Along with plentiful seafood, glistening paua, kina shellfish and huge blue cod for which the Chatham Islands are renowned. Fanciful fishing stories abound, and Dave must be the only angler who never got a bite in an hour diligently spent trying on the Waitangi wharf, though a sinister shark-shaped shadow patrolling the harbour gave him a scare.
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Swimming and beach activities are not encouraged as the Chatham’s feature as a favourite patrol of Great White sharks, as well as other less deadly species. One of the first islanders we met was a young chap missing an arm, the result of an accident diving for crayfish.
The archipelago, ‘a land apart’, boasts an array of endemic birds and unique flora that have developed differently in the Chatham conditions, as well as New Zealand species that have been blown there 800 km offshore in the midst of the empty ocean.
But although rare and rescued from extinction, I doubt the black robin, mollymawk and magenta petrel of the Chathams compare to the wonders of wildlife that Sunil saw on his Subantarctic expedition.
So welcome back, the nomadic Nepalis flying the MNSMS flag. And keep up your exemplary energy and gusto now that you are home.