This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 29 March 2013
Saturday night - south of the border
As we are all aware, Saturday dinner is designated on station as a meal that is to be attended in neat casual dress, or dress to depict the cultural theme of the meal.
Last Saturday, Patty offered to assist the master (Tony, our winter chef) in preparing Chilean/Mexican dishes in the way she had been taught by her mother, aunts and grandmother. After several trips across to the green store for extra this and that, the air in the and around station took on a the sweet smell of spice, herbs and of course chilli, a much welcoming aroma after the normal elephant seal, decaying kelp and salt odours we are accustomed to outdoors.
The meal was introduced with a short history on how food is respected in the Chilean culture and taken as something that is an art form, something that has been made with love. Thanks was given to Pacha Mama (the Earth) for nurturing the seeds that were planted in her soil (belly button), for the sun and rains for providing conditions for good crops and most of all to everyone gathered for the feast. The proof was in the pudding so to speak as there was hardly a skerrick left for catch and kill (get your own meal from the kitchen) on Sunday. Well done to both chef and assistant Patty for a great feast and thank you Pacha Mama.
As a just reward for putting on such a great meal for us, Patty was given the enviable and much sought after job of sorting out the storage area in the chippies workshop, a job that she took on with the same willingness and determination that she did when preparing our Saturday night meal. Many thanks to Patty on both counts!
Too cold for the chef
After some inquiries from Tony about the lack of warmth in his room, our trustworthy, loyal, outwardly thinking plumber and carpenter, with all the correct protocols in place, installed in his room what is thought to be one of only two open fire places this far south. With minimal fuss, there it was up and running for him when he knocked off that night.
Earth Hour is an Australian concept which has gone global. It is organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and held annually towards the end of March, encouraging households, businesses and communities to turn off their non-essential lights and power for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.
This year it was held on March 23rd starting at 8:30pm. We at Macca participated, spending a few hours without lights, except for battery powered essential light. It was a very pleasant evening.
World Met Day
Each year, on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization with its 191 members, and the worldwide meteorological community, celebrate World Meteorological Day around a chosen theme.
This Year the theme was:
Watching the weather to protect life and property
Celebrating 50 years of World Weather Watch
This day also marks the first anniversary of the passing of renowned and well respected Meteorologist Neil Adams. His work on Antarctic forecast systems and computer modelling are second to none. His work for the Antarctic community is very much appreciated and has made it a much safer place.
A ranger's journal
Diary so far: The first four weeks on Macca has disappeared in a haze of misty, windswept days with the occasional sprinkling of sunshine. Seems to be liberally broken up with frequent trips to the mess, inductions, famil and time spent getting to know fellow expeditioners.
WEEK 1 – Resupply. Flat out as part of the huge combined team of incoming and outgoing expeditioners. Life was a blur of LARCs, helicopters, IRBs, moving stores, brief glimpses of unfamiliar landscapes, meeting new people and getting to know some of the residents (feathered and furry type).
WEEK 2 - The gumboots are starting to get some mud on them, track from my quarters to the green store, back to the mess for another meal, get stuck into filing system – acquaint myself with files from previous crew.
Orientate myself to the projects and try to recall some of past ranger's, Richard, words of wisdom on each. Back to the mess for another briefing, another excuse for a cuppa.
Introduction to the island for field training conducted under the watchful eye of Marty, the resident field training officer – just to make sure we can all read maps, use a compass. Fine tune the fit of my back pack - want to get this one right.
WEEK 3 - More office familiarisation, get to meet a few more of the local residents. Start to develop upcoming works program, liaise with scientists about things such as locations of amendments to research for this season, locations of monitoring points.
Meet with more local residents, commence detailed planning now for coming works program (over another cup of coffee) looking forward to starting work.
WEEK 4 - Start the week with a brief walk up to Wireless Ridge to complete photo monitoring task on Azorella macquariensis (more on that later). Slushy duty for a day and finally off to do some real ranger work. Off to do bird counts around the East Coast and marine debris survey at Bauer Bay.
Checked the weather forecast which says light showers, wind - westerly to 45 knots, waves to 6m, swell 4-5 metres. Funny how sometimes the weather doesn’t follow the model prediction BOM team here today are recording wind gusts of up to 63knots so, glad I chose to walk to work today and not take the ferry. Off to Bauer Bay.