Day 20, 21, 22, 23 – Monday-29th, Tuesday 30th, Wednesday 31st January, Thursday 1st February2024
Leaving Antarctica behind us, the rōpu spend the next four days catching up on missed sleep due to the forever sunlight and late days/nights, refining the cultural assessments and reports, organising photos, listening to lectures onboard, and some trying to adjust to the high seas. This was a time to reflect on the trip thus far, and for the Ngāi Tahu rōpu it was a time to discuss the opportunities for Ngāi Tahu down in the Southern Ocean. It was a welcome sign starting to see more tītī as we approached Campbell Island, and everyone was looking forward to seeing some green and setting foot on land.
Day 24 - Friday 2nd February 2024
Campbell Island Cruising
We arrived at Campbell Island mid-morning on Friday to a drizzly day, which is not surprising as Campbell Island rains over 300 days per year. The Heritage Adventurer was running ahead of schedule and could not go into Perseverance Harbour due to another Cruise Ship scheduled there for the day. So a zodiac cruise down the southern end of the island was planned. Heritage Adventurer anchored just off Southeast Harbour for the morning and the zodiacs cruised into the harbour. This area had not been explored by Heritage and their crew before so it was exciting for everyone looking at a new area. There was some excellent geology, wildlife and flora along the shoreline to be viewed. The expected 1.5-hour trip soon turned into a 3-hour trip as we headed down to Monument Harbour and Le Botte which made for an excellent morning exploring. Once aboard again, the ship travelled to the northern most tip of Campbell Island to North Cape where the Campbell Island albatross is found in the hundreds, nesting on the cliffs edge.
After lunch, the other cruise ship had decided to move on so the Heritage Adventurer moved into Perseverance Harbour and set anchor. The weather calmed and the rain stopped so another zodiac around the harbour was planned. This was a much more settled zodiac cruise than the one earlier and there was plenty of manu around the harbour including hundreds of tītī feeding. The highlight was the huge amount of Royal Albatross that circled and followed the zodiacs around the harbour. Up close these birds live up to their name as being one of the largest flying birds in the world.
The evening was spent getting ready for the next day for landing on the island. The rōpu planned to fly the drone around the harbour to capture both hi-res and thermal imaging of the multiple fur seal and sea lion colonies on the island. It was also a welcome to spend a night on anchor in the shelter of Perseverance Harbour after 5 nights at sea.
Day 25 - Saturday 3rd February 2024
Campbell Island Landing
A full day was planned on the island for guests, crew, and the Murihiku team. The Murihiku rōpu went ashore at the wharf on Campbell Island with the intention to fly the drone for the morning. After a recon by Regina and Colin, the decision was made to not fly the drone as the weather was not suitable.
The rōpu then decided to walk up Col Lyall which is the boardwalk on Campbell Island to the top of the ridge where the royal albatross colonies were situated. A great walk through the mega flora and other unique plant species up to a breathtaking view of the west coast was worth the hike, with nesting albatross right beside the tracks. The colourful flowers from the flora scattered across the entire island was a highlight of the day.
The Ngāi Tahu rōpu finished off the final assessment for the island along with another assessment of the journey brought the Āpiti Hono Tātai Hono cultural assessment raw data collection to a competition. Even though there was not physical evidence of pre-European occupation by Māori, all Ngāi Tahu rōpu members felt a deep connection to the island with the variety of tāonga species found there. The rōpu discussed how there is plenty of opportunity for future research on the island, along with utilising the existing infrastructure and working in with the DOC kaimahi involved with the island in true treaty partnership.
After a big day, the evening was filled with great conversations with the guests, sharing stories, and reminiscing about the trip. The Heritage Adventurer set sail back to New Zealand and to the port of Bluff. As soon as the ship rounded North Cape, the westerly swell was noticeable with seas becoming rougher. This made for a very interesting night’s sleep.
Day 26 - Sunday 4th February 2024
Day at sea
The day was spent travelling back to Bluff through the roaring forties, where it lived up to its name as 5-6 metre swells made for an interesting trip as many of the guests didn’t move far from their rooms for the day. It wasn’t until the evening when the ship was in the lee of Rakiura when the seas died down and the guests emerged from their rooms. That evening was a recap from Heritage and the crew around the trip. Colin Aitchison presented a short video of drone footage to the guests, along with the ship photographer showing her photo reel. Expedition Lead Nathan Russ led the overview of the trip giving thanks to the entire crew with them parading on stage and the guests giving thanks. The evening was finished off with a special dinner with the Murihiku ki te Toka lead Riki Parata joining the Captain’s table with the crew and discussing future opportunities and their past experiences throughout their expedition journeys around the world.
Day 27 - Monday 5th February 2024
Dismemberment South Port
The rōpu awoke tied up at South Port and it was a welcome sight of Motupohue/Bluff Hill. The final farewells for the morning after last minute packing and it was hard to accept that the trip was at an end, but an unbelievable and truly once in a lifetime trip. The Ngāi Tahu rōpu came away with a broader knowledge of the Southern Ocean region, the Māori descendants who explored and inhabited these vast and raw areas, and a respect for the heroic early pioneers of the regions. Great connections and networks were made onboard that will contribute to future endeavours in the southern oceans with potential enduring and meaningful relationships.