This week at the station
This week at Macquarie Island: 11 April 2014
Completion of changeover and departure of 2013 expeditioners.
Late last week we completed our station resupply, refuelling, station crew changeover, and station handover to the incoming crew, after which the outgoing expeditioners departed on the LARCs. With them they took some special cargo, the 11 rabbit and rodent detecting dogs which have been working here with their handlers for up to the last three years.
The refuelling process uses a floating hose connecting the ship in Buckles Bay with the fuel tanks in the fuel farm on the shore. The hose needs to be closely monitored by a crew on shore and crews in zodiac boats to ensure against leaks or spills.
On Thursday night after dinner we held the formal handover of responsibility for the station to the incoming station crew. Outgoing station leader Mark presented incoming station leader Ivor with the symbolic key to the station and his handheld radio. Additionally, TASPAWS ranger in charge Chris and wildlife ranger Mike, representing Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, presented Mark and Ivor, representing the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), with a beautiful plaque in appreciation of AAD’s support and close involvement in the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project (MIPEP). Mark and Ivor both expressed their thanks for the many hours of cold hard work put in by all involved in MIPEP, including the marvellous dogs, and congratulated all on the spectacularly successful outcomes.
Changeover of main power house diesel engine
Commencement of field training
One of the first tasks for the incoming crew was to complete their subantarctic field and survival training so we can travel into the field for work or recreational purposes. Our field training officer Ian has a busy few weeks to get this completed with groups of three expeditioners at a time for three days each. He will then commence further training for all in search and rescue (SAR) techniques, so we are fully self-sufficient in this vital function.
Ian is new to Macquarie Island, so for the first lot of training TASPAWS ranger in charge Chris accompanied Ian, with Ivor and Sean along to do their training. We had a stunningly beautiful first day to walk down to Bauer Bay, but the island turned on the windy wet, weather conditions that it is well known for the next day. Ivor got blown off his feet twice (once into a creek): ideal training conditions!
Macquarie Island Station Leader 2014