Blake Ambassador 2018/19 Blogs

Welcome to Tara
Welcome to Tara

Walking past his portrait hanging outside is a very special feeling, a humbling reminder of our purpose on board and the incredible opportunity we have been given.

The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal

The sun had set and we were making our way up to the entrance of the canal through the calm cool evening with hazy skies in the distance in all directions.

We Are Away Sailing
We Are Away Sailing

We have now entered the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind the Panamanian jungle filled with howler monkeys, boa constrictors, panthers, jaguars and tiny, deadly snakes. As Tara was built to withstand Arctic exploration, I highly doubt motion sickness on the high seas was a prioritized consideration in the engineering of the ship – she lurches at the onset of any mild swell. While the crew didn’t flinch, some of us were not so lucky!

Lazy Dancing Whales
Lazy Dancing Whales

We had a special visit today as we were greeted by a small pod of pilot whales, lazily turning through Tara’s bow wave. They curiously played before a quick flick of their tails sent them sinking head first to disappear into the depths.

Chewing on Tuna
Chewing on Tuna

Today we caught a Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, the biggest fish I have seen in my life. I could barely lift it from the ground and it was incredible to see the engineering of such a powerfully fast animal.

A Hurricane on the Horizon
A Hurricane on the Horizon

Who is Florence? On a scale of 5, she’s a category 4 hurricane that’s crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

While We Wait
While We Wait

We reached the Bahamas in the early hours of the morning and took down the sails just off a small set of islands. After waking to see we were anchored, I grabbed a mask and explored the crystal clear, 20m deep water where Tara sat. Jellyfish floated past and a few curious Triggerfish, Canthidermis sufflamen, drifted up to see me, with two elongated dorsal and anal fins allowing it to peculiarly flap through the water.

Wake of a Hurricane
Wake of a Hurricane

​In the wake of Florence, we leave the safe crystal waters of the Bahamas and head up the coast of North America.

Humans of Tara
Humans of Tara

Meet the crew of the Tara expedition from Panama to New York.

The Ocean Vacuum Cleaner
The Ocean Vacuum Cleaner

As we sit writing this in the Tangaroa library the sway of the Southern Ocean perpetuates the feeling that this is all an incredible dream we are fast asleep within.

Fishy Fun Begins
Fishy Fun Begins

While the thought of working with fish all day might make some feel a little queasy, Erin and I felt right at home as soon as we were welcomed by the team at NIWA Northland Marine Research Centre. Located in the coastal township of Ruakaka, a 30-minute drive from sunny Whangarei, the Research Centre extracts water straight from the beach to supply its tanks to allow research to be conducted.

Atmospheric Monitoring
Atmospheric Monitoring

The average Kiwi would not be able to say much about the remote town of Lauder, which is a small stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail and around 35 km from Alexandra. However, in the atmospheric research community its coordinates are very well known, as it is host to one of the best-equipped atmospheric monitoring facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ozone Sonde Launch and the LIDAR
Ozone Sonde Launch and the LIDAR

Most atmospheric measurements are not so glamorous to the casual observer. Twiddle a couple of dials, the machine goes ping, then a NIWA scientist works their magic to process this into usable data for scientists around the world. However, ozone sondes and the LIDAR make pretty cool pictures.

Greta Point and Baring Head
Greta Point and Baring Head

I have spent the last week of my ambassadorship amongst NIWA’s Tropac group at the Greta Point facility in Wellington.

Mussel Mania
Mussel Mania

​NIWA Northland Marine Research Centre conducts trials to look at the retention rates, feeding rates and habitat structure preference of New Zealand’s economically important aquaculture species green lipped mussels.

A Fierce Trapping Regime
A Fierce Trapping Regime

Each year, the Sir Peter Blake Trust awards scholarships to a group of young, aspiring scientists and conservationists, who are each paired up with a partnering organisation and given the opportunity to take part in various work programmes around New Zealand and internationally.

A Mossy Forest Rich in Birdsong
A Mossy Forest Rich in Birdsong

Dusky Sound itself is one of the largest in Fiordland, 40km in length and eight kilometres wide at its widest point. The coastline is unique and unspoiled, with dramatic, breath taking views of rugged coastlines, fiords and snow-capped mountains. The steep terrain is bursting with torrents of waterfalls in every crevice and the mist lies low amongst the valleys. Temperate rainforest covers mossy undergrowth and tannin stained streams pour into cool, clear sea water, alive with creatures.

