STS089-743-5 Auckland Islands, New Zealand January 1998
The barren, mountainous landscape of the Auckland Islands can be seen in this spectacular west-looking view. The uninhabited Auckland Islands are 290 miles (461 km) south of South Island, New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. The total area of the islands is 234 square miles (377 square km). Auckland Island is the largest of the group and is 27 miles (44 km) long and 15 miles (24 km) wide. Mountains on the island rise up to over 2000 feet (610 meters) above sea level. The islands have several good harbors especially the one at Port Ross, which is situated at the northern tip of the island and is considered to be one of the best natural harbors in the world. The government of New Zealand maintains a depot on Auckland Island with supplies for shipwrecked sailors.

During the STS-89 mission (1/29/98) there was a report of about 700 rare New Zealand seal lion pups found dead on the beaches of Dundas Island in the Auckland Island group. As of this this writing, results of autopsies conducted by biologists of the New Zealand Department of Conservation are not yet known. The animals had not been caught in nets or injured by trawlers; possible causes of death include a virus, bacteria, or a toxic algae bloom.

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