This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 23 August 2013
Clive and Josh head south
We set off on the 16th with a typical Macca send-off of driving rain and a gentle 25 knot nor-wester. The first day was a relatively easy walk as the wind shifted around behind us and after the short climb up Gadgets Gully it was all downhill to Green Gorge.
After checking that the LPG and medical supplies were in order, then me having a really cold and windy bucket shower, we spent the evening chatting to Dean. The following morning we were greeted by a foot of fresh snow on the hut, nice big surf pounding the beach in front of the hut and a healthy leopard seal 15 metres from the front door. We sat, with a cup of coffee and admired him or her until it was time to go.
We begrudgingly dragged on the wet boots again and headed off to finish the last 19 km of the trip south. Again, another stunning day for walking at Macca. It was a bit cool and the snow made the walking a little tougher than normal but really gave the place a different look. We stopped in at Windy Ridge Hut for a cuppa with Nick and demolished some cookies that Leona had generously left there. Then it was off for the final 2-hour stretch to Hurd Point.
Clive and I spent the next couple of days doing our work tasks and then relaxing at Hurd Point. At the very southern tip the scenery and ocean are pretty wild and spectacular. We were even blessed with a bit of rare sunshine. The following two nights saw a competitive Scrabble tournament between Craig, Clive, Chris and myself. It was all above board apart from the doctor trying to pull the wool over our eyes by making up random words and claiming them as medical terminology or some other odd thing. We had a dictionary and were not able to be fooled. Nice try anyway from Clive.
Clive and I were fortunate enough to be escorted by Ranger Chris into the Caroline Cove SMA (Special Management Area) to do checks on the LPG appliances and the medical kit. We had a special treat of seeing a albatross chick being fed by its parent, a rare sight for anyone anywhere. To top it off we had sunshine again. This was a brilliant day thanks to the guidance of Chris. Thanks mate!
The following day it was time for Clive and myself to head back to station so off we went to Green Gorge. Somehow again we were blessed with the weather making the walking conditions really great. Upon arrival we found Green Gorge full of sleepy hunters trying to enjoy their Sunday off so we thought it best to push on to Brothers Point where we knew there was an empty hut. After a good sleep it was a relaxed walk home from Brothers and a nice end to a great trip. Thanks to all the people along the way.
By Josh Tomasetti
Craig explores the east coast
I was fortunate enough to be Chris’ assistant for a couple of days trekking along the southern east coast. We were photographing king penguin chicks so that they can be counted and compared with previous seasons. Our other task was to locate Northern and Southern giant petrel colonies in preparation for the annual survey of these birds which will take place next month.
We rested up at Waterfall Bay hut before continuing the following day to Hurd Point at the southern end of the island. Overnight snowfall made for some great scenery and easier walking through the tussock. We arrived at Lusitania Bay to the site of thousands of king penguin chicks. It was a daunting task for Chris to try and photograph them all as I took notes. Luckily for us though it is still early in the season as this site is home to an estimated 100,000 birds at the peak of breeding. It is easy to see why this was the spot chosen for an oiling works back in the 1800s.
The afternoon was spent negotiating some spectacular coastline on our way to Hurd point hut where we were met by Josh and Clive (see previous story). Some award winning bread was baked and some ‘creative’ Scrabble played to round out a top day.
By Craig George