Author on big trip to icy continent
Life for the next few weeks will be different than usual for Oamaru Antarctic authority and author David Harrowfield.
On January 11, Dr Harrowfield left a New Zealand summer behind and embarked aboard the Spirit of Enderby for Antarctica and southern ocean islands on a trip which follows the travels of Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.
Although the area is dear to the heart of the Dr Harrowfield, it is no summer holiday because he will be delivering lectures along the route to fellow passengers.
The voyage "In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton", departed from Bluff on January 11 and will finish back in Bluff in early February.
Dr Harrowfield will also be on board a second voyage to the southern continent aboard the same vessel, departing on February 8. Dr Harrowfield is reporting from aboard the Spirit of Enderby.
This is his first report as the vessel heads for Antarctica.
"Today is the calmest morning since we departed Bluff on Heritage Expeditions fine ship the Spirit of Enderby. It is great to be on the ship again and to breath the salt air.
"Soon after leaving the shelter of Stewart Island, we had a fair taste of rocking and rolling and were rather pleased to arrive at Port Ross on Auckland Islands.
"Two most interesting days were enjoyed at Enderby Island and on Auckland Island, with visits to sites of historic interest and viewing of spectacular crimson flowering Southern Rata.
"Visits included the remote cemetery associated with the Hardwick Settlement (1849-52) which included the lonely grave of Isabella Younger who died when just three months old. A busy day was spent on Macquarie Island enjoying Royal and King Penguin colonies along with snorting Elephant Seals.
"We then headed for the far south and a rumpled Southern Ocean. Yesterday, Katya, our marine mammals specialist, announced dolphins off the Starboard bow.
"Soon I was glued to the cabin porthole and the magnificent sight of several pods of dolphins ‘porpoising' in unison as they left the water.
"These were Southern Right Whale Dolphins, so-named because they have no dorsal fin. They are black and white, streamlined, and almost eel-like.
This has to be one of the finest views I have had of dolphins and made better since my cabin is just above the waterline.
"Earlier we were treated to a pod of 10 Pilot Whales. Now we are truly heading south and this morning the first iceberg was sighted at 5.30am. A weathered monster with two towers and a deep blue band of ice above the waterline."