Main Street, Raoul Island: is a Navy photograph taken during the 1960's. The village contained storerooms, generator shed for electric power and electrical, plumbing and mechanical workshops. All were recently replaced by the building shown later in this issue.
CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION (INC.)
NEWSLETTER Vol 3 Number 3 DECEMBER 1976
Association Officers 1976 - 77
Air Vice-Marshall A. H. Marsh C.B.E.
|Tony Bromley||Paul Frost|
|Peter Goodman||M. Butterton|
|George Poppleton||H. Carter|
|Tom Taylor||Capt. J. F. Holm|
|Fred Knewstubb||I. Kerr|
|Noel Caine||C. Taylor|
|Bob McVinnie||H. W. Hill|
Peter (Pierre) Ingram
"The Islander" is the official quarterly bulletin of the Campbell-Raoul Islands' Association (Inc.) and is registered at the Post Office Head quarters, WELLINGTON, for transmission through the Postal Services as a magazine. All enquiries should be addressed to: The Secretary, CRIA (Inc.), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON. Contributions to the bulletin should be forwarded to the Editor, CRIA (inc), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON, and subscriptions to the Treasurer. Current membership rates are $5 per annum.
IN TOWN (BRIEFLY):
Dining out in the city recently was Ian Kerr with Fellow historian DR JOHN CUMPSTON. Dr Cumpston, now retired from the Department of External Affairs in Canberra and running his own printing business in the same city, authored "Macquarie Island" (Vol 2 No 9 page 201), a detailed history from the Hasselburgh discovery in l810 to Mawson's 1929-31 visit where New Zealanders Sir Robert Falla and Dr Ritchie Simmers get a mention. Originally he had hoped to include our sub-antarctic islands within "Macquarie's" covers, but the project became too massive. Returning through Wellington after a trip to the United States to study some 4000 historical whaling logs in the East Coast maritime museums, he was unaware of Ian Kerr's recent historical book on Campbell Island and was only too happy to uplift a copy for export.
First visit to our shores came during October for DR STEFAN CSORDAS when he arrived as the Victorian State (Australia) Health Service's representative to a symposium on tuberculosis. As a biologist with ANARE during the 1950's, Dr Csordas did extensive studies on the elephant seals and royal penguins of Macquarie Island. Hosted by George Poppleton while in Wellington, he had the opportunity to meet Sir Robert Falla again, whom he had not met since 1958. George's and Stefan's friendship grew during R/T links between Campbell and Macquarie Island in 1958/9 and visual evidence of his work will be seen by Association members in the New Year when his 35 minute documentary on Macquarie Island will be shown at a time still to be advertised.
The Committee wishes to extend to all Association members and readers of 'The Islander', their Seasonal Greetings and Best Wishes for 1977.
Editorial: 40 YEARS ON ….
In an attempt to substantially reduce expenditure on Raoul and Campbell Islands, the Cabinet Economic Committee has recently agreed to reduce the establishments on both stations - but only after installation and the satisfactory proving of certain satellite receiving and computer equipment for the Meteorological Service's National Weather Forecasting Center at Wellington.
It is the sort of statement we did not think we would see for perhaps another decade. Certainly the decision has been accelerated by the present economic plight of the country but, in the main, it appears that most of us were not up with the play and the enormous technological advances that continue to be made overseas.
Raoul Island is to feel the pinch first, reducing its staff to three members from April 1978. Servicings would become 6 monthly affairs, and with no upper air or farm programme to worry about, it would prove to be a comparatively simple operation. The irreplaceable surface weather observation would still play a part in the daily activities of the three "caretakers" who would, in many cases, be on secondment from other Government sectors carrying out their own departmental requirements.
Should data collection by satellite at Campbell Island's more southern latitude, prove satisfactory, then a staff reduction to five from April 1981 can be anticipated. Once again, surface observations would be retained. No decision on a servicing cycle has yet been made as there is certainly time enough.
Two new satellite systems have prompted the change. The first is the polar orbiting TIROS-N/NOAA series which will operate from an altitude of 830 kilometres and supersede the aging ITOS/NOAA family. The necessary vertical sounder on TIROS for meteorological purposes is capable of measuring infrared on 14 channels, retrieving temperature profiles to a one degree accuracy, seeking water vapour amounts at three levels and measuring total atmospheric ozone - all at a data rate of 2800 bits per second. Highest picture resolution will be one kilometre on both visible and infra red channels.
The second system involves an international linking of five geostationary satellites in equatorial positions at an altitude of 35000 kilometres, two which are of use to New Zealand. The Japanese GMS is located at 140 degrees East and satisfactorily scans New Zealand and the southern ocean. The full north to south sweep will take 25 minutes, providing 10000 visible and 2500 infra red channel scan lines with a resolution level of 1.25 and 5.0 kilometres respectively. The American SMS/GOES will be located 136 degrees West and will have similar specifications, but only partly fill New Zealand requirements.
If the planned dates of implementation of programme become reality, then both our island stations will have served some forty years of continuous service to the meteorologist. One almost suspects the Public Service Manual as having played some part in the retirement of the older upper air programme. But however motivated, such changes are surely characteristic of the times.
LOCAL GIRL GETS MENTION:
The almost banner headline, "Was this Woman a Princess," neatly attached to a well stacked girlie pinup photograph, was typically misleading. This device of British journalism in leading its readers into rather dull topics by medium of a lightly clad and beckoning female, was used again by the 'Weekend' magazine of December 24th, 1975. Seems they were referring to another lady, one of legend and heather, who had resided on Campbell Island, an island of "arid earth" which evidently "lies half-way between New Zealand and Australia.” Although their legendry "facts" were quite in order, the climatic and geographical dislocation of our sub-Antarctic islands by the British is not entirely new. On December 9th, 1865, the 'Times’ of London, referred to the Auckland Islands as ones of "desert" some "400 miles south of New Zealand." Perhaps those in the Northern Hemisphere commonly think that it becomes progressively warmer and sunnier the further South one travels.
IN THE WAKE OF JOHNNY WRAY:
pilgrimage under sail to the Kermadecs is almost a forgotten pastime. Today, most yachts sweep northwards, and programmed by larger sums of money, disappear over the horizon to the coconut islands. Their skippers regard a visual sighting of the Kermadecs as a compliment to their powers of navigation and Raoulian homebrew as a kinky product of the locals. They are quite happy to be on their way as soon as the novelty of the visit has worn off. However, the earthy love that yachtsman Wray and settler Bacon had for these northern islands has been known to transfer to others. No great wonder then to learn that Richard Lovegrove and skipper Dale Frankum left Port of Auckland on Friday 30th July this year with only one landfall in mind. The 31 foot lug-rigged Shantung made the 675 mile journey to Raoul in a respectable five days. Unfortunately Richard was not "detuned" like Wray, who served his yachting apprenticeship during the Depression and had no feeling regarding the passage of time. Limited by fast-ebbing Annual Leave, Richard and Dale had to depart after a 9 day stay. Return trip to Auckland took six days and the lines went ashore at 3pm on Thursday 19th August. The suitability of a lug-rigged mainsail and no other cloth for an oceanic passage must surely be proved by these times. Although the Shantung can utilise foresails from flying jib to masthead genoa, it seems the boys were happy to sit back in the solitary shade of this oriental masterpiece while their craft bore them onwards to the shrine of their inner happiness. Beats me that they weren't mistaken for a couple of Chinese gun-runners.
CAMPBELL ISLAND: The 1975-6 Scientific Expedition
In the latter part of 1974, the Director-General of Lands and Survey circulated a letter to interested departments advising them that a scientific expedition to Campbell Island was under consideration and participation was invited. In his letter, he stated:
"…. When Campbell Island was abandoned as a sheep station in 1931, the livestock were left behind. Between 1931 and 1961, the sheep population dwindled steadily from about 4000 to 1000 and were thought to be heading for extinction but when the island was revisited in 1969, their numbers were found to have increased again to about 3000. Because of the island's status as a natural area and the main breeding ground of the royal albatross, there were understandable misgivings about the possible effects of an expanding sheep population on the native fauna and flora. Yet, over the same 8 years that the sheep increased threefold, the albatrosses also increased from about 2,300 to 4,400 breeding pairs. To examine long term interactions between the sheep, the vegetation and the albatrosses, and simultaneously to secure a good part of the island's vegetation against damage by sheep the Department, acting on the advice of the Outlying Islands Reserve Committee, adopted a proposal to erect a fence across the narrow waist of the island and to kill off the sheep on only the northern half (The 'Islander,’ P54, Vol2, No3- Ed). This work was carried out in January 1970, by personnel from DSIR, the Wildlife Service and the Department of Lands and Survey. Photopoints and vegetation quadrats were established on both sides of the fence. "A twelve bunk extension to the Meteorological Station, is being constructed this year for the use of scientific parties and it is hoped to use this during the 1975-6 summer with a full scale scientific expedition with as its primary object the monitoring of the effects of the sheep removal …. "
The proposal contained a rather unique transport schedule which provided three different periods of residence:
Full term - Early November to late February.
First term - Early November to mid-December.
Second term - Mid-December to late February.
Also a short term (8 days) period was available during turn round of the RV Acheron first sailing. As we now know, the expedition was successfully mounted and carried out. The 72 foot Acheron providing the November and December sailings and the RNZN frigate Taranaki completing the exercise with the February repatriation. The participants were:
FIRST SAILING, 9th November 1975:
|Judd N.||Leader, Lands & Survey||Havelock||16.2.76|
|Russ R.||Wildlife Service||Wellington||19.12.75|
|Roberstson C.J.||Wildlife Service||Wellington||19.12.75|
|Crosby Dr T.K.||Entomology, DSIR||Auckland||19.12.75|
|May Mrs B.M.||Entomology, DSIR||Auckland||19.12.75|
|Wilson Dr P.R.||Ecology, DSIR||Lower Hutt||21.11.75|
|Meurk C.D.||Ecology, Uni Otago||Dunedin||16.2.76|
|Van Tets Dr G.F.||Wildlife, CSIRO||Australia||19.12.75|
|Hutton J.||Animal Health, A&G||Lincoln||19.12.75|
|Regnault W.R.||Wool Dept. Massey||Palm. North||19.12.75|
|Heath A.C.||Animal Research Centre||Wallaceville||19.12.75|
|Campbell I.||Soil Bureau, DSIR||Lower Hutt||21.11.75|
|Climo Dr F.M.||National Museum||Wellington||21.11.75|
|SECOND SAILING, 16th December 1975|
|Dilks P. J.||Ecology, DSIR||Lower Hutt||16.2.76|
|Onley D.||Ecology, DSIR||Lower Hutt||16.2.75|
|Roper C.||P.E.L. DSIR||Christchurch||16.2.76|
|Senior J.P.||P.E.L. DSIR||Christchurch||16.2.76|
|Beggs J.M.||Geology, Uni Otago||Dunedin||16.2.76|
|Morris P.A.||Geology, Uni Otago||Dunedin||16.2.76|
|Given Dr D.G.||Botany, DSIR||Christchurch||16.2.76|
|Johns P.M.||Zoology, Uni Canterbury||Christchurch||16.2.76|
Messrs Russ & Robertson: general Albatross studies, population sizes of black-browed and grey-headed Mollymawks, and Wandering Albatross. Behavioural patterns of the Mollymawks and Sooty Albatross. Numbers and taxonomic status of the Gaint Petrel. Faunal survey of Dent and offshore islets.
Dr Crosby & Mrs May: arthropod survey to see if it is possible to relate the arthropod fauna with different vegetation and soil types. Survey arthropod association with vertebrates.
Dr Wilson: brief visit to establish liaison with Messrs Hutton (pre-mortem clinical observations and sampling and post-mortem examination of island fauna, with emphasis on sheep, to define range of syndromes encounted), Heath (general pathology, micro-organisms and parasites in sheep) and Regnault (incident of weak back wool and over or under shot jaws).
C.D. Meurk: remapping 20 permanent quadrats both sides of fence line, botanical survey of an off-shore islet, productivity studies of certain grasses compared with those in certain areas of Otago.
Dr Van Tets: nesting ecology and behaviour of the endemic Campbell Island Shag as part of a long-term shag and cormorant comparative study.
I. Campbell: assessment of erosion problem - degree of stability, natural and sheep contribution and desirable management.
Dr Climo: taxonomy of small land snails (Punctidae), ecological notes on fauna assemblages and intertidal zone of the island.
Messrs Dilks & Onley: interactions between sheep, vegetation and albatrosses. Distribution and numbers of feral sheep and cattle and of albatrosses north and south of fence line. Monitoring changes in vegetation and erosion by photography. Observations on food habits of wild cats and skuas.
Messrs Roper & Senior: installation of ionosonde and micropulsation equipment (not part of the Expedition's research programme ).
Messrs Beggs & Morris: revision of 1907 geological mapping of the island with particular attention to the areas of metamorphic and sedimentary rock. This work will directly relate to modern concepts of island volcanism in relation to plate tectonics.
Dr Given: compositae of the island, ferns and conservation status of certain plant species in connection with the N.Z. Rare Plants Register.
P.M. Johns: comparative studies of the tipulid flies, carabid beetles and the intertidal zoology.
Although the reports will not be public until the second half of 1977, Norm Judd, leader and ranger from the Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park, had some interesting remarks:
"For accommodation, the new annex on the hostel was used. It consists of two 6 bed and one 2 bed bunkroom, a storeroom and two laboratories.
In the eight day period of the short term stay, Acheron provided 3 successful landings on Dent Island. A reasonable botanical survey was made ( and I noticed press reference at the time to sightings of the "flightless duck" or Campbell Island Teal- Ed).
55 sheep were corralled above the western cliffs on the fence line. Ten were selected for return to New Zealand and carried down to the hostel area. They were shipped out on the HMNZS Taranaki.
The second party with the TV team arrived on the 15th December, apparently after one of the worst crossings on record. The first term party and TV lads then departed for New Zealand on the 19th.
A brass pipe set in the ground, representing a magnetic station established in 1907, was found.
Coastgaurd icebreaker Glacier called in on Christmas Day and the Russian oceanographic research ship Dimitri Mendeleev arrived on the 16th January. This latter ship had a crew of 60 and also a scientific staff of 60. About 100 of them managed to go a shore and get their feet on swampy ground. The ship left late in the evening after entertaining the New Zealanders on board.
(The Editor wishes to thank Laurie Kenworthy of Lands & Survey and Norm Judd of the Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park for their help in compiling this article. )
Auckland Herald: 8 October 1976
HUNT FOR ISLAND GOATS
A goat hunting expedition will join the Navy's oceanographic research ship HMNZS Tui before she sails for Raoul Island tomorrow on what has become an almost annual programme aimed at exterminating goats on the island. A team of six hunters and their dogs, two seismologists and three weed-control experts from the Lands and Survey Department will spend about two months on the island.
Raoul Island experienced major earth tremors in January and has been racked by many small ones. A 10 man crew which has been on the island since last October will be relieved tomorrow by a party which has travelled to Raoul Island in the research launch Acheron.
The goat hunters and seismologists will be picked up by the frigate HMNZS Canterbury early in December. The Lands and Survey Department is trying to eradicate animals and noxious weeds from the island to promote the regeneration of native vegetation.
(With respect to weed-control, this mainly concerns the mysore thorn near the Bell homestead site in Denham Bay, although I guess the experts will be quite happy to put the heel into a bit of roadside broadleaf if they get the opportunity:
“A rehabilitation programme has been under way since 1972 on Raoul Island with annual expeditions making visits aimed at eradicating feral cats, goats, and weeds. With assistance from the Royal New Zealand Navy, a major area of mysore thorn (Caesalpinia decapetala) on Raoul was aerially sprayed with herbicide in 1975 as part of a controlled and very successful operation. In consequence it is expected that subsequent ground control of the weed over the next few years will ultimately result in its extermination on the island - " Section of L & S Annual Report, 1976.)
THE KERMADECS AT WAR
Some time ago we went fairly fully into the episode of the German raider Wolf under the command of Carl August Nerger operating in the Kermadecs from late April to mid June of 1917:
Vol 2 No 3 p 63: The Cruise of the Raider Wolf.
Vol 2 No 6 p 130: The Wairuna's Interrupted Voyage.
Vol 2 No 7 p 159: The Happenings at Sunday Island.
Vol 2 No 8 p 185: On the Rocks at Raoul.
Later that year, another raider captain, Count Felix von Luckner, came into the area with a vessel that was anything but a raider. Before you read the following reprint from the R.S.A. "Review" for May 12, 1976, we have mentioned von Luckner before (Vol 2, No 3, page 52) and reported him as having been taken into custody while ashore in the Fijis. "Review" states that he and the crew were taken prisoner by the steamer Amra at sea, a few days after von Luckner had destroyed the Seeadler when she foundered on a reef off Mopelia Island, 350 km west of Tahiti. I would think Murray Moorhead's account in "Review" would be more accurate:
"….Confined to the internment camp on Motuihi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, von Luckner and his men seemed immediately to have accepted their fate and became model prisoners. They accepted any work which was given them, whether it was digging drains, building water-races or doing general farm work. They got on well - even endeared themselves to their captors. But behind the smiling charm of the former Sea Wolf there ticked the brain of a fox. Count von Luckner had no intention of remaining a prisoner. From the very outset he and his crew had been preparing for escape. They skimped on their rations, leaving enough over to be taken to a secret spot near the beach where they had set up a cache. Over the weeks the food, water, clothing and numerous other useful items in the cache grew, until early in December the smiling von Luckner came up with a simple plan to increase the supplies dramatically.
From the authorities he sought permission to conduct a traditional German concert, along with a food treat in the German style at Christmas. He was so much "on side" with the New Zealanders, that not only was permission readily given, but he was even allowed to fill out his own requisitions for the necessary supplies. It was no problem at all for him to add a few extra items here and there, and by the evening of December 13 (1917), the Germans were well enough equipped to put their escape plan into action.
Before it was dark, von Luckner, Lieutenant Kirscheiss and nine German sailors broke out of their barracks, stole the camp commandant's launch, Pearl, and sailed quietly away from Motuihi without a soul seeing them go. When the news of the escape was released, it caused a sensation - even sheer panic in some quarters.
