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THE SUB-ANTARCTIC.

RETURN OF THE SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION. / ITS WORK IN THE SOUTHERN ISLANDS. ] [From Our Correspondent.] BLUFF, November 30. ' The first phase of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic expedition is concluded by the arrival at the Bluff this evening of the twenty-two scientists, together with their, able assistants, all in the best of health and as full of enthusiasm as when they set forth on their self-ap-pointed task. The second phase will be the publication of the results, which are undoubtedly of the highest scientific value. Leaving the Bluff at 8.30 on November 15 a pleasant sail over a calm sea brought the party to Port Pegasus in Stewart Island, where the fvarious members of the expedition enjoyed a preliminary canter, the geologists climbing to the summit of Mount Remarkable, the zoologists dredging in the inlet, Dr Farr and Mr Skey taking a magnetic observation, and the botanists making the acquaintance of the lowland bogs and rata forest. Five a.m. next day saw the scientists at work in earnest on the main island of the Snares group, of which very little was previously known scientifically. The weather was moderately fine and all made the most of the nine hours allotted them by Captain Bollons. Here the first acquaintance was made with the sea lions, whose aspect arid greeting did not encourage any undue familiarity. The penguin rookeries were a source of admiration and amazement. Excellent photographs were taken of these strange birds. Many specimens were secured of the lower animal and plant life, so^that the ship began to assume the character of a travelling museum. The early morning of November -16 saw the good ship Hinemoa steaming round Enderby Island, the most northerly of the Auckland group in rather thick and rainy weather, and entering the fine harbour of Port Ross. The vision of the Promised Land had brought many of the party early en deck and they were startled by seeing a flag flying half-mast from tiie depot at Port Ross. The morning was truly a sub-Antarctic one The high hills were veiled in mist and a keen wind pierced the warmest clothing. Before one was aware that a boat had been lowered Captain Bollons and a picked crew were on the way to the relief of the shipwrecked men, and a roar of Britisli cheers reached the sliip, and brought welcome news that cheers so hearty must have come from lusty men. Soon the boat returned, and we were grasping the hands and warmly welcoming the heroic souls whose tale is told in another column. Charles Eyre, an able-bodied seaman of the ill-fated vessel, remained on board the Hinemoa in order to go with, the Campbell -Island party as cook. A sail of an hour or two and Camley Harbour was reached, a piece of rata forest in, the neighbourhood of Camp Cove, being selected as the camping ground for the Auckland Island party of investigators. After landing the stores and wishing god speed to the Campbell Island section, together with three hearty cheers for Captain Bollons, the fourteen scientists set to work with a will, under the direction of Captain Dorrien Smith, to put up five bell tents and the large marquee, and to make, everything snug for the night. A rough shed, which had been built by tie castaways from the French ship Anjou, served as a kitchen, where for ten days Mr North cooked vast quantities of food for the party, whose appetites became as keen as the Subantarctic blasts. Close at hand, also, were the two huts provided for castaways, and these proved of great value as .storehouses for food and material. Besides the scientists proper, was Mr Field, from Wanganui, who made frequent excursions with the botanists and rendered them much valuable assistance. There also had been brought a strong whaleboat, manned by a picked crew of Maoris from the Bluff; with Jack Tauke as head man. Without- 6uch a craft, work would have been impossible, and by its means, notwithstanding the almost constant gales and frequent showers, no day was wasted, and access was gained to the most promising spots for scientific investigation. The especially active members of the party were the geologists and botanists, and various peaks of the mainland and Adams Island , were scaled, sometimes in storms of snow and usually of wind and rain. Such excursions required great endurance, since the country is most difficult, owing to the dense shrubbery growths which occur above the forest line, to the boggy nature of the ground and to its great irregularities. So dense is the shrub called Suttonia that progress can be made only by rolling right over it, or occasionally crawling underneath. Mr Collyns, an assistant to Mr Speight, weighted by a 401 b load of stones and assisted by gravity, was wont to burst through this obstacle. Both the Auckland and Campbell Island camps were presided over by a council or three elected at an early stage of the expedition by the members. The Auckland Council consisted of Professor Benham and Doctors Farr and Cockayne; that of Campbell Island of Professor Kirk, Dr Marshall and Mr Laing. The Campbell Island scientists pitched their tents near the shore of Perseverance Harbour on November 17, under th© lea of a belt of scrub, but unfortunately within two hours the prevailing wind of the island took a rest, and terrific squalls from the opposite quarter turned camp and members virtually inside out. For the whole of their stay no cheerful campfire could be lighted, as trees are want-

ing, and so the camp was forced to keep very early hours for the sake of warmth. Nor was the time a picnic by any means, unless that term be used sarcastically, since in addition to an uncomfortable ©amp, and difficult country to travel, and constant 6torm, the water was so bad that the tea was of a curious mud colour and quite undrinkable, cocoa being used instead, and this chiefly because it gave a more wholesome colour to the concoction. As for the travelling on Campbell Island Professor Kirk remarked that had he five pounds for every time he fell into a hole on one memorable day he would at once retire. The Campbell scientists used no flying camps, as the distances were never too greai/ to get back on the evening of the long days, -but the Auckland Island Sarty was usually split up. On one ccasion a party of botanists and geologists were running short of food, and were planning an attack on the sea, lions, just as a relief boat full of wellfed zoologists and physicists arrived. On the whole, the scientific results of the expedition are eminently satisfactory, and large addition has been made to the knowledge of the fauna and flora of the sub-Antarctic islands, while the geology is certainly put on a new basis, and a magnetic survey of a thorough character has been, made both on the Aucklands and the Campbells. i Dr Farr, assisted by Mr Cook, successfully, and in the face of many difficulties, established satisfactory stations, and found out with scientific accuracy, for the first time, the position of the islands. Mr Skey, on Campbell Island, assisted by-Mr Kidson and Mr Opie, established three stations, and he was compelled to carry overland through terribly rough country, hie heavy instruments, a task requiring the assistance of nine strong men. This magnetic work cannot be described in popular language, but it is of the highest value to the dominion and to Australia. One of the difficulties was to get the 6un, and several excursions had to be'niade for this special purpose. Dr Marshj.ll and Mr Speight, assisted by Messrs Brown and Finlayson respectively, gave the geology of their respective regions a most searching examination — covered vast tracts of dif ficult country, and spared no exertion , to attain their ends. The result must be most gratifying to these ardent geological men. To sum up their results, the investigators have proved the existence of great masses of granite-like rocks in all the telands visited. In Campbell Island sedimentary rocks were met with, followed by great outpourings of lava, but in the Aucklands no sedimentary rocks were found, the land being formed almost wholly by a remarkable succession of lava flows poured out from- more than one < crater Perhaps the most important discovery was a number of moraines, showing a time when much of the land must have been covered by glaciers, and this fact is of the highest importance from its distinct : bearing on zoology and botQJIY The botanists. Dr ■ Cockayne, Mr Pennant and Captain Dorrien Smith on Auckland Island, and Messrs Laing and Crosby Smith on Campbell Island, hunted for new plants, studied the biology of old ones, and noted carefully the features of the vegetation as a whole. Both parties put on recoTd several species new to the islands, and perhaps to science, and a number of important biological facts were established. Unfortunately,, the Campbell . Island rilarits were not in proper bloom, but those of the Aucklands were much more advanced. Of great interest were the additions mad© to the knowledge of colour variation amongst the sub°antarctic plants, and the relation of plant form to the peculiar climatic conditions. Mr Aston rendered much, assistance to the Auckland Island botanists, and in addition collected on mountain top, in forest and bog various samples of the soil in connection with his very important soil survey of New Zealand. The work of the entomologist, Mr Hudson, was of special value ; since before this visit only a dozen flies and beetles had been recorded, and no moths and butterflies. Mr Hudson's collection consists of 45 species, 285 specimens including 17 moths, 13 flies, 10 beetles and some ichneumon and stone flies. Had it been later in the season more would have been secured. The find includes some remarkable novelties, and though most are closely related to insects of the mainland, they are in nearly every case specifically distinct. Professor Benham dug assiduously for his pets, the earthworms, the most striking proof of ancient land connec- j tion with South America, and was re- ; warded by some ten species belonging to six genera. An important discovery was that of true leeches from the Snares. Dr Benham also collected generally the more obscure forms of animal life hitherto neglected on these islands by collectors, such as centipedes and x>lanarians, and numerous marine animals were ako secured. Mr Waite confined his attention io hie friends, the fishes, securing all the species recorded hitherto, as well as two unrecorded pipe fish, one a Jiew species. His operations were carried on by means of a seine net, fishing from the rocks and netting tlie small fresh water fish in the rivers. Here galaxias was secured, another link in the chain of evidence for an ancient Antarctic continent. Professor Chilton seached the shores of Campbell Island for various members of the crab family, and secured a remarkable species of fresh water shrimp, also a number of wood lice. These animals are directly important from the point of view of geographical distribution., and the professor has shown the remarkable fact that one of these is identical with a wood louse inhabiting Kerguelen Land, the Falklands and the sub-Antarctic region as a whole. On the other hand, Professor Chilton states that several of these usually unpopular animals occur both on Campbell) Island and the New Zealand mainland. Another interesting fact discovered was the presence of a Bpecial plant louse upon the burr, peculiar to the sub-Antarctic island. Professor Kirk set himself the heroic task of looking for negative results, and proved that many of the lower animals common in New Zealand are quite absent from the sub- Antarctic Islands. Lizards also appear to be wanting in Campbell Island. Professor Kirk also collected largely in all branches of zoology, and paid much attention to botany, especially with regard to the insects frequenting certain of the flowers in his own special branch. The professor recorded for the first time some sponges from Campbell Island, but most of the specimens were too much damaged for accurate determination. Mr Page, official photographer to the expedition, 'was busy during all th c long daylight, and took a very large series of photographs, both scientific and generally interesting- H« has for the first time put on record the aspect as^ they grow of many Auckland Island plants. Mr Crosby Smith and others played the same part in Campbell Island; in fact, nearly all the scientists were armed with cameras. Tuesday, November 26, saw the expedition once more as. a whole in Garn.T ley Harbour, and next day the beautiful inlets of th© East coast were visited,

