our way to the pilot station.
The pilot boarded at 0700 and 30 minutes later the Spirit of Enderby was secured alongside. It was sad to see all the corridors lined with baggage as we prepared to disembark. Customs and Immigration and biosecurity officers come aboard and, in no time we were cleared for landing. A short time later we had boarded the bus for the airport or town centre taking with us new memories, new friendships and memory cards stuffed with unforgettable images. Our adventure was at an end.
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" I spent Christmas and New Year on the Galapagos of the Southern Ocean trip and it is the coolest thing I have ever done. The birding is incredible, the wildlife is stunning. We had pretty calm weather compared to other trips, and the crew on Professor Khromov made the whole trip an absolute dream expedition. I have recommended Heritage Expeditions, and this trip to everybody I know! For more pics see Instagram Tamzin.nz "
" Thanks Tamzin for your comments. We enjoyed having you aboard with us as we explored the Subantarctic and we look forward to seeing you again! "