An email from Carla about how we would celebrate Christmas and New Year away from Campbell Island got a few Christmas memories going for the CIBE team. For Mark Crompton his Campbell Island Christmas memories are:
"Songs down at the wharf, Mountford pinot, mussels fritters, vodka steeped in sweet vernal, tangos...
With the one-year anniversary of our expedition to Campbell Island upon us, I have dragged out the video tapes and taken a trip down memory lane. One video that I know many of you were hoping to see was of our trip down to the island – charging through the raging seas of the roaring forties and furious fifties. Who can forget the excitement of the departure, with this being the first sojourn for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels (...
We awoke today to our first real storm. Perseverance Harbour had been transformed from the glassy millpond the previous day to one of wild whitecaps and battering waves. For the first time during this expedition the wharf was under siege from the harbour’s waves. As Mark C (our weatherman) explained it, there was a 35 knot nor-easterly wind driving the waves into the harbour and lowering the outside temperature to 5.5ºC – the inside temperature only marginally warmer at 6...
With the Maia and our first term CIBE team members now safely in Bluff it is time to take a moment to reminisce about some of the trips that we have had in the first half of this expedition.
For me, I will always hold a soft spot in my heart for the Northwest Bay Hut. This may just be because it was the first hut we stayed in, but I also found it to have a lot of soul and a great view (and we all know with property it is all about the location and the view) that I have found...
One of the main premises for our expedition is to plot the recovery of the island since the removal of sheep and the world's largest island rat eradication programme. Our work mainly concentrates on how this has benefited and changed the island’s plant and invertebrate communities, as these changes will have flow-on effects to the larger vertebrate species on the island. However, we cannot help but see for ourselves how the removal of the introduced animals has helped the smaller...
My ride home, the motor sailer “Maia”, arrived on Jan 10th and has been hanging around for the last few days to ferry various expedition teams to some difficult to access locations around the island. On Jan 12th the history, terrestrial ecology, and freshwater ecology teams were taken around to Northeast Harbour for a days work.
Northeast Harbour was the location of one of the largest whaling stations on the island and at its head is the mouth of Northeast Stream, a...
Having had a long-time interest in meteorology, I am the Expedition’s unofficial weather forecaster and receive weather-maps per the MetService Radiofax transmissions.
Interpreting these maps for the Expedition enables me to spread dismay, despondency and despair daily. I have a natural talent for this anyway and indeed doom and gloom is one of the few things I’m very good at.
If the weather is bad, as it often is here, I advise the team to make the most of it...
With the rest of the CIBE team back at base camp for New Year's, Alex James and I were making the most of the good weather to sample streams to the west of the island. Northwest Hut was our home for three nights and where we spent New Year's Eve.
We had a big day in the field that day, getting back to the hut around 9pm. We didn’t have much in the way of food or drink to herald in the new year, but we decided we could make our own fun out of our nightly chores. Maybe...
Walking back to base on the Beeman Boardwalk tonight at 10pm I had a wonderful surprise. From beside the walkway by my feet I saw a flash of brown and something fluffy landed on the path in front of me. Not sure what it was (wearing no contacts today so everything was looking pretty blurry to me) I grabbed the video camera. What a surprise when I zoomed in to see the wee Campbell Island Snipe. This tiny strange (but very cute) looking bird was unknown to science until its discovery in 1997...
Christmas on Campbell Island is a bit different to your normal NZ Christmas. The weather for one thing is a lot harsher down here, and there are also jobs to do before we can relax on Christmas morning. After a morning wakeup call we ripped into our Saturday morning base camp clean up (always on a Saturday and not even Christmas can prevent it) and then it was time to relax.
So for a Christmas mid-morning 'Champaign' (or in our case Mountford Riesling wine) celebration we...
The NZ book titled ‘a river rules my life’ comes to mind down here on Campbell Island. Not because we are sampling streams, but because of the similarity to how our lives are completely ruled by a single factor - the weather.
The evenings end with Mark Crompton downloading the weather fax at 10.15pm and writing a forecast that is posted on the hallway wall the following morning. The day then progresses either along the forecasted weather route or can deviate remarkably...
With favourable weather forecast we packed our sampling gear and headed over a ridge or two. We ended up in Camp Cove and went 'inland' up Camp Stream.
