Ange's archeological dig

Page 1 of 3 Next
This week at Macquarie Island: 2 August 2013

On arrival at Eitel hut after a heavy slog through the snow from Green Gorge, and in desperate need for a cuppa, we found that the water was frozen and the stream that water is usually collected from was also frozen and covered in over a meter of snow drift.

So after first digging out the dog kennels which were filled with snow, and digging our way into the hut cold porch which was also filled with snow we set about the task of melting bucket after bucket of snow for cups of tea and coffee, showers (yes, we braved it!), cooking, washing up and dog drinking water.

One of the first tasks, once this was done, was to locate the rodent monitoring chew-sticks that were sent out with resupply.  After a few cups of tea and a search in the cold porch without success, a search of both black food pods and the wooden MIPEP pod ensued… twice, though to no avail.

Several radio enquires later to Nancye and Steve about the probable location of the missing sticks, they came up with the answer that they should be in the metal cage pallet... only there was no cage pallet to be seen. Nancye was quite insistent that there was one to the north west of the hut but all that could be seen was piles of snow.

Later that night after venturing out to collect snow for what seemed to be the hundredth time a small piece of metal was uncovered, sticking out from the snow - the top of the cage pallet was found! However, it was completely buried under snow.  We had both hiked out to Aurora Point that afternoon, picking a good path on hard packed snow, and we had been walking right over top of it! 

The next day we woke to a fresh layer of snow, plus more snow inside the dog kennels. After our second cup of coffee we headed out to dig out the cage pallet in search of the bucket of chew sticks. Ange, armed with a shovel and an energetic small terrier and Karen, armed with a metal dog bowl (there was only one shovel) and two enthusiastic Labradors, began excavation work on the pod.

Finn the Labrador got off to a good start with the digging, uncovering the top of a fuel can, only to be distracted by all the fresh snow around for him to pee on. Ange created a huge hole and hit the jackpot - uncovering the elusive bucket of chew sticks. While we celebrated Cody, the terrier, decided he could do a better job at digging than his boss Ange and took over the excavation under the careful supervision of Finn and Flax (acting as the site supervisors), doubling the hole in half the time it took Ange.

Then, with the snow still falling we retreated back to the hut to continue our snow melting regime and warm up our frozen fingers and toes while waiting for the snow to abate.

The scene is of three kennels (made from drums)  mostly buried in deep snow.  Ange and a couple of the dogs digging out the snow from the kennels at Eitel hut
Digging out the snow from the kennels at Eitel hut
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
A small metal hook poking out of the deep snow is all that can be seen of the metal cage pallet. In the background is a black plastic  rectangular pod half buried in the snow
All that can be seen of the metal cage pallet
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Ange standing on the snow near the exposed metal hook of the cage pallet she is about to dig out. Eitel hut, a converted water tank, is in the background
Ange preparing to excavate
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Ange, kneeling on the deep snow, about to start digging
Ange commences digging
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Ange's digging into the deep snow covering the cage pallet, whilst being supervised by Finn, the labrador, who is standing beside the hole
Ange's digging being supervised by Finn
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Ange standing in the hole she has dug in the snow in the cage pallet
Ange in the cage pallet
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Cody, the terrier, digging out the snow in the cage pallet
Cody the excavator
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Flax and Finn supervising Cody. While Cody (the terrier) digs out snow in the cage pallet, the two labradors Flax and Finn look on from above the hole
Flax and Finn supervising Cody
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Flax and Finn, both with their snouts into a steel bowl, share a drink after a hard day of supervising
Flax and Finn share a drink after a hard day of supervising
(Photo: Karen Andrew)
Select story: