The Packing - Blog 3
Monday 12th November, 2012Eleven days in the subantarctic counting yellow-eyed penguins - up to four of those days will be spent on a 25-metre yacht at sea, getting there and back. So the big question is - what to pack? And how do curious sealions come into it?
Factors to consider:
- the weather (cool, wet and windy)
- shore landings (scrambling in and out of a small inflatable onto slippery rocks with waves of unknown size) the terrain (mud and thick vegetation) camping ashore on some nights (sleeping bag and sleeping mat needed) up to four hours each morning sitting and watching birds on the shore (sitting still means you get cold fast) days at sea (how seasick will you be?) space on the yacht (not much!)
The pile of gear on the floor of the spare bedroom is growing alarmingly, and I won't bore you with the full gory details. Here, however, are a few of the key things:
Waterproof boots, a pile of merino thermals for lots of layering, chemical hand-warmers and a Thermos flask (to provide warmth on counting mornings), an empty peanut butter jar (the nautical equivalent of an airline sick bag), peppermints for sucking on whilst lying in bed feeling under the weather, a walking pole for waving assertively and maintaining a small degree of personal space between self and any curious sealion, leather gloves for holding Gibson's wandering albatrosses while Jo puts leg bands on, good old yellow PVC over-trousers (as afore-mentioned albatrosses are likely to regurgitate their fishy dinner all over you), and binoculars for watching the yellow-eyed penguins waddle up and down the beach.
Speaking of waddling, volunteer Sharon reports that she has been packed for days (if not weeks - clearly better organised than me!) and she has the following to say about her subantarctic look: 'I waddle like a penguin in all my layers, I was going to say duck, but penguin seemed more appropriate.'
On Monday afternoon we will all have to unpack our carefully packed gear at the the Department of Conservation quarantine store in Invercargill to prove who has the cleanest socks and shoes. Hopefully we will be declared seed- and mud-free - got to keep those lovely subantarctic islands free of introduced nasties, eh!