REDnews has asked Simran Rughani and Oxana Repina to report back daily 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).
The group, which includes 12 other students, will spend the next 5 days working with scientists on terrestrial and marine ecology and geology projects that will inform the proposed Blake Station.
Keep regularly up to date with Simran and Oxana here on the REDnews Lifestyle section.
Here’s what Simran had to say on the first day of their adventure.
Day 1: All On-board
Tuesday the 2nd of February 2016
"Waking up at 5.30am in a tunnel surrounded by sharks and fish was very disorientating, but after a few minutes I realised where I was and why I was there. It was still hard to believe I was only hours away from boarding a NAVY ship and beginning a life-changing adventure.
The morning went by quickly from packing up at Kelly Tarlton’s to picking up our bags from quarantine to finding our cabins on the ship. Before we departed, friends and family of the crew were invited aboard to wish their loved ones a safe journey. I was blessed in having all my friends come to see me off – even one whose flight from France had just arrived earlier that morning. The farewell was brief but included a blessing from the NAVY chaplain, a message from Captain Dave McEwen, and of course lots of photos and hugging. Then we were waving goodbye and slowly making our way away from the dock.
Life on the ship was different from what I thought it would be. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I had seen photos of cramped cabins and perfectly made beds and all the other stereotypes that come to mind when you think of a NAVY ship. It’s weird having to open and close so many doors to get from the messes to our cabins and I suppose I’m quite lucky with the spacious cabin I’m in which I share with 5 others. The crew intimidated me initially, but after eating lunch and dinner with them in the junior rates mess hall, they seem like really chill, helpful, and down to earth people. I think the expedition crew has done really well with our seasickness, only three people having some issues adjusting to life at sea. Everyone else is settling in well, sitting, and lying, in the sun on the bow. Looking over the horizon and still trying to comprehend how lucky we are and how many more beautiful days we will have."
Photos by Oxana Repina