Blake Ambassadors 2018/19

Millie Mannering
Millie Mannering

Blake Tara Ambassador 2018

Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson

Blake Tara Ambassador 2018

Harry Seagar
Harry Seagar

Blake Antarctic Ambassador 2018

Siobhan O'Connor
Siobhan O'Connor

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Lana Young
Lana Young

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Erin Greenwood
Erin Greenwood

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Holly Lane
Holly Lane

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Adam Currie
Adam Currie

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Emily Gordon
Emily Gordon

Blake NIWA Ambassador 2018

Skye Anderson
Skye Anderson

Blake DOC Ambassador 2018

Sarah Manktelow
Sarah Manktelow

Blake DOC Ambassador 2018

Anna Zam
Anna Zam

Blake DOC Ambassador 2018

Aidan Braid
Aidan Braid

Blake DOC Ambassador 2018

Pippa Halliday
Pippa Halliday

Blake DOC Ambassador 2018

Blake Ambassador 2018/19 Blogs

Welcome to Tara
Welcome to Tara

Walking past his portrait hanging outside is a very special feeling, a humbling reminder of our purpose on board and the incredible opportunity we have been given.

The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal

The sun had set and we were making our way up to the entrance of the canal through the calm cool evening with hazy skies in the distance in all directions.

We Are Away Sailing
We Are Away Sailing

We have now entered the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind the Panamanian jungle filled with howler monkeys, boa constrictors, panthers, jaguars and tiny, deadly snakes. As Tara was built to withstand Arctic exploration, I highly doubt motion sickness on the high seas was a prioritized consideration in the engineering of the ship – she lurches at the onset of any mild swell. While the crew didn’t flinch, some of us were not so lucky!

Lazy Dancing Whales
Lazy Dancing Whales

We had a special visit today as we were greeted by a small pod of pilot whales, lazily turning through Tara’s bow wave. They curiously played before a quick flick of their tails sent them sinking head first to disappear into the depths.

Chewing on Tuna
Chewing on Tuna

Today we caught a Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, the biggest fish I have seen in my life. I could barely lift it from the ground and it was incredible to see the engineering of such a powerfully fast animal.

A Hurricane on the Horizon
A Hurricane on the Horizon

Who is Florence? On a scale of 5, she’s a category 4 hurricane that’s crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

While We Wait
While We Wait

We reached the Bahamas in the early hours of the morning and took down the sails just off a small set of islands. After waking to see we were anchored, I grabbed a mask and explored the crystal clear, 20m deep water where Tara sat. Jellyfish floated past and a few curious Triggerfish, Canthidermis sufflamen, drifted up to see me, with two elongated dorsal and anal fins allowing it to peculiarly flap through the water.

Wake of a Hurricane
Wake of a Hurricane

​In the wake of Florence, we leave the safe crystal waters of the Bahamas and head up the coast of North America.

Humans of Tara
Humans of Tara

Meet the crew of the Tara expedition from Panama to New York.

The Ocean Vacuum Cleaner
The Ocean Vacuum Cleaner

As we sit writing this in the Tangaroa library the sway of the Southern Ocean perpetuates the feeling that this is all an incredible dream we are fast asleep within.

Fishy Fun Begins
Fishy Fun Begins

While the thought of working with fish all day might make some feel a little queasy, Erin and I felt right at home as soon as we were welcomed by the team at NIWA Northland Marine Research Centre. Located in the coastal township of Ruakaka, a 30-minute drive from sunny Whangarei, the Research Centre extracts water straight from the beach to supply its tanks to allow research to be conducted.

Atmospheric Monitoring
Atmospheric Monitoring

The average Kiwi would not be able to say much about the remote town of Lauder, which is a small stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail and around 35 km from Alexandra. However, in the atmospheric research community its coordinates are very well known, as it is host to one of the best-equipped atmospheric monitoring facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ozone Sonde Launch and the LIDAR
Ozone Sonde Launch and the LIDAR

Most atmospheric measurements are not so glamorous to the casual observer. Twiddle a couple of dials, the machine goes ping, then a NIWA scientist works their magic to process this into usable data for scientists around the world. However, ozone sondes and the LIDAR make pretty cool pictures.

Greta Point and Baring Head
Greta Point and Baring Head

I have spent the last week of my ambassadorship amongst NIWA’s Tropac group at the Greta Point facility in Wellington.

A Fierce Trapping Regime
A Fierce Trapping Regime

Each year, the Sir Peter Blake Trust awards scholarships to a group of young, aspiring scientists and conservationists, who are each paired up with a partnering organisation and given the opportunity to take part in various work programmes around New Zealand and internationally.

A Mossy Forest Rich in Birdsong
A Mossy Forest Rich in Birdsong

Dusky Sound itself is one of the largest in Fiordland, 40km in length and eight kilometres wide at its widest point. The coastline is unique and unspoiled, with dramatic, breath taking views of rugged coastlines, fiords and snow-capped mountains. The steep terrain is bursting with torrents of waterfalls in every crevice and the mist lies low amongst the valleys. Temperate rainforest covers mossy undergrowth and tannin stained streams pour into cool, clear sea water, alive with creatures.

The Contrast of Islands
The Contrast of Islands

The third day brings more rain and I have been assigned “dinghy duty”. This entails a dinghy with three people rebaiting coastal traps – a driver and two trappers are leapfrogged from one trap to the next along the coastline. Our task is to cover as much of Long Island, which lies between Resolution and the mainland, as we can.

Abundant With Birds
Abundant With Birds

I’ve begun to hate the sound of the generator starting up, which demands my consciousness early in the morning. On this day though, the fourth day, I’m practically leaping out of bed with anticipation. A helicopter has been scheduled – unfortunately on the first day, one of the dinghy’s outboard motor was damaged and a new one must be flown in.

Tackling Trap Lines
Tackling Trap Lines

Today we have decided to tackle all of the remaining trap lines near the five fingers peninsula. My trap line runs along the coastline of five fingers, and we have an early start to make sure we catch low tide. I continue to be shocked by the variation in the scenery. The beach I am dropped on is calm at this part nearest to the island, and at low tide it’s littered with shellfish and crayfish.

I Will Be Back Here to Volunteer Again
I Will Be Back Here to Volunteer Again

The last day brings with it torrential rain. Almost everyone is on dinghy duty as we finish the last coastal traps. I am soaked within ten minutes, but the waterfalls are astounding. Again, the sea life is on display and penguins are all over the rocks we are trapping.

Opportunities of a lifetime

This summer there will be 14 Blake Ambassador Awards in partnership with Tara Expeditions Foundation, Antarctica New Zealand, NIWA, and the Department of Conservation.

Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners