A Hamper at Handspike
Macquarie Island’s Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s rangers organise periodic beach cleanups around the island, to pick up the considerable quantities of marine debris that washes ashore here, particularly on the island's west coast which receives the southern ocean current.
This marine debris may drift long distances in the circumpolar ocean currents at these latitudes, indeed possibly drifting right around the globe, or perhaps originating from South America and drifting across the southern Atlantic and Indian oceans to get here. These occasions provide a welcome opportunity for other station expeditioners to assist and enjoy a rewarding day off station in our amazing natural environment, and feel as though we are doing something to protect the island at the same time.
On Sunday, TASPWS ranger in charge Chris and wildlife ranger Mike organised chef Benny to provide a picnic hamper to take out to Handspike Point, on the north west corner of the island about one and a half hours walk from station, and four station volunteers to assist with a beach rubbish clean up along the way. Benny’s hamper comprised a wonderful assortment of sushi rolls and Japanese noodle dishes, complete with wasabi and chopsticks, and was sufficient inducement alone to come along for the walk!
Chris, Mike, Scotty, Paul, Greg, and Ivor spent the morning collecting several garbags of plastic bottles, old bouys, lengths of thick braided long line fishing cord, and miscellaneous debris along the beach from station to Handspike Point, followed by a delicious picnic lunch.
After lunch, Chris, Mike, and Ivor continued south along the west coast “featherbed track” for another three hours to stay overnight at Bauer Bay hut, with Mike carrying out a periodic census count of seabirds along the way, while Scotty, Paul and Greg returned to station.
On Monday morning, Chris, Mike and Ivor, and joined by Evelyn after an early walk from station, carried out the regular monthly marine debris collection on Bauer Bay beach. A lot of debris and rubbish washes ashore here, and the information from the monthly beach clean up also provides ongoing data regarding the quantities and types of stuff circulating in the southern ocean. Again, we collected a considerable quantity of plastic bottles and other rubbish, and lengths of long line fishing cord. Then Chris and Evelyn sorted and counted the rubbish while Ivor returned to station, before Chris and Mike continued south along the island for other work commitments and Evelyn enjoyed an off-roster overnight stay at Brother’s Point hut on the east coast. Whilst there next day, Evelyn assisted Chris with track maintenance and construction work at Sandy Bay.