18 January 2008
Nine expeditioners finally set foot on Macquarie Island after a three day voyage from Hobart on the tourist ship, Marina Cveteava. A welcoming party eagerly awaited their zodiac arrival from the ship in the chilly wind at Buckles Bay.
To bide time, the shore party decorated the beach with a message, "Welcome to Macca" so our voyage weary companions would feel welcomed to their new home.
Sean (Ranger in Charge) and Eve (taking on the role of Quarantine Officer) were delivered out to the ship to brief the tourists before they came ashore for a tour of the station. Eve and Sean took Stay, our very patient quarantine sniffer dog, to inspect the ship and luckily everything was in order as Stay did not find anything worth barking about. Eve took the opportunity to don her official uniform, complete with gold, tasseled epaulettes.
The new expeditioners finally arrived. We gained a new ranger (Ian), six human impacts scientists (Jane, Susan, Erika, Andrew, Ben and Greg) and two AAD staff (Graham and Tim) who will be preparing the store for re-cladding and other building maintenance.
Whilst the rangers and volunteers took groups of tourists around the station and isthmus, the old and new Macca crew set to work getting the many packages and boxes off the Marina Cveteava by zodiac. The most appreciated packages were those that came in the mail from friends and family back home.
Finally the new crew was able to relax in their new accommodation as the ship sailed south with the four rangers aboard, including Ian who was unfortunately denied stable land for an extra two days. The tourists were lucky enough to have very calm conditions for zodiac cruises around Lusitania Bay. Here they were awed by the thousands of king penguins that form the largest colony of this species in the world.
Those on board Marina Cveteava endured a rough night, requiring them to remain on the move throughout the night and most of the following day. The rangers actually woke up feeling a little concerned about their chances of returning to the station, as they found themselves 20km south of the island (were they on their way to the ice with the passengers?).
Finally the seas calmed and the tourists and rangers were able to land at Sandy Bay to enjoy the wildlife. Back on station the Macca crew weathered a very windy night as the storm whipped up huge waves and the wind rattled buildings. In the morning the station and plateau were beautifully dappled in snow.
Between the excitement of three ships in a week, nine new friends and wild weather, we have all remained busy. Sarah and Nick have been back and forth between station and the far reaches of the island banding northern giant petrels, Natalie has begun tagging fur seal pups and Greg, the sparky, spent some time in the surgery, getting familiar with the electrics of the oscilloscope.
Thanks to everyone for the mail and here's cheers to a great summer with our nine new crew.