The Contrast of Islands
The Contrast of Islands

The third day brings more rain and I have been assigned “dinghy duty”. This entails a dinghy with three people rebaiting coastal traps – a driver and two trappers are leapfrogged from one trap to the next along the coastline. Our task is to cover as much of Long Island, which lies between Resolution and the mainland, as we can.

Abundant With Birds
Abundant With Birds

I’ve begun to hate the sound of the generator starting up, which demands my consciousness early in the morning. On this day though, the fourth day, I’m practically leaping out of bed with anticipation. A helicopter has been scheduled – unfortunately on the first day, one of the dinghy’s outboard motor was damaged and a new one must be flown in.

Tackling Trap Lines
Tackling Trap Lines

Today we have decided to tackle all of the remaining trap lines near the five fingers peninsula. My trap line runs along the coastline of five fingers, and we have an early start to make sure we catch low tide. I continue to be shocked by the variation in the scenery. The beach I am dropped on is calm at this part nearest to the island, and at low tide it’s littered with shellfish and crayfish.

I Will Be Back Here to Volunteer Again
I Will Be Back Here to Volunteer Again

The last day brings with it torrential rain. Almost everyone is on dinghy duty as we finish the last coastal traps. I am soaked within ten minutes, but the waterfalls are astounding. Again, the sea life is on display and penguins are all over the rocks we are trapping.

Trapping in Nelson Lakes National Park
Trapping in Nelson Lakes National Park

As Aidan and I head towards Nelson Lakes National Park, Jen (a DOC ranger) points out the scorched hills where massive fires have raged for weeks.

An Ideal Location for a Mainland Island
An Ideal Location for a Mainland Island

Out on the lake it’s easy to see how the area makes an ideal location for a mainland island, it’s like an oasis walled in by the surrounding mountain ranges.

Anchor Base
Anchor Base

What a privilege to participate in this programme. Passing through a thorough quarantine and a delayed helicopter flight later, fellow Blake Ambassador Sarah Manktelow and myself spent an epic 2 weeks on an adventure to Anchor Island.

A Kākāpō Conservation Story
A Kākāpō Conservation Story

This is Anchor Island, Pukenui, and it is the home to a third of the world’s kākāpō population. Located on the outer western corner at the bottom of the South Island, it was recently deemed a suitable spot for an open island sanctuary for kākāpō.

Predator Monitoring at Lake Rotoroa
Predator Monitoring at Lake Rotoroa

The final week’s goal was to do predator monitoring at Lake Rotoroa and replace more traps on the St Arnaud Range.

Blake Ambassador 2017/18 Blogs

Finding fish in the Southwest Pacific
Finding fish in the Southwest Pacific

Will McKay - Blake South West Pacific Ambassador

All aboard!
All aboard!

Will McKay - Blake South West Pacific Ambassador

Touch down in Noumea
Touch down in Noumea

Will McKay - Blake South West Pacific Ambassador

Introducing Chris Ansin
Introducing Chris Ansin

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Human Ice Block
Human Ice Block

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Camping on thin ice
Camping on thin ice

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Cape Royds
Cape Royds

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Camping at Cape Royds
Camping at Cape Royds

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Cape Evans
Cape Evans

Chris Ansin - Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2017

Clear skies and clean air
Clear skies and clean air

Lisa Dowling - Blake NIWA Ambassador 2017

Baring Head
Baring Head

Lisa Dowling - Blake NIWA Ambassador 2017

Why the Chatham Rise?
Why the Chatham Rise?

Victoria Carrington- Blake NIWA Marine Ambassador 2017

A stormy start!
A stormy start!

Toby Dickson- Blake NIWA Marine Ambassador

We have data!
We have data!

