This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 11 October 2013
Once in a lifetime
While boating down the east coast of Macquarie Island on a mirror calm day, an orca breached and the call went out to slow and idle ahead. After five to ten minutes there was no sign of the orca. Our encounter was only brief and typical.
However, Tony stood up in the boat and said 'look' and managed to rattle off ten shots before I could understand what he was looking at. Our orca surfaced behind us but to the shore side. As the magnificent specimen cruised past I could see Tony had almost filled a terabyte with shots, so I gingerly placed my waterproof movie camera under the surface and pointed in the general direction of the orca cruising past in the vain hope it might be clear enough to capture him underwater. Our encounter was brief and he disappeared after several breaches patrolling for food. We continued on and arrived back on base a couple of hours later.
That night I was keen to see if the camera had captured any footage. To my astonishment the water was crystal clear and I had captured the orca cruising effortlessly along the coast. If only I had kept it underwater for longer to capture more footage.
See below some snapshots from the video taken on that day.
I’d been told that the Hurd Point 'channel' was a definite rival to the Green Gorge 'channel', so it was time I compared the two for myself.
Josh and I set off, stopping first at Green Gorge for the night and then on to Hurd. The walk was good for the legs, and the high winds at appropriately named Windy Ridge made the first glimpse of Hurd Point Hut a welcome sight.
The amount of wildlife around the hut was something you had to see to believe. There were numerous elephant seals along the beach, king, gentoo and royal penguins nesting on every available patch of dirt, and skuas and petrels making the most of the abundant food supply.
Settling in for the next two days, 'reception' on the Hurd Point TV was fixed with a quick wipe and the kettle put on. The next two days passed with hours spent watching the Hurd Point channel, interjected with regular hot drinks and numerous wanders along the coast. The weather gods were kind to us as both days had plenty of sunshine, a rare commodity on Macca, and a few snow showers.
All good things must come to an end, so we bid farewell to Hurd Point and headed north again. Detouring to Lusitania Bay to see the king penguin colony was well worth it as the track was enjoyable and the colony was very impressive.
Stopping the night at Green Gorge provided the opportunity to compare the Hurd Point channel to the Green Gorge channel. Personally I believe Hurd Point wins. Green Gorge is very scenic but the view is limited, whereas Hurd Point is larger and more elevated allowing a much wider view.
With a hop, skip and a jump (well actually, 5 hours hiking) Josh and I returned to station, already thinking of the next journey back down island.
This week the Macca gallery has images of the increasing number of elephant seals and other wildlife. It also shows some of the interesting weather we have around here.