6 October 2006

After the highs of the Mid-Macca celebration it was back to the real world and all the effort that is required to keep the island running. The animal kingdom will be used to prove the point that some of it "just seems like a little too much work"!

We were blessed with the return of the royal penguins this week. They have spent the last six months swimming and eating and now have returned to make little royals. This begs the question:

How do they find this little island in the middle of nowhere?

Four Royal Penguins

Returning Royalty
Photo: Elwood

Two Royal Penguins

Royal Penguins
Photo: L. Mainsbridge

Next are the scavengers of Macca: giant petrels and skuas. They are not the most popular of animals as they feast on the poor and unfortunate seal pups that don't make it to 'weaner hood'. They mass around a harem, hoping for the worst, and then battle with countless others of their kinds to get little nibbles. The giant petrels are larger so they general get first dibs. The skuas have to settle for leftovers. Judging from the way the birds attack the pup's lifeless body, most of the best bits are hidden under all the fur. All just seems like a little too much work …

Birds of prey eating a seal pup carcass

Head and shoulders above
Photo: L. Mainsbridge

Skuas eating dead seal pup

Slim pickin's
Photo: L. Mainsbridge

The female elephant seals have a similar job to that of the royal penguins: find the island, produce little elephant seals etc. But occasionally you see something that doesn't seem quite right …

Male elephant seal with pup - both sound asleep

Stay at home dad
Photo: Elwood

The above picture shows that some of the male elephant seals are not shirking their parental responsibilities. I have no doubt that he would have no trouble protecting the pup, but how does he go about the feeding? It all just seems like a little too much work. it's probably best not to think about it and guess that the mum has just gone for a brief swim or something.

You would have thought these examples would stop the expeditioners from attempting jobs that just seem like a little too much work, but no!! Somehow, McGivor coerced some fellow expeditioners to help him relocate some wood. I'm not sure if he mentioned that it would mean carrying heavy planks up the Doctors Track, but they still helped him. The wood is for some more walkways and it also gave Jamie an excuse to test the bicycle wheel that can be fitted to the bottom of a field stretcher. Seems like just a little too much work …

Expeditioners pulling timber up a steep hill on stretcher on wheels

Hard yakka
Photo: H. Achurch

Expeditioners pulling timber up a steep hill on Macquarie Island

Hard yakka
Photo: H. Achurch

But it doesn't stop there … it wasn't only the expeditioners and animals that aren't afraid of some hard work. The station equipment proved to be just as stubborn. The communications mast on North Head wasn't going to shirk its responsibility, even if the bolts that keep it together are.

The failure of some bolts cause the mast to get a little bend or two, but it still stands, come wind, hail or snow. The projected life of the mast is extremely reduced, so expect a picture of a 'mast-less' North Head in the future.

Bent antenna

Peyronies Mast
Photo: J. Doube

Goodbye from Macquarie Island.

This page was last updated 2006-10-09.