The Million Dollar Mouse confirmation team, including three detection dogs, heads off to Antipodes in hopes of finding a mouse-free island.
The monitoring team met at the Southern Island Quarantine Store, where our gear including personal gear, monitoring equipment and food, was quarantined by DOC staff.
The team comprises 7 staff monitoring for mice and species change, an archaeologist, 2 dog handlers and 3 rodent detecting dogs (Piri, Pipi and Tui). We departed from Dunedin at 6pm on Sunday 18th February on board the HMNZS Wellington, destination the Antipodes Island. The Minister for Conservation Hon Eugenie Sage and media joined us on board the vessel for the journey to the island. Life on board the Navy vessel included seabird watching, sunbathing on the helicopter deck and eating way too much delicious food.
After a surprisingly calm trip we arrived at Antipodes Island early on the morning of Tuesday 20th and prepared to go ashore. After squeezing into our immersion suits with difficulty, we traveled ashore via Navy Rib’s and Zodiac’s. Landing at Hut Cove we were welcomed by Kath Walker and Graeme Elliot (Albatross researchers) plus fur seals and moulting penguins. Using the derrick winch, we transported our gear up the 20m cliff from the cove to the hut. All the gear was quarantined for a second time in the hut, before being packed away. It was a privilege to share our first night on the island with Hon Eugenie Sage and her secretary Kayla Kingdon-Bebb. A tight crowd around the table to share some chocolate self-saucing pudding, what a way to end the first day.
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