The Spade-toothed whale Mesoplodon traversii, is now known from 5 specimens, three of which are housed at Te Papa. With only one of these specimens a complete skeleton, the species is as rare as they come – even among beaked whales – the most elusive of all the world’s whales. WhalesRead more

Even in this well-informed age it’s surprising how much we still don’t know about the natural world – especially the oceans!    All whales must come to the surface to breathe, despite this the Spade-tooth whale Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874), an animal over 5m in length, has never been see alive, and untilRead more

Our first sight of land since Antarctica in the dim small hours of the 3rd of March was Campbell Island. Campbell Island is home to more species of albatross than anywhere else in the New Zealand region with 6 species breeding here. The most conspicuous of these being the SouthernRead more

In the early hours of the 25th, we were awoken and called to the bridge to see the biggest wall of ice that I will probably ever see. The Ross Ice Shelf, and enormous slab faced Ice sheet stretching over 700km from Cape Crozier to the Bay of Whales. TheRead more

Not Lower and Upper Hutt, but instead the story of two attempts at the pole. That of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the voyage of the Nimrod, and Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the Terra Nova expedition. We awoke to another extraordinary day at anchor off Cape Royds. The lunar landscape,Read more

  Scott Base, as South as we go: In a place where the sun sets at 12.30 and rises at 2.30 sights just get more and more incredible. At 1am the sea around the boat started to freeze, the water became grainy and and looked like grease, slowing as theRead more

After 6 days at sea, we finally sighted land, Franklin Island, with it’s glacial snow cap looked like Eden after the roller coaster ride of the Ross Sea. Franklin Island is home to a large colony of Adelie penguins and is the hangout for a few Weddell seals. Weddell sealsRead more

We arrived at Macquarie Island – the sheltered waters in the lee of the island provided a welcome relief from the open ocean we had crossed between here and the Auckland Islands. The cool subantarctic summer did not detract from the spectacular wildlife – elephant seals and penguins everywhere! Until 1920Read more

I awoke to find that the boat had moved over night to the bottom end of the Auckland Islands, into Carnley harbour, with Adams island to our south. Adams island is home to Gibson’s wandering albatross – DNA research is currently being carried out to determine if Gibson’s Albatross is distinctRead more