Enderby Island - Blog 6
Friday 16th November, 2012We arrived in the Auckland islands today! The forecast was looking promising on Monday so we set sail from Bluff at 9 pm, and had a smooth sailing, arriving at Enderby Island just on dawn, after an uneventful 31 hours. O joy and thanks to the weather gods for such a pleasant passage!
After an early (and much needed!) breakfast we began shuttling supplies for Dave Houston and Leith Thompson ashore at Sandy Bay, as well as extra supplies ready for the sealion team who arrive next month for their summer of work.
Dave H. and Ranger Leith are staying on Enderby Island, and we'll pick them up at the end of the trip. Their job involves putting up remote cameras at several key penguin landing sites, to automatically count all the penguins coming and going from the sea. The pair will then head into the bush to look for nests - when they find a nest they will put a small paint mark on the back of the bird, which they'll then be able to see on the cameras. The proportion of marked (painted) to unmarked birds they see will help Jo work out how the number of birds we count compares to how many nests we can expect.
It was too late to carry out any morning penguin counts, so while Dave and Leith began their work the rest of us set out around Enderby for a recce and much-needed leg-stretch. It drizzled in a very classic subantarctic manner for maybe an hour - although it wasn't windy - and then to our amazement the rain stopped, and the sun came out. We saw about 15 yellow-eyed penguins on our way round, young birds loafing around together and enjoying the warmth, as well as lots of sealions, an elephant seal, skuas, dotterels, pippits, and even a couple of snipe and Auckland Island teal.
Jo, Dave A. and Megan are out in the dinghy at the moment, working our penguin counting sites on Rose and Ewing islands. Then the plan is for an early night, as at 2 am Steve the skipper will up-anchor and head out north around the exposed coast of Enderby Island to get us to North Harbour by 4 am. Then we'll be dropped off at our counting sites by torchlight, and settle in for our first penguin count. Here's hoping the glassy calm seas we have at the moment will continue!