Day 6: last stations off the Otago Peninsula sampled. We are ready to move towards the Auckland Islands.
We have been blessed with good weather conditions for the last six days which allowed us to complete quickly our diversity survey between 50m and 1200m depth off the Otago Peninsula. We have deployed 50 videos units, capturing over 150 hours of footage. Twenty fish traps sampled the fish fauna over the last days as well. The fish trap highlight is the capture of a hagfish specimen which is not looking like anything we have seen so far. It is hard to tell for sure at this stage if this is a new species, but it may well be. The specimen will need careful examination and DNA analysis once we are back in Wellington to identify it with confidence.
Tomorrow, the boat will transit to Bluff where it will have to be inspected and cleared by DoC staff before continuing towards the Auckland Islands. It is very important to respect quarantine procedure associated to a voyage in the Subantarctic Islands. The preservation of their natural state is at stake. If the weather forecast holds, we will have a window to reach the islands on Monday-Tuesday. At least 36 hours are needed to navigate between Bluff and the Auckland Islands.
I will try to continue updating you on our progress once we have reached the islands, although communication is going to be more complicated from this very remote location.
Speak to you soon,
Vincent and the team.