Southern perspective inspiring

In the steps of early explorers

Last updated 12:09 20/02/2014
spirit of enderby
SOUTHERN OCEAN BEAUTY: The Spirit of Enderby in southern waters.

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Oamaru author and Antarctic authority Dr David Harrowfield is in the southern ocean aboard the Spirit of Enderby as part of a voyage which retraces the steps of Scott and Shackleton. He sent this report to Jacquie Webby via satellite phone from the vessel.

While it is calm, if there is indeed such a thing on seas in this part of the world, I am heading southward again.

Last month it was most unusual to see very little sea ice and by the time the Spirit of Enderby had begun to depart from the Ross Sea, the ice had all left from in front of Scott Base.

Overall, the month was one of the most interesting I have had during my work as a lecturer and on-shore guide for Heritage Expeditions.

We achieved a great deal, including visiting two localities I had not previously seen. The month passed quickly and already a week of voyage two is almost over.

On Enderby Island, two days south of New Zealand, there was miserable steady drizzle, not uncommon for this part of the world.

Hiking along the north-end of the island, where big waves crashed on a rocky shore, made us appreciate what castaways had put up with after their ships were wrecked.

In the tussocks and megaherbs however, life continued with small endemic pipits walking up to one's feet.

A direct contrast in the weather was the beautiful morning yesterday at Auckland Island. The early morning light was nothing short of superb.

Carnley Harbour was a mill pond and during a Zodiac cruise, it was a great thrill to view a large colony of white-capped albatross nesting on an almost shear cliff, as we bobbed around on rough sea below.

Yet while briefly standing in the Zodiac, I managed to obtain, on a loaned small camera, one of my best pictures with the hundreds of nesting albatrosses, rather than small white spots.

We saw many wonderful aspects of natural history during our morning and the Zodiac ride through Victoria Channel with water about 4 metres deep, along with the sight of waves a beautiful aquamarine colour mixed with foam, as they crashed on rock cliffs, (it) was an experience long to be remembered.

Now we are en route for Macquarie Island and from here will turn south in the wake of Scott and Shackleton.


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- South Canterbury


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