Seals, seaweed, and sea salt showers

Luke Parker
Seals, seaweed, and sea salt showers

REDnews has asked Simran Rughani and Oxana Repina to report back with photos, footage, and commentary from their Sir Peter Blake Trust’s Young Blake Expedition to the remote Auckland Islands (465 km’s south of Bluff).

They are a part of a group of 14 students working with scientists on terrestrial and marine ecology and geology projects that will inform the proposed Blake Station on one of the Sub-Antarctic islands.

Keep up to date with Simran and Oxana's adventures here on the REDnews Lifestyle section.

SEE ALSO: A day on Polaris II


Sea Salt Shower

“Being ready to go out at seven-thirty in the morning from anywhere is a mission. Especially when you decide it would be a great idea to go to a yoga class beforehand but I did it anyway.

My group set off first and we were headed for Shag Rock. We went in to a cove nearby and along a transect we placed quadrats.

In these we studied the different types of seaweed and animals we saw in the quadrat.

It was really interesting to see how many different types of seaweed there were in just a quarter of a metre squared!

Over the low tide we collected about 30 specimen samples.

The main focus of collecting these samples was for coralline algae.

This species of seaweed has a component made from calcium carbonate which will breakdown when the pH level of the water around it is too acidic.

As the climate changes, ocean acidity may increase so it is really important to collect samples now that we have a base line to compare changes to.


In the haze of the morning, the pick-up time from the coastline was misunderstood and so, we retreated away from the tide.

Unsure of what was happening, we started to predict how long we would be able to survive on the island by ourselves.

It was fun to take some time out of our busy schedule to get to know a few of the leaders better and to tell tales of our lives. Also, there where fur seals and sea lions which was Awesome.

Seaweed seal

We were picked up and taken straight to the Polaris II to play with the Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV).

We drove it along the floor of the sea and only had a short period of time to operate it but nonetheless, it was exciting.

We all handled it very delicately though as we didn’t want to break thousands of dollars of equipment!

On the way back to the ship the winds where howling and the sea was not the best conditions for a small boat hence those of us sitting in the front seats became absolutely soaked.

It was fun, but once we got back it was definitely time for another shower – fresh water and not a sea salt shower."

Words by Simran Rughani

Photos supplied by Oxana Repina

SEE ALSO: A day on Polaris II

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