Sub Antarctic

There are five island groups but the main islands discussed were the Snares, Auckland Island, and Campbell Island. They disclose a fascinating tale of the outer reaches of Brits Empire in the early 19th cenutry when settlers sought to create largish imperial settlements that they brought over essentially in kit form. When their hopes languished they went back and took the disassembled buildings with them! The French, Germans, Māori and Pacifica have also made their distinctive mark.

Despite being ‘small dots’ on the wider maritime map the islands are dauntingly large for anyone landing there in whatever way. It was not unheard of for various sets of shipping calamity survivors to inhabit the various parts of, say, Auckland Island without other groups being aware of them and vice versa. So many castaways landed on the islands over the years the NZ government finally provided some minimal shelters and stores depots for them. The signposts to these still exist.

Tales of the various founderings (such as the gold-carrying General Grant that sank drifting into a cave in windless conditions) and the heroic recovery of survivors are legion. They rank almost with the practical derring-do of Shackleton when he got his men back from Elephant Island in 1912. The stories a and the pictures were so good an amazing number of the audience put up their hands to ask how you get there etc. The standard stay is around 8 days travelling at night in  a remote and gorgeous land where the sun only  goes down at 10 pm. Magic!

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