Toby Dickson- Blake NIWA Marine Ambassador

Half way point
Half way point

Victoria Carrington- Blake NIWA Marine Ambassador 2017

Stream Health
Stream Health

Charlotte Tomlinson - Blake NIWA Ambassador 2017

Sedimentation Experiment
Sedimentation Experiment

Charlotte Tomlinson - Blake NIWA Ambassador 2017

Welcome to Port Waikato
Welcome to Port Waikato

Shelley Ogle - Blake DOC Ambassador

Māui Christmas
Māui Christmas

Anna McKenzie-Pollock - Blake DOC Ambassador

The perfect storm
The perfect storm

Shelley Ogle - Blake DOC Ambassador

Day in the Life
Day in the Life

Anna McKenzie-Pollock - Blake DOC Ambassador

Shorebird Day
Shorebird Day

Anna McKenzie-Pollock - Blake DOC Ambassador

Arrival day
Arrival day

Marie Potthoff - Blake DOC Ambassador

A mainland island recovery and restoration project
A mainland island recovery and restoration project

Sian Moffitt - Blake DOC Ambassador

Homeland Conservation
Homeland Conservation

James Ranstead - Blake DOC Ambassador

Clearing, Cleaning and Rebaiting
Clearing, Cleaning and Rebaiting

Sian Moffitt - Blake DOC Ambassador

The brutal side of conservation
The brutal side of conservation

Shelley Ogle - Blake DOC Ambassador

Leave only footprints
Leave only footprints

Shelley Ogle - Blake DOC Ambassador

Blake Ambassador 2016/17 Blogs

Embarking on Tara
Embarking on Tara

Charlotte Borra- Blake Tara Ambassador 2017

Seasickness to science
Seasickness to science

Charlotte Borra- Blake Tara Ambassador 2017

Feeling Sir Peter's presence
Feeling Sir Peter's presence

Anne-Sophie Page- Blake Tara Ambassador 2017

From plankton to dolphins
From plankton to dolphins

Charlotte Borra- Blake Tara Ambassador 2017

On our way home
On our way home

Anne-Sophie Page- Blake Tara Ambassador 2017

Introducing Annika
Introducing Annika

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Flying to a new home
Flying to a new home

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

The Antarctic Hertitage Trust's role in the Antarctic
The Antarctic Hertitage Trust's role in the Antarctic

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Exploring Scott's Hut
Exploring Scott's Hut

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Camping on a frozen continent
Camping on a frozen continent

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Trans Antarctic Expedition Hut, also known as Hilary Hut
Trans Antarctic Expedition Hut, also known as Hilary Hut

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Restoration of Hilary Hut begins
Restoration of Hilary Hut begins

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Skirt party!
Skirt party!

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Adelie penguins!
Adelie penguins!

Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Our kiwi heritage on the ice
Our kiwi heritage on the ice

Annika Andresen- Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2016

Injy - Blog 1
Injy - Blog 1

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Atmosphere and Climate

Injy - Blog 2
Injy - Blog 2

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Atmosphere and Climate

Injy - Blog 3
Injy - Blog 3

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Atmosphere and Climate

Courtney - Blog 1
Courtney - Blog 1

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Fresh Water

Courtney - Blog 2
Courtney - Blog 2

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Fresh Water

Courtney - Blog 3
Courtney - Blog 3

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Fresh Water

Cheyenne - Blog 1
Cheyenne - Blog 1

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Marine

Kilali - Blog 2
Kilali - Blog 2

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Marine

Cheyenne - Blog 3
Cheyenne - Blog 3

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Marine

Kilali - Blog 4
Kilali - Blog 4

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Marine

Cheyenne - Blog 5
Cheyenne - Blog 5

Blake NIWA Ambassador - Marine

Juliet - Blog 1
Juliet - Blog 1

Blake DOC Ambassador - Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project

Juliet - Blog 2
Juliet - Blog 2

Blake DOC Ambassador - Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project

Juliet - Blog 3
Juliet - Blog 3

Blake DOC Ambassador - Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project

Sophie - Blog 1
Sophie - Blog 1

Blake DOC Ambassador - Motutapu Island

Sophie - Blog 2
Sophie - Blog 2

Blake DOC Ambassador - Motutapu Island

Sam - Blog 1
Sam - Blog 1

Blake DOC Ambassador - Motutapu Island

Sam - Blog 2
Sam - Blog 2

Blake DOC Ambassador - Motutapu Island

Bokyong - Blog 1
Bokyong - Blog 1

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Bokyong - Blog 2
Bokyong - Blog 2

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Bokyong - Blog 3
Bokyong - Blog 3

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Jemma - Blog 1
Jemma - Blog 1

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Jemma - Blog 2
Jemma - Blog 2

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Jemma - Blog 3
Jemma - Blog 3

Blake DOC Ambassador - Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Blake Ambassador Blogs