As part of the CIBE expedition, I spent seven weeks on Campbell Island sampling 45 lakes, tarns and ponds all over the island. At each site we collected water and sediment samples. Back in the lab at the University of Bern, Switzerland, I analysed...
It’s a proud day when a scientist has a discovery named after her. In the field of invertebrates the chance of finding a new species is certainly greater than say working in the field of mammals, but even so, it is a rare privilege and one thing on my bucket list that I didn't think I would ever tick off. In my case, my surname (McMurtrie) is being shared with a tiny worm (...
A lot has happened since we returned on the 11 February to Christchurch from our expedition to Campbell Island. A devastating earthquake 11 days after our return and then another in June were among the more memorable (memorable for all for the wrong reasons) happenings. The February quake sent our freezer in the EOS Ecology lab flying and our irreplaceable 200-odd invertebrate samples thrown to the floor. It was a small miracle that they all survived the shake-up, and our gas-powered...
Today dawned in spectacular fashion with calm waters and not a cloud in the sky. Given the fine, windless day and the arrival of the Orion tourist ship, a planned trip up the Col Ridge with botanist Colin Meurk was soon changed to an ascent of Mt Honey from the north face, rather than the usual track up the west flank. Mount Honey is often covered in clag (low cloud) so we had to make...
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...
With midterm resupply we’ve had the Maia at our disposal, transportation we utilised to access Six Foot Lake. Campbell’s tea-coloured lake is located on the south side of the island where it accentuates a landscape of flaxen tones; scattered animal bones, scavenging Skuas and Giant Petrels cloak the lakeshore...
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...
After a four-day trip away to the northern extremes of the island we were on our way home again. We had traversed and sampled a part of the island seldom visited by people – Hooker Stream that runs through the Hooker Valley. With the local name of ‘starvation valley’ I guess it is no surprise that not many people decide to frequent this part of the island (or return if they do), but I was thoroughly chuffed we made the effort.
The freshwater team has just returned from a sampling trip to the Hooker Valley (a.k.a. Starvation Valley) in the far north of Campbell Island. It was known as Starvation Valley in the past because its steep sides meant that once you were in the valley bottom, it would be difficult to get back out. Here we spent three nights in Sorensen Hut (a.k.a. Bull Rock Hut) while sampling four sites along the length of Hooker Stream.
The Hooker Valley is relatively flat bottomed with a steep...
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...
Jo (our DOC rep) was back from helping out two phd students on the island with us, so Alex James and I invited her along when we put out the sticky and pitfall traps along Tucker Stream, to show her what stream ecologists get up to – when we are not sampling in streams that is.
With the thick Dracophyllum, we were crawling through the undergrowth to get to 20m out from the stream to set up our traps (at 0m, 10m and 20m from the stream); in such situations it's always good...
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...
With some favourable weather on the forecast we travelled a bit further afield (but not too far) over to Camp Cove and up Camp Stream. On our way were many sea lion encounters – they seem invariably intrigued in these two neoprene-clad bipeds that like to hang out in the streams like they do. We clearly are not that interesting however, as after a few minutes of sniffing they are off again to do their own thing.
We found Camp Stream to be a delightful tannin-stained waterway...
Campbell Island is not really the place for fishnet stockings but nets are in this season. We know there are nets out across the oceans, possibly harming the fish stocks that the penguins and albatrosses dine out on. But here on the Bicentennial Expedition to Campbell there are smaller fish to fry – and some bigger!
The next thing I saw these heroic freshwater biologists doing was scrubbing the rocks for algae-inhabiting insects and crustaceans and then measuring the rocks;...
On December 14th the tourist boat ‘Tiama’ sailed into Perseverance Harbour and set anchor. As this boat has a small inflatable with outboard, we were presented with the opportunity to visit a nearby, but difficult to access (by foot) stream on the opposite side of the harbour. The skipper, Henk, kindly agreed to collect us from the wharf on the morning of the 15th, drop us off at the stream mouth, and collect us late in the afternoon. Also joining Shelley and I was botanist...
Following a couple of days of very cold and windy weather the freshwater team got their field program underway. This initially involves concentrating on the nearby streams that can be done as day trips from the base. Later we will move on to the logistically challenging streams further away from base.
On Tuesday (Dec 14th) we started off with a trip to Tucker Stream, the mouth of which is only 20 minutes walk from base. This stream’s valley is of historic interest (as well...
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!