The postponed restoration programme has resumed in 2021 with the first team members arriving at Gough Island.

Gough Restoration Programme 2021 Start

Report and photos from the RSPB

Following the announcement last November that the postponed Gough Restoration Programme was to go ahead this year, we are pleased to report that work has commenced, despite all the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The first Gough-bound team members of the 2021 Restoration Project set sail from Cape Town on the yacht Pelagic Australis on the 1st February 2021, with everyone wishing them fair winds and following seas. The yacht is familiar to Tristan da Cunha as it has been a regular visitor during the past fifteen years.

Yacht Pelagic Australis about to leave Cape Town harbour. Yacht Pelagic Australis leaving Cape Town harbour.
The RSPB team aboard the yacht Pelagic Australis in Cape Town (left), and the yacht leaving the harbour (right).

After nine days of sailing half-way across the South Atlantic, the team landed at Seal Beach, Gough Island on 10th February. The team are all very excited, as this bodes well for navigating all the Covid restrictions and hurdles that running the operation this year will bring!

RSPB team preparing to launch the yacht's dinghy to go ashore. Landing at Seal Beach.
The crew and RSPB team preparing to launch the yacht's dinghy (left), and landing at Seal Beach (right).

Having been greeted by the G66 'overwinterers', the restoration team will be getting straight on with the job of preparing everything needed before the operation can begin. First up, creating temporary additional sleeping quarters ready for the arrival of the remaining team members!

Returning RSPB Field Biologist Alexis Osborne is greeted by Vonica Perold.

Returning RSPB Field Biologist Alexis Osborne is greeted by Vonica Perold. Pelagic Australis in the background.

Last year about 60% of the temporary infrastructure was installed before the 'build team' were taken off Gough. Our overwintering team have been maintaining the temporary infrastructure and will join the prep teams in getting everything ready before the operation can begin.