Interviewed by the Hutt News:
January 13th, 2012 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
September 28th, 2011 § 5 comments - add yours
So the buggers put me on the cover, freezing my bits off. I can’t be too upset, testing a new outer shell garment for Swazi Apparel can lead to trouble when you push the limits, but you’re going to get an experience out of it too. Here’s the shot, a quick story behind a beaut experience.
I set off with Bia Boucinhas (a Brasilian friend training as a mountain/Antarctic guide in NZ) to climb Mount Taranaki and get some winter photos. Davey Hughes of Swazi had stuffed a newly designed goretex lightweight ‘Narwhal’ anorak into my hand and told me to test it the day before. Of course I’d said. Little did I know what a testing it, and we, were going to get. The day had been fine as we set off to climb to Syme Hut on Fanthams Peak for the night, before climbing Mt Taranaki the following day. As is often the case here, the weather changes very fast despite the best weather forecasting, and sure enough we were pushing through cloud and wind by the half way mark.
Approaching the summit of Fatham’s Peak we were hit by hurricane strength winds and a freezing southerly which made it very hard to stand up. Visibility dropped to 3 metres making it very hard to find the white ice covered hut in a total white out where visibility was 2-3 metres. Things were getting serious at this point as our core body temperatures were plummeting fast in the… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
January 25th, 2011 § 6 comments - add yours
How do you sum up Antarctica with one photo? Tough? Impossible?
I’ve done over 15 expeditions to the Ross Sea, Adelie Coast and Antarctic Peninsula, but took my first photo last week that nearly captures the essence of Antarctica for me. Here it is:
I had about 30 minutes to myself amongst an area of stranded icebergs. The sky was heavy with no wind. Magic starts to happen. I had to find it. Slowly I weaved my zodiac boat amongst … > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
July 11th, 2009 § 20 comments - add yours
For two months I'm working as lecturer and naturalist on an expedition ship heading to Svalbard (bet you don't know where that is), Greenland, Iceland and the Canadian Arctic. I'm blogging, and also carrying a satellite beacon that gives my real time location. So, add us to your favs, sign on for the RSS feed, or follow me on twitter and I'll do my best to take you along for the trip.
|LATEST UPDATE:8 September 2009 - Greenland & Canada.
We got to Nuuk, the captial of Greenland. Of course Santa Claus is a tourist thing here, with his 'headquarters' in the tourist office. The national museum was worth the visit. On display are 4 of the famous perfectly preserved Greenland Qilakitsoq Mummies from around 1475AD. Several days later we were to visit Qilakitsoq, the actual burial site, just across from Uummannaq town. Uummannaq is very scenic, and the recent wind had choked the harbour with large icebergs enhanced the view. Lunch was served with a collection of local foods - esp. fin whale meat and much dried fish at the local hotel. Afterwards we hiked over the island for an hour to a back bay where Santa Claus has his summer house. He wasn't in when we arrived , but Christian one of our team (with authentic white beard) was on hand to pass out sweeties! The traditional turf house was furnished with his belongings. And yes Janette (my able bodied Business Manager), I did leave a note for you saying you'd been good.
Ilulissat - now that's a spectacular place in Disko Bay. Jacobshaven Glacier has the highest output of water (ice) in the northern hemisphere. It's calving more ice in one day than New York uses in water in one year apparently. The huge bergs take 2 years to travel down the fiord and out past the town. It is truly impressive, and little wonder why this is the heart of Greenland tourism, and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It produces very tall bergs as they roll around in the fiord, and these litter Disko Bay and the surrounding Davis Strait. We had 2 days there, seeing a fantastic sunset on departure, humpback whales amongst the bergs and generally just staring in awe from the various hiking tracks at the scale of things.
Next was the Davis Strait passage across to Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. We spotted a hundred or so Pilot whales, but within sight of our first landfall, a tiny lonely piece of ice floated past with 2 polar bears eating a seal, 20NM from land. Welcome to Canada! We called at Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Had a look in the Government's Legislative Chamber which was festooned with indigenous icons, art, narwhal tusks and meaning. I enjoyed seeing this, and the strong connection still with nature, the environment and the strengthening culture.
Then across to Lower Savage Islands to drive zodiacs amongst them looking for Polar bears. The first bear literally popped up in rocks about 30 metres from the Zodiac I was driving. Fantastic! Sadly, in Canada, (unlike Svalbard) Polar bears are hunted, have a great fear of humans, and generally high tail it quickly. But, we saw another 11 polar bears before heading to Resolution Island and spotting another two. 13 polar bears in one day and the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) playing overhead to end with - what a day!!
Then a visit to Lady Franklin and Monumental Islands (both names connected to the famous missing Franklin Expedition in the North West Passage). Had another few polar bear sightings before the largest one I have ever seen decided to lie and/or prance on a rock very close to the coastline with very little concern (wee below right). This was a highlight. A visit to Akpatok Island was curtailed due to high winds, but I spotted a lonely bear walking the cliff top about 800 feet above us.
This morning we called into Hopedale, a tiny mostly Inuit town of 600 in Labrador. A beaut setting and historic place with Moravian church and Mission arriving from Germany in 1782 and being possibly the oldest building in east Canada. The local kids were out in force and we spent the morning giving them joyrides in the zodiacs around the ship. We were the first outside ship to call here this year and the smiles on their faces said it all. The kids certainly made the visit enjoyable for all of us.
The Google Map below is a rough overall view of the trip. Zoom in and move the map around.
More updates below..... > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
May 25th, 2009 § 3 comments - add yours
Just loving looking out the office window at the horizontal rain flying past (STILL!).
Southerly still blasting, and feels like it will never end. Best thing however… is when you can take your out of town visitors to the Wellington South Coast and scare the living daylights out of them as you watch the planes taking off and landing!
Here’s a few past images of storms hitting Wellington to make you wish you were here.
April 3rd, 2009 § 1 comment - add yours
I suspect Rob knows that I am a bit of a townie!! Before he left for his latest adventure he handed me the transcript of the diary of Mr A Sutherland, well known in hunting circles for his “early exploratory trips and hunting of the Wapiti herds of the Fiordland area” in the earlier part of the 20th century.
March 27th, 2009 § 23 comments - add yours
QUICKIE UPDATE: 14 April 2009: Well, after some very bad weather (5 days straight stuck in the tent with hail, early snows, storm force winds and thunder/lightning - and no book!) we had to pull the pin on heading over Edith Saddle to Lake Te Anau. Instead, choosing to make our way back to the put in point and fly out 2 days early. Top trip though and we saw some pretty tough country and got some great shots and experiences. 14 days worth of food and equipment meant 31+kg (70 pounds) packs on backs pushing through untracked country - loosing a bit of girth and finding a muscles I’d forgotten about in the process. The live tracking tracks are disappearing now (last 7 days display only), so I’ll post some shots and the full trail in a few days time when I get better sorted. Love the comments you all left - many thanks. Regards, Rob.
NOTE: You can now read the trip write up in this new post
Remote wilderness Fiordland. I’m taking camera and equipment for two weeks unsupported tramping and hunting through some of Fiordland’s toughest terrain, some of the wettest and most rugged land about, and you’ll be able to track the expedition in real time.
The plan is to find trophy Wapiti bulls (incorrectly called Elk to those from North America ;-)) to photograph during the breeding season. Evan Mardell from Wellington will be the other person in the party. I’ll have a new system with me that you can track the last 7 days of my movement via satellite beacon….. > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >