a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
I have visited the Snares in 2010 and 2011, working as a biologist guide, lecturer and zodiac driver, as part of the expedition team on board Orion. It remains one of my favourite wildlife experiences.
New Zealand is already an amazing country, with fantastic scenery and some fascinating animals and beautiful plants. But the best part of the country is little visited and hard to get to - the Subantarctic Islands. These are a chain of remote islands that stretch from the end of the South Island well into the Southern Ocean. They are full of wildlife such as seals and penguins. Some have huge colonies, and every island groups has a different set of species, and sometimes even their own endemics.
The Snares are the closest subantarctic islands to the New Zealand mainland. But they are still remote, and quite small. No landing is permitted, but great views of these steep rocky islands and the wildlife, both on the land and in the water, can be made from zodiacs. The most numerous birds here are the endemic Snares Island Penguin.
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? One of the first expeditions I am booked to work on is the NZ sub-Antarctics with Silversea Expeditions and Australia with Coral Expeditions. And here is a shortened version of one of my lectures in a warmer part of the world.