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 (...
In the final days of the CIBE I was kept busy engaging with the tourists aboard the Spirit of Enderby, other CIBE team members tidied up fieldwork and Steve C. boarded up the windows of the Met Service building, our home for the past 9 weeks, to protect the glass panes from storm damage as the Island will be uninhabited by people until next summer. Having loved my time on Campbell I was not looking forward to ‘normal’ life; I contemplated with dread having to check my email and...
It is a funny thing but the one topic of conversation on a ship heading to the Subantarctics isn’t about the splendor of your destination but about whether or not you will be bringing up your lunch on the way down. Thanks to a work Christmas function on my last night in Christchurch I had plenty of gory seasick disaster stories (thanks Dave!) vying for attention in my mind to keep my immediate future ripe with technicolour possibilities…
We sailed from Bluff at 21.30 NZDT on Monday 06 December 2010 aboard the HMNZS Wellington. The Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition was underway after a gestation period of nearly five years. As we entered Foveaux Strait I retired to my bunk where I remained for the entire voyage apart from one brief foray up to the bridge. My impression of the Southern Ocean was that there is a lot of it.
The forbidding coast of Campbell Island was sighted at first light on Wednesday 08...
After a busy morning of loading all and sundry onto the HMNZS Wellington we finally left Bluff Harbour at 8 p.m. on Monday December 6th, heading into relatively calm seas. Armed with both Sealegs tablets and ‘natural’ ginger anti-nausea pills I was hopeful although a little apprehensive on my sea sickness potential.
Over that night from the tight confines of my allocated bunk of adequate length but miniscule headroom I could feel the seas becoming angry. I kept taking...
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.
It's 3pm on Monday (6th Dec) and in around five hours we will be on the HMNZS Wellington making our way to Campbell Island. Just enough time then to get some photos loaded and write a quick blog! Sorry but I didn't manage to get a video clip together (gave up editing around 11pm last night).
So lets backtrack to last Friday...
Alex James, Mark Crompton, and I flew down to Invercargill on Friday (3rd Dec) while Colin and co. had driven down the previous day....
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...
Wednesday dawned and the calmness of the day was broken by the sound of packing tape and the click of the camera shutter. The big packup day had arrived and we looked at the van and small trailer and wished we had ordered up the Tardis instead. But the 'Tetris' packing skills of team EOS were impressive as boxes were crammed into the smallest spaces. It should be said that Colin and I managed to get out of some of the packing when we were interviewed by The Press' environmental...
The team at EOS Ecology spent another day packing up the gear for the Campbell Island expedition. Under a sea of pottles, tape, and boxes they did a fantastic job cleaning, packing, and labelling everyone's gear. Thanks guys - a stellar effort considering most of you aren't even going to the island! We all appreciate your hard work and on-going support of this project!
Well it has been a while since my last blog but I have a decent excuse - with the expedition mere days away I have been tied up getting all the gear ready. You would not want to see the lounge right now - camera and video gear all over the place! The staff at EOS Ecology (our largest corporate sponsor) have been a life saver, with many of the team helping get all the food and general supplies together for the 9 week expedition. Erron Henderson (the Manager) has taken over as the 'go-to...
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.
With a 9 week expedition on a remote island with no power and no supermarket to pop into (closest on being 700km away!), finding food that will last but taste nice and be nutritional seemed like a tall order. So Chef consultant Suzanne Henderson came to the rescue to sort out our food order and develop some specialised menus with an eye for nutrition and quick/easy cooking (something that any of us could cook up on the gas hob and diesel oven). I think if Suz knew how much work was...
Two boxes of goodies turned up the other day so there was excitement all around when we opened them up to check out the range. The Swazi guys had sent us different sizes of the jackets and tops they are giving us as well as a range of other items that they thought we would find useful. Time for a fashion show! We will try these on to get the final sizing back to Swazi for our freebies and an order for any other gear at cost price.
As we get ever closer to our departure date things are starting to ramp up (or possibly unravel!) in the organisation and logistics department. With so much equipment to organise and media output agreements to finalise I was delighted to get a call from a Michelle Beritzhoff with the offer of a helping hand. Michelle is a recent MSc graduate (marine, Otago University) who is now in Christchurch and has offered to help us any way she can with our preparation. I am sure that we will...
A trip to Wellington's national museum, Te Papa, for the EIANZ conference gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up with some people for the Campbell Island expedition....
Given this perfect conference location I managed to catch up with the team at Te Papa about a possible one-year exhibition there in 2012, and to make sure that any specimens we are bringing back will be good to use in this as well. Lots of exciting talks were had and even looked into options...
The evening of the 24th September couldn’t have been better if you had ordered it off a menu. The clock ticked over to 5pm and one of those beautiful spring evenings unfolded, with the wind dropping to a murmur and the warm night air refreshingly sweet. The setting at Peter and Annabel’s house near Tai Tapu was picture-perfect, with Annabel's stunning sculptures and paintings off-set against the rural setting outside. We had a good bunch of helpers to keep the night running...
Getting to Campbell Island is not as simple as jumping on a boat. The island is a World Heritage site that is protected against people running wild around the island. These meetings between the Department of Conservation and the Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition team helps us to work through our research permits and iron out the logistical details. Details, details, the devil is in the details.
When I went to bed on Friday night (3rd September) I was thinking about the productive weekend I would have getting everything organised for the upcoming CIBE support function (planned for 11th September). Little did I know that at 4.30am I would be leaping out of bed to shelter under the bedroom doorway in pitch black and the world seemingly falling down around us. We were so lucky in that the house seemed structurally ok, but loss of power, fallen furniture, smashed items, and a massive...
After angsting over the food list for the expedition I had a passing chat with a friend (who also happens to be my partner's sister) about our woes. As a chef she was excited about the prospect of working out a healthy, high energy, low sodium menu for us. So with a sigh of relief I thankfully passed over the task of organising the food to Suzanne. Since that time she has been meeting with suppliers, trialling products, and making and testing out full-proof recipes.
The 50º South Trust is having an invite-only support function on the evening of the 24th September 2010.
Our honoured guests and speakers are:
• The Rt Hon Kate Wilkinson (Minister of Conservation)
• Tim Shadbolt (Mayor of Invercargill; gateway to the Subantarctic)
• Diana, Lady Isaac (conservationist and philanthropist)
• Don Merton (saviour of the black robin and other NZ birds, and CIBE Patron)
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!