Antipodes Islands

Between November 12 and 29, I went on an expedition to the Subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia. Two and a half weeks on a ship through the Southern Ocean, hopping from island to island, watching birds and making photographs, away from civilization… it was a true adventure. I’m telling here the tale of this voyage.

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After more than a day at sea, we reached the Antipodes Islands. Initially, this congregation of islets were can the Penantipodes, or “almost-antipodes”, because they were very close to be exactly on the other end of the world from England. The Pen- prefix was lost with time, and actually, the exact antipode of the Antipodes lies in a small French village near Cherbourg.

Clouds were very low when we arrived, and an unusual wind direction forced us to discard the usual zodiac cruising site. We circled the archipelago, enjoying premium views of its indomitable cliffs and numerous nesting seabirds.

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Home of the kiwi

I leave the hostel after dusk, and it’s already dark. Others have gone earlier, telling me they get out before dark in this period because nights are so short, but it took me longer to have dinner. I see people coming back from the Church Hill but I do not dare to ask if they have seen one. I keep walking.

I’m in their territory now. It’s a residential area, but there’s no one around. I walk, alert, my head lamp scanning the roadsides, my ears trying to pick up any unusual noise. It’s not raining, there’s very little wind… it should be a good night. I turn the corner. Suddenly, on the left, some rattle in the understorey. Could it be one?

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Campbell Island

Between November 12 and 29, I went on an expedition to the Subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia. Two and a half weeks on a ship through the Southern Ocean, hopping from island to island, watching birds and making photographs, away from civilization… it was a true adventure. I’m telling here the tale of this voyage.

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Campbell Island is where it all clicked, where I really got rid of the photographic pressure to enjoy the voyage to the fullest, where I had the most outstanding wildlife encounter… in short, where I felt the most alive! It was not as spectacular as Macquarie, but it was phenomenal in different ways.

Southern royal albatross (Diomedea epomophora)

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Macquarie Island

Between November 12 and 29, I went on an expedition to the Subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia. Two and a half weeks on a ship through the Southern Ocean, hopping from island to island, watching birds and making photographs, away from civilization… it was a true adventure. I’m telling here the tale of this voyage.

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Macquarie Island. Macca. Jewel in the crown of our trip, if conditions allow to enjoy it properly. The hardest place to visit, when it comes to weather. The island is a narrow patch of land jutting from the ocean, 38 kilometers orientated north-south: the rock was originally formed at the bottom of the ocean, in a dorsal, and was then pushed towards the surface. Because our only authorized landing sites are on the eastern coast, any non-westerly wind makes any visit practically impossible.

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Auckland Islands

Between November 12 and 29, I went on an expedition to the Subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia. Two and a half weeks on a ship through the Southern Ocean, hopping from island to island, watching birds and making photographs, away from civilization… it was a true adventure. I’m telling here the tale of this voyage.

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“Port Ross is a very sheltered bay, we never have problem getting to shore there”. These optimistic words came from our staff as Judd, the expedition leader, announced conditions would get a bit tougher, with wind picking up significantly. Indeed, our shelter proved good enough to visit Enderby Island, the piece of land at the north of the Auckland Islands archipelago.

New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri)

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