Adventure awaits in cold seas

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
Sedef Duder-Ozyurt

KEEN TEAM: Sedef Duder-Ozyurt, third from left, is one of the 12 young leaders chosen from more than 50 applicants to travel to the Auckland Islands.

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Devonport teenager Sedef Duder-Ozyurt isn't quite sure what she's getting into sailing down to the sub-Antarctic, but she's expecting an exciting time.

The 17-year-old is one of 12 young leaders the Sir Peter Blake Trust is sending to the Auckland Islands to help out research efforts.

Along with the young leaders, the HMNZS Wellington is carrying Lion Foundation, NIWA, DOC, education and youth development ministry staff to the wind-swept islands.

The kids will help conduct an environmental impact study on establishing a research station on Auckland Island, the main island in the volcanic archipelago.

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker was there with the kids family and friends to farewell the two-week expedition from Devonport Naval Base.

"I'm very, very privileged to see these kids that are very passionate about what they're taking on. They're going to have an amazing time," he says.

But the Wellington's captain, Lieutenant Commander Phil Rowe, says the 2500 nautical mile round-trip won't be plain sailing.

After a four day journey down the coast to Bluff, the Wellington will head out into the freezing and often mountainous sub-Antarctic sea.

The kids, who will put in hours of "spit and polish", cleaning and maintaining the ship, will endure, "sea conditions you may wish to forget," the 28-year navy veteran says.

But in his farewell speech to the gathered crowd on the Wellington's helicopter pad, he said the kids would also "have fun" on their journey to the, "diverse islands, lying in the blue commons of the Pacific."

Although she comes from a sea-faring family, Ms Duder-Ozyurt says she's embarrassed as she gets seasick.

Ms Duder-Ozyurt's grandmother, famed novelist Tessa Duder, who was at the base to see her off, offered some advice.

"If you're going to be sick, you're going to be sick. I told her to tuck a plastic bag into her sleeve." The Auckland Girls Grammar student, who has a keen interest in the interaction of psychology and ecology, plans to give a presentation to the Devonport Yacht Club when she returns.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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