also Enderby and Ewing Islands, Profesor Kirk securing a skeleton of the hair seal, and Captain Bolloris a number of flightless ducka fox Kapiti. : Disappointment Island, never before visited by a scientist was 'explored the following day, and was perhaps the most important excursion taken. The island in all probability consists in part of sedimentary rocks which, if true, shows it to be a very, ancient land — perhaps a part of the supposed sub-Antarctic, continent. The geologists and botanists had here one of the red letter days of their lives. The vegetation is most luxuriant, but Dr Cockayne reports there are only some thirty species of flowering plants and ferns/ Mollyhawks on their ' nests were in countless numbers, and dotted the slopes with white. Penguin rookeries were in abundance. The village of the castaways was visited, and it was wonderful how snug they had managed to make their extraordinary dwellings from such unpromising material. All round lay the rejected portions of the mollyhawks, showing red owing to a curious fungus. The night' was spent in Port Ross at the spot where the Erebus had anchored — classic ground for scientific men. The morning of the following day was spent at Port Ross, and in the evening the vessel sailed, for the Bluff, which was reached at 3.20 p.m. on Saturday. The last lunch off Half Moon, Stewart Island, was the scene of a pleasing ceremony, when an address, signed by all the scientists was presented by Professor, Benham to Captain Bollons, whose assistance and help to the ex- ' peditions are beyond words. Professor Benham also referred to the willing aid that had been given on all occasions by the officers of the ship . and the stewards. [Per Press Association.] .. INVERCARGILL, "Dfcembet 1 Br Cockayne, on being interviewed, said: "I am instructed by the Hon R. M'Nab, under whose direction J am investigating the botany of New Zealand, to bring back a number of peculiar land birds from the sub-Antarctic islands. I have now in Invercargill twelve cages of birds, including ten flightless ducks and twenty-four parrakeets, some of which are the Auckland Island species, and some are specimens of one of the rarest birds in the world, the Antipodes parrakeet. I also had fern birds and robins and snipe from the Snares, but notwithstanding every care, taken during my 6tay on AuckI land' Island, they finally all died. The present birds are in excellent condition, and I have great hopes of landing the entire cargo T)y Thursday or Friday on Kapiti Island, a plant and animal sanctuary in Cook Strait."

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Bibliographic details

THE SUB-ANTARCTIC., Star, Issue 9099, 2 December 1907

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THE SUB-ANTARCTIC. Star, Issue 9099, 2 December 1907

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