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.
Keep up to date with Simran and Oxana's adventures here on the REDnews Lifestyle section.
Saturday the 6th of February 2016 – Simran Rughani
“Today we anchored in Smith’s Harbour in the Auckland Islands. As soon as you woke up, you could tell that the swells had stopped and the sea was calmer because you could walk around the ship without falling over.
I was in the first group to land on the actual island. It was very exciting to be the first student voyager from this trip to land on the island.
While most of the others hiked over to where Blake Station is proposed to be, I helped try to fix the NIWA weather station with Craig, Amanda and Shay.
We re-connected all the cords and tried for about two hours to initialise the system reboot. After receiving the same error multiple times we decided to move on and wait for more expert help."
Photo by Oxana Repina
A human first on the island
"We set off to collect soil samples at multiple altitudes along a transect. The samples contained important information about the microbes in the soil in the Auckland Islands that no one else has done before. It was super exciting that we were the first to ever do this.
And just like that seven hours on the island flew passed. It was weird adjusting from being on a rocking ship for a few days and then on to still land with a few of us tripping over – called “sea legs” in the NAVY.
We managed to see seals come right up to the edge of the water and put on a show for us. The island was extremely beautiful and so natural - free from human impacts and destruction.
It was so different to see a place so untouched by human contact."
Photo by Oxana Repina
Skilled up in the lingo of the seas
"When I got back on to the ship, after dinner some of the expedition-ers and crew decided to jump into the freezing cold, which the navy call “hands to bath”.
The sea temperature was a blistering 12 degrees in this Southern Ocean paradise.
It was windy, cold and I was tired so there was no way I was going to jump in. I was shivering on the ship, I can’t imagine how cold I would have been in the water!
It was movie night so I headed down to the Junior Rates Mess to chill with the crew and I got to learn some more NAVY lingo.
The JR Mess is where all the junior crew or hands on personnel can meet up, hang out and eat their meals.
We made a huge list of the lingo that everyone was contributing to, so to sign off I’ll use a term they use 'See you around the bazaars'."