Station update

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This week at Macquarie Island: 24 July 2015

This week expeditioner by expeditioner we returned to a full station population again. It seems positively crowded at the mess now with all 13 of us at the table.

Over the weekend there were large snowfalls down to sea level, making for some adventurous travel home from huts for those out in the field. Snow combined with high winds resulted in some deep drifts on the Overland Track.

Rich and Duncan returned from their huge round island trip to all of the radio installations on the island. Whilst they looked thoroughly exhausted, their smiles shone from their wind ravaged faces. Indeed all who have the chance to get off station return refreshed, having had the opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of this wild place.

The rangers, Andrea and Anna, have also come in from the field (for now!) and are busy catching up on station based work, and enjoying hot showers after their long, but very successful down island trip.

Marion and Dan departed with plans to walk to Waterfall Bay. The weather had other ideas, and high winds which developed on the plateau combined with snow and ice, had them dropping into Brothers Point for cover, and then resetting a target of Green Gorge as their final destination. They returned from their five day walk with bulging SD cards.

Ben and Jacque went walking on the weekend. Ben was bound for Green Gorge to assist Andrea in removing some old wire fencing. Jacque planned to meet Anna at Brothers point to help out with petrel chick counts. The snow buried both the wire and the burrows, leaving Andrea and Ben to enjoy some hut time with Dan and Marion at Green Gorge, and Jacque alone at Brothers Point. Anna made a break for station in a well-timed weather window.

We are a station of many ‘vertically petite’ expeditioners. When the taller amongst us were sinking into our waists in snowdrifts, we began to hold fears of our travel mates disappearing into the white abyss! Ranger Andrea’s tactic was to let the gym loving and fit expeditioner Ben forge ahead like a human snow plough and clear the path. Thanks Ben for not losing Turbo.

In news on station, the Macquarie Island team, despite being reduced to a station population of seven, managed to field a precision darts ensemble for inter-station darts (with non-darts player Anna returning from the field just in time to join in). We snatched victory over Casey station. The darts match was telecast via video link between Macca and Casey, and was certainly the highlight of the Macca social scene this week.

Thanks to the hard work of the trades team, Warren (our incinerator )is finally back up and running. The guys received great support and advice from our colleagues at Davis, in an example of the value in drawing upon the experience of fellow expeditioners in the wider AAD network. The water main from Gadgets Gully has kept the team on their toes all week with cracks and splits following the water supply freezing and thawing this week. As usual though, they manage to plug holes and fix breakages all whilst steadily making progress on the larger projects that are on the go.

With everyone back on station we will finally watch the recorded AFL Swans v Hawks game, and the Wimbeldon final, the results of both we have successfully kept in blackout. The advantage of slow internet? We successfully can remain spoiler free when big games are on, being able to enjoy them days afterwards as if they were live!

A moss-covered, rusted pot rests on rock and grass at a beach.
Old pot at Hurd Point
(Photo: A Turbett)
An elephant seal with snotty nose lies in the grass and faces the camera at Hurd Point
An elephant seal at Hurd Point
(Photo: A Turbett)
The view of a beach from the Green Gorge from the porch
The view from Green Gorge hut
(Photo: A Turbett)
Many king penguins on the beach
The view of one of the east coast king penguin colonies from…
(Photo: A Turbett)
An elephant seal watching the king penguins
An elephant seal watching the king penguins
(Photo: A Turbett)
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