Expedition Countdown

By Alison Ballance

An expedition to the Antipodes Islands departs later today from Dunedin onboard the EVOHE. The team includes builders and scientists who will follow up on work done during the last expedition in August. Alison Ballance will be updating the blog from the Antipodes Islands.
The next Antipodes Island expedition team gathered in Invercargill yesterday to go through the rigourous Department of Conservation quarantine procedure, making sure all our equipment is clean and we’re not going to accidentally take any rodents, insects or weed seeds down with us.

The next job was to repack everything so that it’s nice and waterproof, as we might have a wet landing on the island, depending on what the wind and waves are doing, and where we can come ashore. Our food is in buckets or fish bins with good fitting lids, and although our freshies and bread will only last the first few days we don’t think wer’re going to starve!

There are 10 of us going down” Callum, Mark, Andy and Geoff are the builders in charge of fixing the hut (hopefully we’ll be in residence before the end of the trip). Jo is expedition leader, ably assisted by Kathryn. They’ll be leading the penguin counting, albatross banding and other large bird jobs, assisted by Dan and Alison. Denise has some small bird jobs to do, including a trial to keep pipits in captivity. Brian is our botanist and he is establishing some vegetation monitoring plots. I will also be recording an Our Changing World feature for Radio New Zealand National, and sending blogs as the technology allows (if we end up having to use our new smart trackers to text blogs back they may take the form of short poems rather than long essays!).

We are due to ship out of Dunedin tonight on EVOHE, which is ready at the wharf and waiting for us. Fingers crossed for a plain sailing, which should take about 2 days, if we’re lucky.