Oamaru historian and author David Harrowfield is aboard the Spirit of Enderby as part of the Heritage Expeditions voyage titled Ross Sea - in the Wake of Scott and Shackleton, which is considered the ultimate Antarctic voyage.
He reports exclusively for the Oamaru Mail from on board the ship using the high seas satellite phone.
In his first report, Dr Harrowfield describes another perfect day in paradise.
"On Thursday, following the landing at Cape Bird when passengers spent time with the Adelie penguins, we headed around Cape Bird towards Cape Crozier.
From offshore it was possible to see where the famous rock igloo was built during the 'worst journey in the world' in the winter of 1911, along with the Adelie penguin colony in which a message post from Scott's first expedition (1901-04) still stands.
We spent two glorious hours beside the Ross Ice Shelf; an area the same size as France.
The sheer coastal cliff of ice that appears to have been sculpted with a giant artist's pallet knife, is about 50 metres high, yet this is only a sixth-to-seventh of what is below the surface. Eventually, somewhere in this vicinity the 'grave' of Scott, Wilson and Bowers, is expected to move away within an iceberg and ultimately be committed to the deep.
A huge iceberg was in the process of breaking away. However it was the beautiful turquoise of the wave-cut underside that attracted my attention, along with the crashing and sucking sounds from the waves.
I shouted from the 'monkey deck' (the area above the bridge), "Thar she blows!" as two orcas surfaced.
The weather is perfect although this is not always so. People have sometimes come south and never been so fortunate with either the weather or landings.
This morning (Friday), we have landed on Franklin Island in the middle of the Ross Sea - named in 1841 by Ross for the then Governor of Tasmania.
I spent an hour ashore working out the geomorphic history of an extensive gravel 'beach' with ridges on which Adelie penguins have their nests. Many chicks are about three to four weeks old and some have begun moulting.
There are large numbers of predatory skuas here and one took a chick, then when in flight with the chick, lost it when attacked by three other skuas who were also after a meal. But that is nature.
The skuas have to feed their young and build up reserves in preparation for migration to the far north, including Japan.
This evening, all going well, we will visit Inexpressible Island, along with the locality where six of Scott's men spent nearly 200 days in an ice cave."
In his second report, Dr Harrowfield said he has crossed another "must-do" off his "bucket list"' and has landed on Inexpressible Island.
"We were woken at 02.30 this morning (Saturday) to get ready for a staff meeting 15 minutes later and this was followed by a briefing for passengers.
By 3.30 we had landed on Inexpressible Island - a beautiful sunrise with good photography. We had a 1.5 to 2km hike over granite boulders and icy snow to the site of the 1912 ice cave where six men of Scott's Northern Party Expedition visits Antarctic icon
spent nearly 200 days, including the 1912 winter, when the Terra Nova was unable to collect them.
This is without doubt the 'holy grail' for historic sites and given the privations of the men, exceeds Cape Evans hut, the base for Scott's last expedition.
A few seal bones and a bamboo were visible above the snow, along with the Antarctic Treaty plaques.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think a visit would be made here.
I did an ink sketch, took photos then climbed a nearby hill covered in large granite boulders to obtain a superb view of the Priestley Glacier and Hells Gate Moraine. The rocks in the moraine were beautiful and I found a fine sample of rose quartz but, without a permit, I was unable to keep this. I took more photos then it was back at the Spirit of Enderby by six in the morning as the weather had turned.
We were very lucky that the visit was not disrupted by a 60 to 70-knot katabatic wind that comes up without warning. I had a hot shower, crashed for two hours, then made short work of breakfast.
We can now expect two days of poor weather from the south-east and may or may not manage a final Antarctic landing. It is very bleak outside.
I have my personal diary completed and may give a lecture later."
Yesterday, Dr Harrowfield sent the following report of a day which began with the wind getting up and some snow.
"It was of course Australia Day and a 'choir' sang over the PA Advance Australia Fair followed by a combined New Zealand/Australian team in a snow fight against the English passengers, who apparently lost.
Because of the weather, the intended landing to inspect Germany's summer-only Gondwana Station was abandoned, although I did secure a great photo with the 'point-and-shoot'. I am looking forward to sharing these photos with the Oamaru Mail readers.
It was extraordinary how we were able to fit in Inexpressible Island.
This is one of my most special Antarctic visits, to which can be added two rare visits to the rock igloo built in winter 1911, during the 'worst journey in the world'.
We are now off Cape Washington. The seas are abating and fingers are crossed for a landing at Cape Adare in the morning (today).
Then the next stop will be Campbell Island (albatrosses) and seas permitting, the Snares (Zodiac ride only).
The passenger log, my diary, is now 60 pages and lectures, one on Saturday and one [yesterday] keep me busy. We have a great complement of passengers and a very good Russian crew, some of which I can converse with.
Dr Harrowfield's reports and photographs from the vessel will be subject to prevailing weather reports and are presented thanks to the assistance of Heritage Expeditions and the crew of the Spirit of Enderby. Visit their website: www.heritage-expeditions.com for details of upcoming voyages.