We had the usual sea lion encounters along the way. I've only been here 2 weeks but they're becoming boring - just kidding. They sniff around for a minute or two then get back to what they were doing - possible we're the boring ones?
Camp Stream is a delightful tannin-stained waterway that is relatively...
Campbell Island is a place full of surprises. Today she was in a beatific mood and the wildlife seemed to be in the same mindset.
Steve C and I rowed (well Steve did) around to Tucker Cove with the ContourHD in the water. The local sea lions were most interested in this new play-thing and one spent over an hour playing around the boat blowing bubbles, trying to bite the oars, bunting the base of the boat, and splashing us with his flippers.
On the day of their departure, Sarah Bedford (Cue TV) interviewed Shelley McMurtrie (Expedition Coordinator) about the upcoming expedition to Campbell Island. Sarah wanted to know about the research, but more importantly, what the team was going to crave while on this remote island for 9 weeks.
Alex J, Mark C, and I arrived early Friday arvo and there was no time to waste; we were thrown right into the thick of the quarantine process. I must say, there's nothing like spending time in a warehouse with the bright sun overhead to help acclimatise for Campbell Island - was more suited to preparing for humid tropical rainforests! Can you believe it, Invercargill was in the mid-to-high twenties.
By the time Sunday arvo rolled around we were all done, and only a couple of...
9 weeks on a remote island with no power or supermarket means it's a good idea to trial the food first. Having worked through our nutritional requirements, Suzanne Henderson (SJ Consulting) developed our menu and shopping list. She also thought it a good idea to come over and demonstrate how to cook a couple of the evening meals. This time it was the fish pie - you might be able to tell we quite liked it.
Shelley, congratulations on your very impressive prospectus. Best wishes for your own work on the freshwater environs.
We are most grateful that very busy people, such as you, have been willing to spare the time to help us extend our knowledge of geology and botany.
Pegasus U3A - Geology/Botany Group
Your Trust's vision demonstrates that there is a real role for NZers in the guardianship, understanding and on-going protection of our southern most islands.
Andy Roberts, Department of Conservation
We hope a glass of our beautiful wine will help you end each day on a positive note — and a well deserved one at that.
Kathyrn Ryan, Mountford Estate wines
Wishing you every success in this very exciting project, and we look forward to linking with you via museum exhibitions and events.
Gael Ramsay, Southland Museum
I hope all goes well for you on this adventure and that you find some new and exciting things. We'll be thinking of you (a little enviously) and look forward to hearing about it later.
Can we come too? Seriously, thank you for having the foresight and dedication to help ensure the preservation and protection of something so wildly unique and wonderful. Inspirational!
Greg & Helen, No Worries Company Services Ltd
I bet you'll see some 'firsts' on this trip, so thanks for allowing us to bring this very special and remote place a little closer to our listeners.
Graeme Hill, Environews @ Radio Live
Looking at your site brings back a lot of memories. Had great days at North West Bay building an A frame hut in our spare time. I wonder if it is still there? Wish I was coming with you.
Say gidday to Mark Crompton (Swampy) for me. I was the DSIR technician during my stay and Mark was one of the meterology observers. I met Don Merton during 1970.
All the best for a successful expedition to Campbell Island. No matter what the weather, we know you’ll be warm and dry!
Shelley—you tired, determined, extremely hard working person. The fieldwork on Campbell will be a doddle after all the effort you've devoted to getting there. You have my profound admiration.
Murray Williams, CIBE advisor
Best of luck to the brave team heading south, our thoughts will be with you on this exciting adventure!
Good luck on what is a fantastic initiative. I’m pretty jealous too. Have a great trip, Shelley!
Tom Burkitt, EIANZ
All the best for a successful mission and I look forward to following the process online!
Cynthia Winkworth, Otago University
Steve, What a great trip, I am really proud of you. Have a safe journey. I am going to watch your progress on face book.
Loads of Love, Mom
We only have one planet. Understanding and looking after it is critical. We are proud to support this visit to the Wild South to further our understanding of life in remote places. And envious of your opportunity to visit the island! Enjoy.
Peter Robinson, Hill Labs
This is an awesome expedition which I'm sure will generate some fantastic publications in the years to come. Kia kaha to all, enjoy being there and may it all go well.
Please accept our full donation support of your first aid requirements. Wishing you a safe & successful expedition!