This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 27 September 2013
A perfect boating day
Last Friday the weather systems lined up to give us a perfect day for boating.
It gave us an opportunity to ‘ship’ various items needed at field huts down the East coast of the island.
The three IRB’s (inflatable rescue boats) were readied early on the day and we had all boats, each with a crew of two, on the water off Landing Beach at 1020. We left the station and headed south over glassy water and calm conditions. Clive and Barry in boat 4546, Mark and Josh in 5350 and Greg and Tony (chef) in 5280.
First stop was landing on the beach at Sandy Bay, just north of the Brothers Point hut. We unloaded plenty of timber for track work onto the beach and then up into the tussock beyond the high tide mark. In the meantime Doc Clive went to the hut to swap over medical supplies. Then Josh and Barry tramped up to the hut carrying a generator and a replacement wind generator. We then brought six sleeping bags and a generator from the hut back to the boats.
The task of walking to and from the hut along the beach and then up the hill to the hut was made all the more difficult because we were wearing thermals, two layers of fleece and all this covered by a thick, heavy dry suit.
We continued south and had a very easy landing at Green Gorge. It was great to see all the wildlife on the beach. While we were there a elephant seal pup was born. We unloaded more gear from the boats, then picked up a couple of items to be delivered to Waterfall Bay.
Soon we were back on the water again heading further south. We landed in a little protected cove about 500 meters north of Waterfall Bay hut. Tony and Barry, loaded with the gear for the hut, wandered up into the tussock and wallow beyond the beach. Some of the wallows were still covered in snow, so on a couple of occasions were up to their thighs in water.
Mark and Greg arrived at the hut not long after. The four of us then had to carry eight bags of dry dog food back to the huts, with each bag weighing around 8kg.
After stowing the dog food on the boats it was decided to continue the journey south as conditions were still perfect. We stopped for lunch about 400 metres offshore from Lusitania Bay.
The weather was still great, so we continued south, rounding Hurd Point then westward along the rugged south coast, around South West Point and up the west coast a little, eventually ending up in the sheltered Caroline Cove.A short break in Caroline Cove, then we retraced our route along the south coast and up the east coast. The water was still glassy and as we motored parallel to Lusitania Bay we encountered a lone orca, moving slowly in the same direction. What a bonus!
The land of the long green leaf
It’s has been over six months now since the first seed was sown and life in hydroponics land has settled down to a regular routine. There were a number of learning curves along the way that caused a few setbacks but we have hopefully got most of them sorted.
Between Patty, Craig and myself, we manage to check the water levels daily and every few days, prune and pollinate. Being a constant ‘summer’ inside the hydro building, once the plants have established themselves, they will just keep growing and growing so regular maintenance is a must.
Lettuce is definitely the number one crop and we normally have plants in all stages of its life cycle to afford a continual supply. Tomatoes and cucumbers come a close second, though due to space limitation new plants can only be grown on a needs basis. Chillies were hard to get going, but with a couple of established trees now producing, their yield is a welcome addition at meal times. Numerous other varieties have been grown with snow peas and silver beet being an irregular extra.
The fresh greens are definitely a welcome supplement in the mess, so fingers crossed everything can keep ticking along smoothly.
By Aaron Tyndall
In this week's gallery we feature photos of the seals, birds and scenery around the station plus some interesting night time shots during the full moon.