Helicopters, bait and team members offloaded to Gough Island

SA Agulhas II arrives at Gough as project starts in earnest

Report and images from RSPB's Antje Steinfurth and Sophie Thomas

SA Agulhas II arriving at Gough Island on 3rd June 2021

SA Agulhas II arrived at Gough Island on 3rd June 2021 to herald the most crucial phase of the £9 million RSPB-organised Gough Restoration Project.

The vessel carried four helicopters that were deployed to transfer the incoming team, equipment and supplies ashore. This included specialist bait produced in New Zealand that will be distributed by helicopter across all of the island's surface to attract and eliminate invasive house mice that have caused havoc to the native fauna by predating on breeding sea and land birds and their eggs.

Stores being lifted onto SA Agulhas II's helideck on 3rd June

A temporary helihanger has been constructed on the island in order to be able to service the helicopters as well as temporary helipads for the planned flights. The Agulhas II will return to Cape Town as soon as unloading has been completed and will return later in the year, probably during August, to collect the team on completion of the work.

The team aims to set up a small camp at the north of the island and will be paying careful attention to the weather and forecasts that will determine when flights can take place during the southern winter months.

One of the four helicopters flying towards the Gough Base helipad on 3rd June 2021.