Just as New Zealanders had leapt patriotically to the flag when war had been declared, so they now became all fired up in the hunt for the Sea Wolf. Scores of small boats, some with Navy blessing, most without, took to the Hauraki Gulf in search of the Pearl. For time there was chaos as small boats challenged one another, and false alarms both at sea and along the coastal lands came thick and fast to bedevil the authorities. But there was no sign of the stolen launch. Why? Because the Sea Wolf had made yet one more capture.
Just off Auckland the Germans had boarded the timber scow Moa. With the captain, Willima Bourke , and his crew of five locked in the hold and with a home-made German flag flying, von Luckner now set sail for the Kermadecs. News of the capture soon became known to the authorities and the excitement in the Gulf took a new turn as every scow in the area became the Moa to every boatman amateur or professional. At least four scows finally made port for their crew to tell hair-raising tales of having been challenged by naval vessels and having had shots fired across their bows.
Among the polyglot fleet which was scouring the New Zealand waters was the British cable steamer Iris, mounting two six pounder guns. On the realisation that the Moa might be making for the Kermadecs, the Iris headed in that direction. The idea paid off.
On Sunday, December 21st, the cable ship overhauled the scow, chasing her into a bay in the Kermadecs and brought her to a halt with a shot across the bows. The great saga of the Sea Wolf was over just as easily as that…."
The Moa was very much the coastal scow as a broadside view of her after capture shows. Forced to a hurried halt, she lies hove-to in one of three photographs illustrating the article, main lowered and gathered in roughly at one point and two flying jibs and a large gaff-rigged mizzen filling to moderate breeze. An island in the background appears to be one of the Herald Islets. So Moorhead's "bay in the Kermadecs" may well be in the Fishing Rock area - the same that sheltered Carl August Nerger only six months previously. A second photo shows the Moa under sail about 500 metres off the pursuing Iris's port bow.
In T.D. Taylor's book, "New Zealand's Naval Story" (Reeds, 1948), a photograph appears of three jolly sailormen outside the remains of a battered shipwreck depot. The Caption states: "Amokura visits the depot for shipwrecked mariners on Curtis Island as left by von Luckner after his escape from Auckland in the scow Moa."
I don't think von Luckner pulled the sides off the depot as the photo shows. This more likely to be weather damage over the years. But there is almost a comical aspect to a dozen hastily opened food and fuel cases in the foreground. That such haste was needed ashore when a coastal scow was the vehicle for escape, seems self defeating. It would have been interesting to have heard from von Luckner on this point when he lecture toured New Zealand in 1938.
Just to put the record straight - the front page caption for the photograph showing you and Ed at the old engine at Tucker (Vol 3, No 2, May '76). Its statistics are as follows:
10hp Ronaldson & Tippet, vertical diesel engine (Australian made) coupled to a DC generator of doubtful output which was used to charge a bank of equally doubtful batteries which consisted of 2 volt, 6 volt & 12 volt batteries which when coupled had an alleged output of 110 volts. These in turn fed through a highly unreliable and dangerous wiring circuit and supplied our 110 volt DC lighting circuit throughout the camp. It thumped away all day feeding the batteries and with judicious care during daylight hours, it would at night, manage to illuminate our evenings enough to eat and read by.
When the camp was abandoned by mid-1957, it lay in its shed in a state of rusting stupor until 1959, when some unknown character in New Zealand realised they had a hunk of scrap iron of no mean value and decided it should be returned to the land of issue. However, I had other ideas as the bloody thing weighed about 6 cwt and the state of the bridge west of the Grotto would not have taken the strain. Also the matting track from Tucker was in pretty perilous shape, so I could not agree with the unknown gent. Then the windings on the generator were covered with verdigris and the lacquer on the armature was pretty well broken down with the pole pieces and coils a solid mass of rust.
One of our crew and myself did a safari one afternoon and after weighing the pros and cons, decided the amount of manpower and gear needed to get it to Tucker jetty far outweighed its scrap value and decided the old girl should retire gracefully. So we drained the oil out of her, wound her up and retired up the side of Beeman to a safe distance. It took the old girl some 15 minutes to seize up, by which time she was nearly white hot.
I dutifully reported to CAA that the motor had seized solid and that it wasn't worth shifting; from memory we raised our glasses that night to the old girl's passing and a Herculean task averted. Now I note that it became the perch for a couple of carrion crows like you and Mr Ed.
Incidentally, the ionosphere equipment was powered by a Briggs and Stratton motor driven generator and its own efficient battery bank supplied by Geophysics in general and Arnold Stanbury in particular.
I doubt if CAA would care to lay charges after seventeen years, so you can use this anecdote and my name if you wish to fill a corner sometime. In haste, George P.
Back to the Boats - Another Look at 60 South
Bob Lamb of Dunedin writes in with this interesting account of his times at sea for the N.Z. Met Service (Vol 3, No 2, page 44):
" …It's now approaching twelve years since I was seconded to the Royal New Zealand Navy for "Ocean Picket Duty" and memory of events is a little hazy. The lasting impression derived from the experience is one of great enjoyment of the two voyages I undertook, and a sense of regret that Pukaki was the last New Zealand ship to operate in this capacity. This was the 1964-5 Deepfreeze Season.
I was involved with the RNZN from 7th September to 26th November 1964. The Navy provided HMNZS Pukaki for this operation - captained by Commander Gordon Rhodes. No other NZ Met personnel were involved in active roles. I conducted a training course (mainly radio-sonde/radar) in Auckland City Office and Whenuapai for one officer (Lt Millar - Dave Millar's son) and eight rating commencing September 7th and ending September 24th, 1964. We sailed from Auckland on September 29th and berthed in Lyttleton on October 2nd. American technicians installed the radio-sonde receiver/recorder whilst in Lyttelton, and on October 7th, we sailed for station (60S and 159E) via Campbell Island. From my notes, we arrived at Campbell about 1400 hours on 9th October and sailed again at 1630 hours.
The next event was a rendezvous with USS Mills (the American picket ship) at about 59S on 12th October. The Americans were anxious to return to the flesh pots of Dunedin leaving us to the barren wastes of the Southern Ocean. On the voyage South, icebergs were first sighted at latitude 56 degrees 30 minutes South, and a large field of 'bergs (about 40 in number) was observed at 58S.
We remained on station from 13th to 24th October. The highlight of the voyage back to New Zealand was a visit to the Auckland Islands on 26th October 1964. We sailed close in-shore, up the East coast with the echo-sounder giving continuous depth readings. There was a moment of great excitement when the sea-bed rose very rapidly and very nearly met the ship. Full astern and a hard turn to starboard avoided disaster, and then a more cautious approach was made to this uncharted obstacle. It turned out to be one of the "unusual pinnacles" common to this area (basalt intrusion, perhaps? - Ed) and after fixing its position we resumed the voyage north, arriving at Dunedin on 27th October.
For my second voyage, we departed Dunedin on 7th November, arriving at Campbell Island at 0600 hours on 9th November. I think Ed de Ste Croix was OIC Met on this occasion and in spite of the early hour, we enjoyed the traditional Campbell Island hospitality. We reluctantly resumed our voyage South at 1000 hours warmed by the friendly ‘spirit' of the islanders. We remained on station from 10 to 24th November, arriving back in Dunedin on 26th November 1964.
The actual weather experienced whilst on station during my two voyages was not as rough as expected. From my reports, the strongest average wind speed was 40 knots with waves up to 15 feet. The lowest temperature was about minus 6 degrees C. Snow and freezing fog were fairly common making the decks and companionways rather treacherous with ice.
Accommodation on board Pukaki was excellent and I enjoyed wardroom privileges. The meteorological programme occupied most of my time with two radio-sonde/radar flights daily, using helium filled balloons. Spare moments were enlivened with the favourite Navy game of Ludo (ukkers?), bottled wardroom comforts and nightly film shows.
To the best of my knowledge, the previous season's (1963-4) ships involved were Rotoiti and Pukaki. Eric Clague, now at Auckland Airport, was the met officer seconded to the RNZN at that time.
Regards, Bob Lamb."
Thankyou Bob. I came across the Pukaki and Rotoiti files the other day and below appears some met data compiled by Eric and you. Looks as though Eric may have had it a little rougher- Ed.)
Life at 60 Degrees South
|15 days||17 days||11 days||13 days|
|Waves >20'||8 days||10 days||Nil days||Nil days|
Ed de Ste Croix and myself witnessed both those early summers from Campbell Island. The first was typically Campbellian and surface map analyses for the 44 day period recorded the passage of 23 frontal systems through the ship's latitude. The strong westerlies on station were maintained by very stable high pressure areas persisting along 40 degrees South. A brief reprieve came in early November when a trough in the New Zealand region reduced the pressure gradient at 60 South - then it was back to the howling westerlies again.
But Bob, lucky fellow (and his mates on Campbell Island), worked through a period of exceptionally fine weather in their year, brought to the higher latitudes by continual ridging of anticyclones located further south than normal. In fact, in the 40 day period, only 9 halfhearted fronts meandered through the station at 60 South.
However, notice the number of days of sea fog Bob had - a continuing case of mixing warm, moist air from the North with much colder sea surface conditions than Eric experienced. It is interesting to note Bob's sightings of icebergs, which were probably migrating further northwards than usual with the outbreak of the colder water.
Who's out on the Islands for 1976/77
|Dennis Hawthorne||Met Obs||Hamilton|
|Peter King||Tele Tech||Christchurch|
|Craig Moore||Met Obs||Dunedin|
|Mike Nicholas||Sen Met||Christchurch|
|Keith Rodgers||Met Obs||Wellington|
|and Campbell Island|
|David Alton||Sen Met||Lower Hutt|
|Ray Brown||Tele Tech||Christchurch|
|Mark Crompton||Summer Met||Christchurch|
|Wayne Kelliher||Met Obs||Paraparaumu|
|Paul Mooney||Ion Tech||Hamilton|
|Martin Murphy||Met Obs||Tauranga|
|Keith Pagel||Met Obs||Dunedin|
|Peter Turner||Ion Obs||Tauranga|
Spot of Bookwork:
ISLANDS OF DESPAIR
By Allan W. Eden
Andrew Melrose (London) 1955
The despair was all over when author Eden went as a member of the Cape Expedition to the Auckland Islands at the end of 1943. He was, of course, referring to the gloomy and tragic past which commences with an unidentified shipwreck in 1833, passes through many more, witnesses the agonies of the Enderby settlement and exits with the 1907 wreck of the Dundonald. Once the human element was finally removed, the islands became ones of hope for the many creatures that had always lived there.
Eden's book is pleasant reading. He had the advantage of living in and travelling the length of the Auckland Islands as a surveyor seconded from the Air Force. His travels merge with the relating of historical events as he passes through the various locations. And it is easy for the ex-Campbellian to see and smell the various features common to the Auckland Islands and her more southern cousin. Only the rata and bellbird seem foreign.
I would have liked more base-camp description and illustration. It would have been at no extra cost to the publisher to present plan diagrams of the camps at Port Ross and Carnley Harbour, a simple task for a surveyor's nimble hand. I think readers of this type of adventure always want a clear picture of the author's domestic surrounds, as these are always unique and very much part of the adventure.
Most of his historic research sources can be recognised, but he blends them into his own contemporary detail in a most readable fashion. I was hoping for a clue as to where the town of Hardwicke went (Vol 1, No 11, page5) but he takes you as far as McLaren did and that's an end to it.
The book is a good contribution towards recording the history and description of the area. The final two chapters are disappointing and should have been presented in appendix form. They deal with the other sub-antarctic islands - ones he has not seen or been resident on. But he was on Campbell Island for a short spell, and, horrors ……
"Some time during the afternoon Campbell Island slipped out of sight astern. I was not sorry to see the last of it, as for me it had merely been an interlude in the main programme of work. I would not recommend Campbell Island to anyone - it is too small and too dreary.”
My copy was borrowed from the Defence Library and this statement which terminates chapter two was heavily underlined in pencil. Was it some loyalist's irate reaction, or some future expedition member making a decision?
VOLCANIC ACTIVITY ON RAOUL ISLAND - Part 1
We did promise (a long time ago) within our pages, to record the known and observed volcanic activity which has occurred on Raoul Island. The subject will be in two parts. In this issue we have A.T. Edgar's account of the spectacular eruption during November 1964. It was first published in the Ornithological Society’s bulletin "Notornis", volume 12, number 1, and we gratefully acknowledge the Society's permission to let us reprint the greater part of the description here.
Then we have a great pile of notes and jottings, mainly brought together by Richard Lovegrove, and these will form the basis of our second installment in the next "Islander". Richard also borrowed Don Merton’s well-known eruption photograph and the one taken at altitude by the RNZAF on the 7th July, 1969, which serves to pinpoint the exact location of the '64 "blow". Both pictures appear in this issue.
I have always felt sympathically towards the O.S.N.Z.'s aborted mission to Raoul Island. Originally they were going for ten weeks to gain a complete coverage of their subject on Raoul and the Herald Islets. They got about two days in the end before the team was evacuated by the HMNZS Lachlan, but let A.T. Edgar describe it: ....
"On l0th Novernber 1964 a swarm of earthquakes began, and for four or five days severe shocks were felt. On 12th November when Holmburn was off Raoul steam was issuing occasionally from the beach at Denhan Bay, dust was rising at places where landslips had occurred, and the water for a mile out from shore appeared to be lighter in colour than usual. There was a landslip at Hutcheson Bluff, some slips occurred on the cliffs on the north of the island, and cracks opened up in the ground at a few places on the farm. One shake opened up cracks in the concrete floor of the cowshed. We were told that this series of felt earthquakes put the cows off milking and the hens off laying. On 19th November, Ted Lloyd noticed a patch of discoloured water in Denham Bay and when this was investigated by boat on 20th November, the discoloration was still apparent and some pumice fragments were floating on the water. It was thought that there may have been a discharge of gas and perhaps hot water through the seabed. The discoloured patch was still visible on the morning of 21st November after the eruption, but had apparently disappeared by the afternoon of that day.
When Bill Crafar ( '64/65 handyman – Ed ) knew Green Lake in 1962, the water was cold and bright green in colour and only one small hot spring was then known. On 19th November when he saw it with Ted Lloyd the lake level was estimated at about 20 feet above normal, the water was turbid, new hot springs had broken out, grasses and vegetation were browned on some small areas of warm ground and for a 10 foot radius around two new muddy hot springs on the lake shore, vegetation was mud spattered and dying. Gas was bubbling up from a great numher of points within 200 feet of the shore and this gave the impression that the water was boiling. There was an odour of cooking vegetation.
The next day a raft was constructed from a tractor tube, two 4 gallon drums and saplings lashed together. On this odd craft Lt. Commander J.L. Harrison, RNZVR, embarked to take soundings on the lake. The craft proved difficult to maneuver and the operation was less successful than had been hoped, but the captain of this improvised ship can dine out for years on the story of his sail on a lake which erupted only some 20 hours later. Several new hot springs had appeared and in one of them the temperature was 103.8 C. Lake temperatures had not varied much since the previous day (average 30 C, hot spots up to about 52 C), gas bubbles were still rising, and the area of warm ground (up to 70 C at l0cm depth) appeared to have increased. Green Lake had risen overnight at the rate of half an inch per hour. Blue Lake, which provides the main water supply for the station and farm, is normally about 15 feet maximum depth and was lower than usual. No hydrothermal activity was noted in this lake and the water temperature was 23.5C.
Ted Lloyd left in Lachlan later in the afternoon of 20th November, leaving instructions that he was to be kept in touch with the results of routine observations of temperatures, lake level, etc. It was expected that initial stages of expected future activity would take the form of geyser-like eruptions. We arranged to detail one member of our party each day from 22nd November to accompany the station officer who would be making the routine inspection, the object of this arrangement being to assist Clive Phillips by reducing demand on his limited personnel for this extra duty.
At 0558 hours on 21st November, I was sitting at my table drawing lines on maps when there was the loud rumbling sound of a big landslide; the noise seemed to change to a sharper rending sound and as I looked out of the window a great cloud of steam appeared over the hill.
Don Merton, one of the mess orderlies for the day, was about his task in the camp and had the same view of the start of the eruption. Between us we alerted the remainder of both parties and in a matter of seconds everyone was outside, most of us with cameras. The volume of cloud increased rapidly till it seemed to fill half the sky and another roaring noise heralded the appearance of a great column of black mud which shot up to 2500-3000 feet in the centre of the cloud, with rocks flying out of the column and falling back into the crater. It was an awesome but impressive sight. The early morning sunlight lit up the outer rounded edges of the mounting, spreading steam cloud and glinted on the surface of solid objects ejected from the pillar of mud. We had plenty of time to observe. The first volume of the eruption lasted only a few minutes but for about half an hour, black material continued to erupt to lesser heights, and steam clouds billowed up from the crater. Some excellent photographs were obtained. Our sympathy goes out to the poor fellow who used up nearly a whole film on what would have been a magnificent series of pictures and then discovered that in his haste he had omitted to remove the cover from his lens. We were in no danger during the eruption, the centre of which was roughly a mile from the camp over the crater rim. The wind was blowing the ash away from us towards the southeast. We felt anxiety about Chris and Owen at Denham Bay. Otherwise there was no feeling of alarm, but I think all of us felt uneasy about what might happen next, or what might be the consequences of this unexpected hazard.
Clive Phillips could not contact Lachlan direct but got through to the Navy Office and Civil Aviation and reported events. Navy Office later contacted Lachlan which had then just left the vicinity of Curtis Island and was instructed to return to Raoul. Direct radio communication with Lachlan was made about 1100 hours and Clive spoke to Ted Lloyd. A few people had a look at the crater area from the road shortly after the eruption subsided, but later in the morning we were confined to the camp and station area to await arrival of Lachlan.
Emergency restrictions were placed on the use of water as it was thought that the Blue Lake supply would have been contaminated. The station boat, which was in the shed at camp, was made ready for emergency evacuation if necessary. Our boat was at North Beach and we organised a party to take down a supply of water, food and fuel. This party was being detailed on the "You and you" basis and it so happened that David Dawson, one of whose expedition responsibilities was study of the exotic birds, happened to be handy at the time and was detailed. He begged to be excused, indicating that the job could be equally well done by someone working on terns or petrels - he himself was very busy busy investigating starling nests. This example of scientific detachment from mundane disturbances did David much credit, and gave me the first good laugh I had since the eruption cast its cloud of doubt and foreboding.
Chris and Owen were still as far as we knew at Denham Bay. We expected that they would be fully aware of what had happened in the crater and that they would make their way back to camp. If they had not arrived we were going to send a party to find them. There were some doubts as to whether the normal track would be passable as it ran fairly close to the eruption area. We had just organised a party with radio sets to go and bring them in via the longer but supposedly more usable 'mutton bird' track when a signal from Lachlan instructed us to stay in camp, as the ship would look for them at Denham Bay and embark them there. This we had to do but the enforced inaction was not pleasant. We had been scanning the sky at intervals after the eruption to see if any abnormal number of Sooty Terns flying over the hills might indicate that the colony had been disturbed by what had happened, but saw nothing unusual. At about 1400 hours, the two men walked into camp, to our great relief. Screened from events by the near-perpendicular wall of cliff, they had known nothing of the eruption. They had noticed that there was much more cloud than usual but it was not till they walked along to the eastern end of the bay and found that they were under a light rain of grey mud that they realised something was amiss, and came home to camp via the normal track which though covered with a grey layer of ash was still quite passable.
About noon Lachlan had radioed to the effect that our party was requested to spend the night on board, as precautionary measure. The ship was due off Fishing Rock at about 1500 hours. We had little option but planned to delay our move till about 1700 hours by which time Ted Lloyd would have had a chance to assess the situation. His findings would affect the degree of packing which would be desirable - if we were only going aboard for the night, there was no point in packing all our gear. However, at 1445 hours, Clive explained that we must be ready to move in half an hour when the truck left camp to collect Ted from Fishing Rock, as there would be no guarantee that a vehicle would be available to transport us after that trip. Though all of us were in and around the camp area it took a little time to collect the party and only night gear and valuable articles were taken aboard by the eleven who left camp at 1515 hours. Fred Kinsky and I stayed ashore for a few hours, intending to sleep in camp, but later learnt that station personnel were also to go aboard Lachlan for the night as Ted Lloyd's report was unfavourable. We eventually embarked in the dark with the station party, which had much work to do. The wind was stronger and swell had increased. When all others had been loaded by basket Clive and Bill Crafar made fast the derrick and swam out to the launch.
Ted Lloyd had found that the level of Green Lake had risen by about 50 feet. Two small islands had appeared in the northern arm of the lake the water being dirty brown with vapour swirling over its surface and there was water discharging into Blue Lake. The main seat of the eruption had left a chasm-like pit extending south of west from the western shore of the northern arm of the lake, and open towards the lake. Steam was rising from a second eruption centre in the lake and vapour was rising from three other locations. East-north-east of the main eruption centre and extending to Blue Lake an area of pohutukawa forest had been devastated. In the centre of this the trees had been felled as if by blast, and over the whole affected area there was a thick layer of grey dust, mud and rock. Vapour was rising amongst the bush along the eastern shore of Blue Lake.
Mr J. Healy, Principal Scientific Officer of the NZ Geological Survey, flew from Rotorua to Auckland and thence to Raoul in an RNZAF Bristol Freighter. The plane was over Raoul about 1745 hours and Mr Healy made an aerial inspection of the crater area. By that time clouds formed a ceiling over most of the island at about 800 feet, the top of the cloud bank being about 2500 to 3000 feet above sea level. Mr Healy was in radio communication with Ted Lloyd on shore. His inspection continued until light failed and the plane departed to return to Whenuapai.
On 22nd November the wind was northerly and the Fishing Rock landing could not be safely used. Lachlan proceeded to Boat Cove where Ted Lloyd and the Met Party were loaded. Commander Doole was not prepared to permit an OSNZ party to land until he had a report on conditions from Ted Lloyd, so we stayed on board, we were concerned lest a decision might be made in Wellington to evacuate our party but leave the station party on Raoul. Commander Doole was aware of our concern and kindly permitted the following signal to be sent to Civil Aviation, Wildlife Branch, Dr Falla and Denis McGrath: "Please advise all ministries and departments concerned that OSNZ party unanimously desire continue work on Raoul so long as circumstances do not require general evacuation.”
The enforced landing at Boat Cove had delayed the start of the day's inspection. It involved a steep climb to the top of the cliff above Boat Cove, and a walk to the top of the Fishing Rock flying fox where the station vehicles had been left the night before. Lachlan left Boat Cove after the party had been landed and lay off-shore from Fishing Rock to await radio report from the shore party. Ted found that activity in the Green Lake eruption area was much the same as on the previous day but that five extra steam vents had opened west of Green Lake towards Tui Lake. While he and his party were in the area there geyser like eruptions from one of the locations which the day before had been emitting steam. One of these threw black material and rocks 500 feet into the air. Thermal activity was increasing at Blue Lake. The lake level was rising at the rate of about one inch per hour, and the water temperature had risen by 5.5C. The seismograph record showed that shocks were still being registered at more than 100 per day. The indications were that eruption might be expected in Blue Lake.
We had hoped to get ashore in the afternoon and be back by 1800 hours, but Commander Doole, while fully appreciating the urgency of our request, decided against it. Lachlan had to lie off Fishing Rock till 1530 hours and intended to pick up the shore party at Boat Cove at 1600 hours. There would not be time for us to get to camp, collect belongings and get back to Boat Cove where the flying fox was apparently not usable and everything would have to be carried down the steep goat track. Ted reported to Mr Healy by radio telephone at 1600 hours. Mr Healy considered that as Lachlan had to leave in approximately 24 hours, the risk of leaving the party could not be undertaken. He therefore recommended evacuation of the island. Civil Aviation accepted the recommendation and instructions were issued that final operations prior to evacuation would be carried out on the morning of 23rd November, after which Lachlan would embark all personnel and sail for Auckland.
All were aboard by late afternoon (23rd) and shortly afterwards Lachlan sailed. A thermal cloud hung low over the island and blanketed all but the lower slopes and the cliffs. We had two rather dismal days (morning of the 21st to afternoon of the 23rd- Ed), but they had not been entirely wasted. Our shore party had recovered more gear than had at one time been thought possible, There had been time and opportunity for long-range observation of the Herald Islets as Lachlan sailed from Fishing Rock and from its night anchorage to Boat Cove. Those of us who had not seen Denham Bay from the land had an opportunity to lock at it from the sea and we had got on with the collection of information from member's notebooks, David Dawson doing land birds and I the others species. All these notes when collected were handed to Fred Kinsky who also organised the collection of information for compilation of the sea bird log for the return voyage.”
