This week at Macquarie Island: 17 January 2020

Get to know the Chef on Macca

A week in the life of the Macquarie Island chef

There are a few jobs/chores on station that are not on the top of your favourites list. Stock take time is generally one of these. As chef on station, with only one resupply of food a year, the stock take involves some team work and a lot of counting of everything on station that you would need for a year, from washing powder to linen to the entire food stocks. As with any job there are some bonuses, one of these includes stocktaking - but this time it is for the field huts. Oh well, someone has to do it!

Bag packed I headed out to Bauer Bay on the wild west coast to count the stores. Every trip down island is an amazing experience of the ever changing landscape. The growth of the flora is very notable and the wild life is at varying stages of the reproduction cycle. The weaner elephant seals have swum out to sea, the sub-adult elephant seals are moulting, the royal penguin chicks are nearly as big as their parents, and the parents are placing their chicks into crèches while they return to sea to feed.

Next stop is another 3ish hour walk further south to Green Gorge. I was joined at Green Gorge by our senior meteorological observer, Tim James. We proceeded on a trek to the southern end of the Island, my first trip to Hurd Point. It was a very wet and misty walk across the plateau and after lots of mud, tussock, and wallow jumping we arrived at the hut. We were greeted by lots of elephant seals, king penguins, royal penguins, skuas, giant petrels and a soaring light mantled sooty albatross. It has it all, and one of the best hut views on Macca.

After a rest day we made it to Waterfall Bay, a “googie hut” on the east coast. Over the next few days we made it back to station ahead of a bad weather front. It was nice to be back home in the warm and dry. On the way you have a lot of time to ponder things and answer the meaning of life. It is actually a great chance to soak up the wonder that is Macquarie Island and be thankful and grateful for the opportunity to work here for 12 months.

Time for some leg rest!

Chef Kerryn

Royal penguins adults and chicks
Royal penguin chicks in creches
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
beach view from field hut
Beach view from the Green Gorge field hut
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
royal penguin colony
The royal penguin colony at Hurd Point
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
field hut and colony of penguins
The Hurd Point field hut at the southern end of the island
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
dilute pigmented royal penguin
A very unusual "Isabelline" royal penguin mutation with dilute plumage pigment
(Photo: Tim James)
two expeditioners walking on Macquarie Island
Kerryn and Tim walking the island
(Photo: Tim James)
internal view of field hut
Counting food stocks at Waterfall Bay field hut
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)