Oamaru historian David Harrowfield sent news of his trip to Antarctica and the Subantarctic Islands to the Oamaru Mail via satellite phone on Friday. Dr Harrowfield left on his one-month voyage with Heritage Expeditions as a lecturer on the Spirit of Enderby on January 11. This is his report.
The days are going very fast.
Have had some wonderful experiences beginning with a Zodiac cruise off the Snares Islands when we were able to view Snares crested penguins commuting on the famous “penguin slope” a bare surface of granite.
This was followed by a magnificent landing on Enderby Island when we view the first Rata coming into flower and many very tame birds such as the red crowned parakeet.
There were two walks with one crossing the island to the north side and one walking around the coast via the west end.
Yesterday was also an outstanding day.
We were blessed with very good weather and seas.
Again rather rare for this part of the world.
In the morning the Zodiacs were launched and time was spent at Musgrave Inlet observing Rockhopper penguins and examining two huge caverns.
One of these had no ceiling and resembled an amphitheatre.
The perimeter at the top was fringed with rata and other plants.
The colour of the volcanic rocks was beautiful.
We then continued and visited a second cavern which in this instance did have a roof that was streaked white from the leaching of minerals from the rock.
The Zodiacs were put in the water again after lunch when I was fortunate to make my second visit with Heritage Expeditions to the wreck of the schooner Grafton which hit rocks in January 1864.
We also saw remains of the rock hut built by the five castaways and named “Epigwatt” an Indian word meaning house by the sea.
We are now on our way to Macquarie Island and expect to arrive this evening (Friday).