The winds were strong during the night as we set our course for Campbell Island. In the early morning, the captain guided our ship into a narrow bay. Protected from the winds, we made landfall on a cement ramp near a closed research station. An elderly New Zealand sea lion raised his enormous and sleepy head. After a few yawns, he returned to the dreams we woke him from.
Along a boardwalk covered in chicken-wire, we encountered some younger sea lions that took a more determined interest in us. Negotiations went well, and we reached a peaceful solution that allowed us to share the boardwalk.
Southern rata trees were in bloom, and their spray of red petals decorated the trail. Lichens clung to the tree trunks. Persistent winds groom this island, trimming the trees down to bush size. We ploughed ahead. Alongside the trail, the blossoms of a giant purple daisy had no trouble displaying their beauty. The reward for our breezy jaunt was a look at southern royal albatrosses. Sitting high on Campbell Island, the albatrosses stood and stretched their wings in the blustery blasts. Along the shore, red-billed gulls called to each other as we rode Zodiacs back to National Geographic Endurance.