Out Rangering

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This week at Macquarie Island: 26 July 2013

We set off along the east coast for Brothers Point marking any landslides and other significant finds along the way. There had been a large easterly swell in recent weeks which had buried previously known drift wood sites and uncovered others not yet marked. The evening was spent spotlighting on the escarpment attempting to locate certain birds, grey petrels and the like, that are most active during dusk and the beginnings of night.

Moving on from Brothers Point we made our way down the Overland track to Green George, dropping in for lunch and a quick coffee, and on to Tiobunga Hut, fixing track markers along the way. The first night in a tank hut is definitely an experience for those uninitiated in the practise. They are very compact, with just enough room for one person to be up cooking or sorting gear while any other occupants must bide their time on a bed. It’s a lesson in co-operation and you get to know your fellow hut mates very well. I found it tight with two people yet the MIPEP (Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Program) crew will have three in a tank at times.

The next morning we made our way to Sandell Bay, meeting two other expeditioners there and proceded with our rubbish collection, the main intention of our journey south. We filled a number of bags with debris, mostly plastic drinking bottles and string, creating a cache for removal at a later date.

Following a pleasant night in Davis Point Hut, a favourite of the MIPEP team and now up there on my list, we awoke to crystal clear views and minimal winds, a rare treat on the west coast. We made our way north along the coast, confirming Giant Petrel locations for the upcoming census and stopping regularly to just soak in the views. There’s something special about the west coast. It’s rough so you must respect it, but when the weather is good, it’s picturesque and continually changing. Reaching Sellick Bay, we jumped up (climbed up the escarpment, rather steep and exhausting) onto the plateau and headed across to Green George for the night.

The last push was a trek up the coast to Brothers Point. On reaching the hut I said farewell to Ranger Chris who had plans to continue working around the Brothers Point area, turned my face into the 20-30 kt head wind and trudged back to station. It was an excellent trip and a credit to the Ranger in both organising it and the continual work that was achieved along the way.

Aaron Tyndall 

A water tank hut with an annex, aerial, decking and fuel containers on a grassy area with rock stacks and the west coast in the background
Davis Point hut
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
Old water cart lid leaning against a pine fence next tussocks with the green gorge coast line in the back ground
Outlook from Green Gorge
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
individual rocks spread on top of the grass leading down to the west coast surf with the island escarpment in the background
Sandell Bay
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
Looking up the escarpment from Sellick bay, with grass and tussocks in the foreground and a waterfall coming down the escarpment in the background
View from Sellick Bay
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
A running waterfall with frozen icicles and ice crystal in the foreground looking down into Sellick Bay with the west coast surf in the background
A frozen waterfall on the escarpment at Sellick Bay
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
Ranger Chris relaxing on a grassy knoll while looking down the rugged west coast with the escarpment on the left half and the surf on the right half
West Coast smoko
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
The rugged west coast line with tussocks, rocks stacks and a Giant Petrel breeding site in the foreground and the ocean in the background with overcast skies
West Coast
(Photo: Aaron Tyndall)
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