Saturday, 11 December 2010

Day 3: Enderby Island, Auckland Island Group


Fur seals love to play. This one pretends to charge me. Very convincing. Pic: Amy Christensen
Another early start, although a mercifully less violent night. We spent the whole day ashore exploring this little island once home to a cattle herd and all the attendant pests that brings. Cats, mice and rabbits have all been “removed” leaving it to breeding sea lions, albatross and the darling yellow-eyed penguins as well as numerous other waders, parrots and tits. There are a few exciting moments as sea lions test our resilience in mock charges. Some of us charge back and a ceasefire is established.

I agree to join the hardy walkers and we complete a circumnavigation of the island on foot. All the while we negotiate with sea lions for safe passage and give right of way to toddling penguins among the impeding tussock grass. We detour through the spooky forest, populated with low mossy and gnarly trees that seem to grab at you. Soggy peat bogs lie in wait and occasionally a friendly tomtit appears to show you the way. A perfect setting for Peter Jackson's next movie.

Several shipwrecks, including the Derrycastle and General Grant have left a tragic legacy and there is a plaque commemorating the dead - a stark reminder indeed.