Friday, 16 September 2011

16 September, 9.30am


This has been an interesting week aboard Tangaroa, mainly because of the loss of contact with our dear buddy Happy Feet. However, everyone aboard is positive that he is ok and that the transmitter fell off. It's not easy applying transmitters to animals in a way that it causes the least disruption to the animal's natural behaviour. I think Happy Feet, who was definitely Mr Stroppy Feet towards the end of his journey, was determined to get the offending object off and I believe he succeeded! I saw him paying a lot of attention to preening the area where the transmitter was attached. He has a mind of his own about things that bird ;-). I believe he is alive and well and am hopeful that one day in the future his microchip will alert us all to the fact that he has returned to Antarctica to find a mate.

The weather earlier this week was pretty intense with some massive swells doing their best to capsize the boat. We steamed towards Campbell Island to seek shelter in the harbour. This was followed up by a trip to the island. I can't even begin to describe how exciting it was to set foot on solid ground after 17 days at sea! Unfortunately, the excitement was quickly replaced with "land sickness"...I kid you not! This condition apparently really does exist. I felt nauseas standing on solid, unmoving ground, if you can believe that! I did manage to spend 4 hours tramping all over the island, I was determined to not let a bit of nausea stop me from enjoying being on land and of course the once in a lifetime opportunity to set foot on Campbell Island.

As for the island...WOW!! It is a magnificent place with an abundance of wildlife. We saw lots of wandering albatross chicks sitting in their nest bowls, they are so close to fledging but still super cute with little patches of downy fluff they still need to moult. We also saw a single NZ sealion sub-adult male. One of the highlights for me, because I LOVE birdwatching and I have a twitchers guide where I can tick off species I have seen, was seeing Campbell Island Cormorants (Shags) as well as Campbell Island Teals.

That's all for now, only 10 days to go on this journey! I best get back to my thesis as it is a reasonably calm day and I have to take the opportunity when I can to write.