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January 11th, 2006 , 11:16

Well, we’re home. We left Christchurch on Monday morning in the pouring rain, flew to Auckland where we spent 6 hours sitting in the airport, then had that long flight home. Stopped in Melbourne again and Dubai but didn’t do anything interesting. Was going to update yesterday but the internet connection at home didn’t work. So back home and at work and it’s grey and raining. But I’m still smiling!

Christchurch

January 7th, 2006 , 11:14

Got a flight from Invercargill to Christchurch this morning and was met at the Christchurch airport by a couple we had met on the boat. Very nice to be met!

Headed for the Antarctic Centre which was very interesting, then off to see white flipper penguins (little blues). That was very interesting and we saw several penguins, including another yellow-eye. We also saw seals, Hector dolphins, shags, wagtails, and loads of other birds. A very nice trip out.

So going to get some sleep now!

We survived!

January 6th, 2006 , 2:50

And are back from the Southern Ocean today. What a trip. Joe did well, but claimed it was awful. If I looked at him he’d stop smiling. So I let him get on with enjoying the trip.

We had rotten weather. After two days rolling around the sea we anchored off Campbell Island and headed to shore in strong winds and pouring rain. Joe and I did the walk and it was long and wet and muddy. Walking along cliff edges with what feels like a gale blowing (trying to blow you off the cliff even) wasn’t too fun. Having said that the island was lovely and we were lucky enough to have two men on the trip who had been on the island in the 1970s. They were part of the sheep eradication programme. They were quite interesting to talk to and knew the island fairly well – this was their first trip back since they had been in the 70s so they were interested in the changes since the sheep were gone. So we ended up walking with them listening to them tell stories about the area. At lunch Joe got a close up look at a yellow-eye penguin. We were coming down a small path (along a stream – well actually in the stream!) and the penguin was waiting at the bottom. Turns out that was his path and he was waiting for us to move so he could go. So Joe got some photos. We also saw loads of albatross, sea lions (some far too close and personal), pipits, elephant seals, and loads and loads of megaherbs.

We then headed for Auckland island, Carnley Bay, and instead of the walk Joe and I opted for the rib trip around the bay. So we spent the time just nosing along the coast slowly looking at wildlife and plants. Lots of sea lions and birds. We then headed north for Enderby Island for the next day. However, the weather was so bad we couldn’t land on Enderby so we turned to Ross (I think) and made a couple of landings there at the old Coast Watch station and the Enderby settlement site. That was a bit disappointing as the main wildlife is on Enderby, including loads of yellow-eye penguins which we could only see as little white specks on the island. We did see a couple in the water.

Next was Snares Island and yet again the weather kept us off though we did have a rather exciting attempt to get in the ribs and have a look. The ship was just pitching far too much to get into the ribs. So we were off. We were very very disappointed with that – we wanted to at least go round the island – because there are crested penguins (including the rare Snares penguin) on the island. But we did have good views of the south of Stewart Island later in the day.

So in all, 6 nights at sea and Joe got to see one penguin clearly and photograph it. He also so a few in the water but no photos. So a bit disappointing but then I guess that’s how it goes sometimes. We did see dolphins, seals, sea lions, elephant seals, albatross, shearwaters, gulls, terns, pipits, bellbirds, tui, rata, megaherbs, orchids, and all sorts.

We are spending the night in Invercargill and off to Christchurch and the Antarctic Centre tomorrow. And probably penguin watching tomorrow evening. Hopefully that will be more successful. Sunday we roam around the city and Monday morning we off for Auckland and then home. Don’t really want to leave!