This week at the station

This week at Macquarie Island: 25 October 2013

The wonder that is Hurd Point

Last week Tony H and I had the pleasure of taking a stroll down island. The walk down took us two days.

The second day included a scenic bypass along the Tiobunga Track where we were treated to chocolate slice and a pasta lunch, made by Karen and Mike.

We arrived at the end of the Overland Track and, as it was a pretty nice day, we took time to enjoy the view from the top of the Scree Jump-up.

At the top of the Grassy Jump-up we also took time to take in the magnificent view, while psyching ourselves for the descent.

The following day was a rest day, it was also a perfect day weather wise. There was very little wind and lengthy periods of bright warm sunshine. We took the opportunity to view the enormous royal penguin rookery from the grassy tussock above the colony.

For over an hour we experienced the wildlife and scenery with all our senses. The sight, sounds and smell of the thousands upon thousands of penguins

There were also large elephant seal harems on the beach in front of the colony and along with the birds (skuas, giant petrels and albatross) which all added to the colourful sensory tapestry of sights and sounds.

On the way back to the hut we wandered through the rock stacks on the coast and with the sun shinning, it afforded us some great photo opportunities, highlighted by the amazing array of colour.

Later I wandered down the beach to the west of the hut to again experience the abundant wildlife and vibrant colours.

My time at Hurd Point is an experience I will never forget.

By Barend (Barry) Becker

Hurd Point taken from the top of the Scree Jump-up. One can see the grey speckled patches on the point which is the thousands of birds in the huge royal penguin rookery. Hurd Point hut can be seen amongst the tussock just up from the beach on the bottom right of picture. Hundreds of elephant seal can also seen on the beach in front of the hut
Hurd Point taken from the top of the Scree Jump-up
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Descending down the Grassy Jump-up. Tony can be seen a further 50 metres down the steep slope. Hundreds of seals can be seen on the beach at the base of the slope and Hurd Point can be seen jutting out into the ocean in the top left of picture
Descending down the Grassy Jump-up
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Taken from the beach west of Hurd Point hut. On the beach are hundreds of elephant seals and a large royal penguin colony can be seen on the slope just before the hut. A skua, in flight, can be seen silhouetted in the top left of picture
Ideal position
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Hundreds of Royal penguins on the slope just next to Hurd Point hut
Royals on the slope just next to Hurd Point hut
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
South East Bay and Hurd Point - there are thousands of royal penguins up from the beach with hundreds of elephant seals on the beach just above the high tide mark. There is also a smaller group of king penguins
South East Bay and Hurd Point
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Part of the enormous royal penguin colony at Hurd Point - thousands of penguins tightly packed on the bare earth
Part of the enormous royal penguin colony at Hurd Point
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
A close up of a gentoo penguin partially obscured by the tussock grass
Gentoo penguin
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Tony making his way back to the hut through the tussock covered rock stacks. The bright sunshine accentuates the vivid green colours  and a stark contrast with the azure blue sky streaked with white cirrus cloud
Tony making his way back to the hut through the tussock covered…
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Rare calm day at Hurd Point. Taken from amongst the rock stacks showing a perfect reflection in a small pond of the escarpment the cirrus streked sky and some small tussock covered rock stacks
Rare calm day at Hurd Point
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
View to the west of Hurd Point hut showing the steep rugged escarpment and the rock stacks just offshore, with one of the stacks in the shape of a pointed arch. At the very end of the beach is a elephant seal harem
View to the west of Hurd Point hut
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
From a position high up on the rocky beach looking east. In the foreground is a moss covered log and just beyond a large group of king penguins. Hurd Point hut can be seen in the distance, nestled amongst the tussock at the foot of the escarpment
Looking east towards Hurd Point hut
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Around two dozen king penguins in the middle foreground with a creek gully in the escarpment in the background. The Grassy jump-up is on the left of the gully
Creek gully next to the Grassy jump-up
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)

Repairs to the bridge over Sawyer Creek

After the big fall of snow a few weeks ago it had been reported that the bridge had collapsed at Sawyer Creek near Green Gorge. Although the creek is not big by any means, there are times after a big snow melt that it does double its width making the Overland Track just that bit more challenging.

With the assistance of the boating crew that delivered the new bearers to the beach at Green Gorge, with Chef Tony and the Tas Parks and Wildlife ranger Chris, we carried out the repairs in just a few hours.

Not to let pass the opportunity of having two extra strong backs at his disposal, Chris also carried out more track marker replacements on the way to and back from Green Gorge. A much appreciated task by all that use the track at night and in foul weather.

The other task that was included in this trip was to get a tissue sample from a whale that had washed up on the West Coast near Langdon Point. Three days off station, 40 kilometres travelled, one bridge rebuilt, 200 track markers changed over, 100 track markers repainted for the next un-suspecting volunteer, and a sample of the whale. All in all, a most relaxing and rewarding trip.

By Chris Howard

Broken bridge across Sawyer Creek near Green Gorge. The wooden slatted narrow bridge is bent at an angle over the creek where the timber supports have been broken
Broken bridge across Sawyer Creek near Green Gorge
(Photo: Chris Howard)
Broken bridge across Sawyer Creek near Green Gorge. The wooden slatted narrow bridge is bent at and angle over the creek where the timber supports have been broken
Broken bridge across Sawyer Creek near Green Gorge
(Photo: Chris Howard)
David carrying out repairs of the bridge. The bridge is upside down with Dave at one end securing the four long pieces of timber struts
David carrying out repairs of the bridge
(Photo: Chris Howard)
Job all done. David, with his backpack on, standing on the newly repaired bridge.
Job all done
(Photo: Chris Howard)
Dave loaded up with track markers, standing on the track on the featherbed
Dave loaded up with track markers
(Photo: Chris Howard)
Chris examining the remains of a dead whale on the West coast
Chris examining the remains of a dead whale on the West coast
(Photo: Chris Howard)

Macca Gallery

In this week’s Macca Gallery, the photos were all taken in and around the station, with the main them being the wildlife.

Heritage area on station. Old timbers, machinery and three try pots lie amongst the moss, dirt and other vegetation in an area between the Green store and the old post office building
Heritage area on station
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
A couple of giant petrels, one white, in flight just few inches above the beach. The other one is behind the first with its wings raised, just about to take off
Giant petrels on west beach
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
A well fed 'weener' (weened elephant seal pup). It is lying on its side on the green plant life on the coastal fringe. It is rotund and has a contented look on its face
A well fed 'weener' (weened elephant seal pup)
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Part of the very large elephant seal harem on West Beach. There are several hundred seals in the harem, which extends from the foreground all the way into the distance on the beach. The escarpment is in the distant background
Part of the very large elephant seal harem on West Beach
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
This weener found a comfortable position in front of the Workshop. It is lying on a metal grate in front of the doors to the workshop. On the left hand door is a yellow diamond shaped sign that has a picture of a kangaroo and the words "kangaroos Next 25km"
This weener found a comfortable position in front of the Workshop
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Juvenile kelp gull in flight. It has browny-grey and white feathers over its body and on its outstretched wings
Juvenile kelp gull
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
This page was last modified on 16 December 2010.