A.T. Edgar, Secretary, OSNZ.
FOOTNOTE: - by Richard Lovegrove.
On 6th December, just 13 days after the evacuation, Lachlan returned to Raoul with the 9 member 1964/5 MOT team (the OSNZ expedition had to wait until 1967). In addition, there was a party of ten from the D.S.I.R. led by Mr J. Healy. The island's seismograph was restarted immediately and three temporary seismometers were installed at the farm, Fishing Rock and Boat Cove. Lachlan detonated explosive charges off Raoul in an effort to determine wave velocity. This assisted in determining earthquake centres. Thirty-two of the most clearly recorded earthquakes could be shown almost without exception to have originated to the west and southwest of the crater, beneath the sea in the Denham Bay area.
The temporary seismometers were dismantled, the island was declared "safe" for inhabitation and the scientists departed on Lachlan on 12 December. As the party left the island, bubbles and small pieces of pumice were seen rising near the middle of Denham Bay. The meteorological staff have continued to operate the Raoul seismograph, but no renewal of local activity has since been recorded.
Dr Robin Adams and Mr R. Dibble concluded their 1966 report -
"The Raoul eruption followed the not unusual pattern of occurring when the associated earthquake activity was on the wane after an extremely sudden rise. There was some increase in the amount of tremor on the seismograph records before the swarm, and the occurrence of long bursts of tremor during the early part of the swarm might have been taken as an indication of impending volcanic activity. The earthquakes preceding the eruption were at distances of 4 to 8 km from the Raoul seismograph, but their exact location is not known. Two to three weeks after the eruption the earthquakes were to the west and southwest of the active crater, at depths of less than 8 km.
In view of the past history of volcanism in Denham Bay, the disturbances observed there during this eruption, and the location of the post eruption earthquakes, it could well be that the heat source responsible for the 1964 eruption was located beneath this area.
The earthquake swarm and volcanic tremor were different from anything that had been recorded on the island since 1957 (year of installation of the seismograph on Raoul) and in the light of knowledge gained from these events, the Raoul seismograms are watched carefully in an effort to be forewarned of any future outbursts of volcanism."
The members of the 1963/4 MOT expedition who were present for the initial earthquake swarm and those of the 1964/5 MOT expedition who experienced the subsequent activity and the eruption were:
|Owen Todd||Leader||Clive Phillips|
|Ian Johnson||Technician||Dave Thorp|
|Trevor Ross||Farmer||Warwick Orchiston|
|Campbell Harkness||Mechanic||Fred Buitenkamp|
|Don Pallot||Cook||Clive Jensen|
|Richard Lovegrove||Handyman||Bill Crafar|
|Dave Leslie||Senior Met||Brian Phipps|
|Allan Wood||Met Observer||Vince Sussmilch|
|Gary Henderson||Met Observer||Gary Little|
WHAT'S THE LATEST ?
We have been saving a page for news from the current expedition lads since we first got the typewriter out, but there has not been a whisper from across the seas. As page 71 loomed, I got onto the blower to Ian Bell, our SCR&C down at Aurora House. “Well, there is no news, I guess," said a happy Ian. "Everything is going so smoothly and according to plan, that it is one of those cases where no news is good news." I had to agree that was great, but it wasn't filling any pages for me. So he had a poke around and came up with the following points:
Frigate Canterbury left on the 24th November with Bill Craig (Met HO admin officer) and John Falconer (Met HO inspector) and Martin Cook (DCA technician) for the sunny Kermadecs. Bill and John were up to routine tasks of inspection, but it seems Martin had a SSB transceiver in his luggage to try out a few comnunication checks with Wellington from 29S. And it worked beautifully - crystal clear R/T on a regular basis for the first time in the Department's history on Raoul Island. The rig was a ten channel Codan, type 6801, capable of pushing a 100 watts peak envelope power on single side band (equivalent to 400 watts AM transmission). Power pack and transceiver occupies a 18" x 18" x 12" space and the whole unit costs a mere $900. One of the standard aerials in the "farm" was used for all transmissions. From the Wellington end, little difference in signal strength was noted on Raoul between transmissions from a whip aerial on top of the meteorological office and a horizontal dipole slung over to the geophysics building. Apart from low purchase price, no installation cost and reliable transmission and reception, comes the applebox portability characteristic necessary when the station establishment is reduced (see this Editorial) and telecommunication equipment has to be periodically serviced back in New Zealand.
Then there was the elated Swampy Crompton coming through on the R/T from Campbell Island late on Tuesday night (7th Dec). In company with David Alton, Keith Pagel and Paul Mooney, he had scaled Campbell's 15 peaks (Beeman, Mt Honey, Puiseux Peak, Eboule Peak, Filhol Peak, Mt Dumas, Mt Paris, Yvon Villarceau Peak, Menhir, St Col Peak, Mt Fizeau, Mt Azimuth, Mt Faye, Mt Lyall and Moubray Hill in that order - see map on page 72 ) in 30 hours and 6 minutes. All the action was nonstop with the party being refueled at Northwest Bay with hot food brought overland by leader Noel Winterburn. The round trip is estimated to be in the vicinity of 50 miles and the number of trips one has in the tussock is indirectly proportional to the length of the competitor's legs.
While I was looking at Campbell's weather on the map for Swampy's circumnavigation (NW 20-30 knots, l0C, low overcast and the usual), I noted RV Acheron bleeping in from the Auckland Islands, Reporting on a 6 hourly basis from 0600 hours Sunday 5th December off Nuggets, I noted she furnished a report as full and as sophisticated as the code will permit. Seems Alex is down there for a fortnight with a TV crew filming a documentary on castaways - with special reference to the General Grant of course.
Christmas Eve sees the sailing of icebreaker Burton Island for Campbell Island and beyond. With it goes the Codan SSB transceiver to see how things work out on the Campbell - Wellington link. Tele-tech Ray Brown will run the checks from Campbell as Martin Cook wasn't as keen on the single ticket. Also on Burton Island travels ecologist P.J. Dilks from DSIR who worked with D. Onley just a year ago on the interactions between the feral sheep, vegetation and the albatrosses. He returns to New Zealand during February 1977 on the North Wind with summer met lads Swampy Crompton and Wayne Kelliher.