Perseverance harbour, Campbell island
The spectacular, isolated and seldom visited Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia are recognised as some of the world’s great “biodiversity hotspots” and enlisted as a World Heritage Sites. Home to almost half of the world’s albatross and penguin species these islands are true oases for anyone interested in wildlife and pristine nature. Please read an excerpt from the logbook of 2011's trip to the islands below.
Heavily overcast sky, first tormenting rain, now a light drizzle. Our ship anchored off the former weather station, embraced by the volcanic island’s dramatic yet benign landscape. Here we walked through the dracophyllum forest, up towards the plateau of the inland on a nicely constructed boardwalk. Along the path the yellow corns of the bulbinella and the silver-grey leaves of the plerophyllum, the blue flowers of the hebe bushes, and mosses and lichens. A landscape resembling tundra, ever more dominated by the plumes of the tussock grass. And here the first glimpses of the royal albatrosses - spread out white dots on the slopes. The day grew nicer, the sun dried our clothes, the land emerged out of the grey in brighter colours and nuances. The fjords’ arms glimmered magically blue beyond fields of tussock and bushes. And now the albatrosses awoke to life: even more of them swept in on a low altitude above us, courtship was seen in several spots. Magic is a word for the gently caressing way love is expressed between these giant birds! Cautiously they preen one another’s heads, gently they bow, proudly they spread their wings… There were moments for close observations, increasingly so as the afternoon elapsed. One of the highlights of our journey was handed to us by the beautiful Campbell island!
Photos: Adam Rheborg