|This journal is constructed as one web page for each day of my journey, including the arrival day in Auckland, and the final two days, which I spent in Hobart. I have tried to keep the picture images of a reasonable size for easy web page loading. To see a much larger view of (practically) any image, just left-click on the photo.|
I had a restless night - the rolling keeps waking me up. I sleep
stern to bow and the ship seems to mostly roll port to starboard.
At breakfast, one woman said she used pillows to wedge herself into bed
- I will try it. [My bed comes with a board/rail that you can kind
of use to do the same thing.]
Today we had our first landing! We used the zodiac boats to land on Enderby Island, one of the Auckland Islands. I wore my "wet landing" boots - Sorrel Bears. But, they aren't really that great for hiking around, not to mention that they are very warm, so I also brought along my hiking boots. It is kind of a hassle, since they fill up my pack. Still, it was much more comfortable using the hiking boots. I also bring along my camera, binoculars, camcorder, some water and a couple of candy bars. But, I don't think I ate, or drank, on any of our visits during the whole trip (except McMurdo Station). We usually are ashore for only a couple of hours and we don't exactly exert ourselves. And, this trip was late in the day - starting at about 4 p.m. and with the last boat back at about 8:30 p.m., with a very late dinner to follow.
We landed alongside a beach full of seals. [Actually, they are Hooker Sea Lions.] A couple of the Russian crew help us onto, and out of, the zodiacs - I think it gives them a nice chance to break away from the ship. [The crew stay on for a year and then go home for a year - what a lifestyle!] There is a wooden boardwalk, covered in chicken wire for good footing, that led us across the island. Initially, we passed through a weird forest, with scraggly trees. As we climbed, the flora got shorter, and then we were walking among grasses and wildflowers, the likes of which I hadn't seen before.
The boardwalk ended on the western edge of the island,
atop a cliff some 300-500 feet above the ocean (at least, that is my
guess). Not too far away was a solitary seal (pictured above).
However he got here, it must have been quite a struggle! Many of us
followed along the cliffs, heading north. The terrain did, slowly, start
to slope down to the ocean, and there we saw more seals. There was a
marker near the shore, commemorating a shipwreck from 1863. But, a large
seal was right there, so I didn't get to take a closer look. We did see
some parrots flying around in this area.
Soon enough it was time to head back to the seal beach. Along the way, I spotted my first penguin - a yellow-eyed. They are among the world's rarest, but do make their home here on Enderby. I saw a group of four, or five, along the cliffs, and, then, a solitary penguin hopping down the boardwalk. Back at the beach I walked over to see the seals. We stayed up on the grassy area, but there were a few seals there as well. It is amazing how easy it is to almost step on one before you see it!
My zodiac ride back had Ingrid at the helm. She talked to us about the seaweed that grows down here - thick, like giant lasagna. We cruised along the cliffs and saw some nesting shags. Apparently, these birds are found all over the sub-Antarctic, but are slightly different from island to island.
It was a late dinner, at 9:30, but still plenty bright outside. Only a couple of more days and we will be in 24 hour sunlight.
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