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The Rock-itt : December 2010
I felt very well. I slept a bit and around 4.30am things began to calm down. We were woken at 6am to flat calm Ross Bay, adjacent to Sandy Cove, Enderby Island. Like The Snares, Enderby, which is part of the Auckland Islands, is owned by New Zealand. Breakfast, a briefing and then Zodiacs across to Sandy Cove and an actual landing! There were a couple of researchers on this Island studying the small quantities of Yellow Eyed Penguins. Upon landing one of these very pretty Penguins wandered down to the beach, of course I wasn’t ready with my camera and he was the last we saw all day! There is a large population of Hooker Sea Lions here and we were warned to expect a few males who had been unsuccessful in their mating to be interested in us. We were told to stand up tall to them and they would back away. I didn’t encounter any problem but Helen from our party did, having to resort to poking one of them with her walking stick. We all set off to the Sooty Albatross nesting site, which was not very populated due to the time of season. On the way over we saw a flock of Barred Dotterel and a couple of Royal Albatross, one on the nest. We were given the option of carrying on around the Island, a seven-kilometre walk, or returning to Sandy Cove to watch the Sea Lions and have a leisurely day. I chose the former and can now confirm that I have developed a hatred for Tussock Grass. The walk was pretty easy apart from the Tussock and we stumbled across Sea Lions in the most unlikely places. They haul themselves considerably high into the Rata Forest and sleep the day away. Saw Auckland Shag, Bell Birds, and Red Headed Parakeets but didn’t manage to see the flightless Teal which is major rarity. Each of the islands down here has their own endemic Parakeet, an unexpected bird for such a wild place. The path was very difficult to follow and I was glad to get the walk over, too much like hard work for me. Everybody seemed to enjoy it but I got lots of support for my hate campaign against Tussock. We had a very steady dinner in the bay and during the night the boat departed for the South of the Island and Carnley Harbour, which took about four hours. I awoke to a gentle roll and had a bit of a lie in, not getting down to breakfast until 8.20am. It was hoped that we could land adjacent to West Cape and we were offered the choice of a walk up to the Shy Albatross colony above South West Cape or a Zodiac cruise. I would have gone for that! However it was windy and the channel we had to go through was too narrow so the Captain decided that anchorage was not to be. Instead it was decided we would anchor in Tagua Bay and take a short walk to the Coast Watchers Hut and lookout. This installation was one of three around the Islands erected early in the Second World War to look for enemy craft in the area. They were set up after a German steamer, the ‘Erlangen’ left New Zealand just before war was declared with the stated intention of bunkering with coal at Port Kembla, Australia. Instead, to avoid internment it came down here to just the other side of Tagua Bay. The boat’s Captain, Alfred Grams ordered his Chinese crew to cut Iron Wood so they could fire the boilers and make it to Chile. This they did successfully. Our walk was mercifully short, the observers living hut was in a state of degeneration but the These trips aren’t for peoiple who get scared at sea, believe me this is not extreme! The elusive Yellow Eyed Penguin, thank- fully one of my fellow cruisers got this picture. A couple of Fur Seals doze in the Rata forest on Enderby Island.