This week at the station

This week at Macquarie Island: 30 May 2014

Heavy snow and our first freeze at Macca

Macquarie Island has just emerged from five consecutive days of snowfall and sub-zero temperatures (down to about minus three degrees). We were enthralled by the lovely snowscapes but also had to cope with the fact that these conditions at Macca freeze our water supply from the supply dam at Gadget’s gully. This means putting water conservation measures in place, as our water supply is limited to the contents of our tanks until the thaw arrives, and a large part of the tank contents is reserved as our fire fighting reserve in any case. Plumber Greg had a few busy days staying on top of the situation. Our water is flowing again now. These conditions will come and go from now on throughout the winter, and we will no doubt have to limit water consumption many times.

Two expeditioners working in a plumbing pit
Electrician Paul and plumber Greg restart a plumbing pump which had been…
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
A young elephant seal weaner
Elephant seal weaner in the snow
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
Northern giant petrel in the snow
Northern giant petrel in the snow
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
View of station buildings in the snow
Station buildings from hamshack hill (store, Hasselborough house, Cumpston's cottage, Garden Cove…
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Huddled creche of king penguin chicks in the snow
Huddled creche of king penguin chicks at Gadget's gully
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
King penguin chicks on beach with old hut in background
King penguin chicks at Sandy Bay with old hut in background
(Photo: Evelyn Sandoval)
Macca snowscape on the plateau
Macca snowscape on the plateau
(Photo: Evelyn Sandoval)
Semi-frozen lake near Mt Elder on the plateau
Semi-frozen lake near Mt Elder on the plateau
(Photo: Evelyn Sandoval)

Mt Waite VHF repeater station trip

The VHF repeater station on Mt Waite, about half way down the island, is one of four that provide almost complete VHF radio coverage of the whole island. Supervising communications technician Scott, accompanied by TASPAWS ranger Mike, visited Mt Waite repeater last week to sort out an aerial connector problem.

repeater station solar panels and aerial
Mt Waite VHF repeater station solar panels and aerial
(Photo: Mike Fawcett)
Scott and Mike at Mt Waite repeater
Scott and Mike at Mt Waite repeater
(Photo: Mike Fawcett)
Expeditioner at water tank hut
Scott at nearby Gratitude Lake MIPEP shelter hut
(Photo: Mike Fawcett)

Lay surgical assistant training

Station doctor Meg is assisted in her role by a team of expeditioners, who are trained specifically to provide assistance during a surgical procedure with setting up the theatre and instruments, and anaesthetic equipment and procedures. Ongoing station training is of course an essential component of this lay surgical assistant role on station.

Doctor and two others prepare instruments
Doctor Meg, Paul and Ryan preparing surgical equipment during a recent lay…
(Photo: Eveleyn Sandoval)
Two expeditioners place mask on 'patient'
Ivor, Meg, and training exercise 'patient' Keon
(Photo: Evelyn Sandoval)
Two expeditioners filling syringe
Ivor and Sean preparing anaesthetic materials
(Photo: Evelyn Sandoval)

Trying to find an entangled fur seal pup

Last week whilst walking to Handspike point, our keen eyed chef Benny noticed a young fur seal, probably one of last summer’s pups, entangled with a length of barnacle encrusted long line fishing cord. The seal took to the water before Benny was able to do anything other than get a photo. We returned to Handspike Point several times last week with rangers Chris and Mike, armed with seal capture nets, to look for it, but to no avail.

This week Mike and Ivor searched the picturesque beaches around North Head, a favourite fur seal haunt, to have another go at finding it. These beaches are accessed by steep paths down the Wireless Hill hillsides, and are a restricted access specially managed area most of the year, in order to protect the fur seal breeding areas. Again we met with no success but will keep looking!

Barnacle encrusted long line fishing cord wrapped around a young fur seal
Barnacle encrusted long line fishing cord wrapped around a young fur seal
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
The steep hillsides of Wireless Hill leading down to the North Head beaches
The steep hillsides of Wireless Hill leading down to the North Head…
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
The ranger descends the track down to Secluded Beach
Ranger Mike descends the track down to Secluded Beach
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
The ranger on Secluded Beach searching for the fur seal pup
Ranger Mike on Secluded Beach searching for the fur seal pup
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Walkway with little tussock grass growth
More before-MIPEP and after-MIPEP photos: the Razorback viewing platform walkway, April 2011
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Viewing platform walkway showing tall tussock grass growth
Post-MIPEP: the Razorback viewing platform walkway, May 2014
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
This page was last modified on 16 December 2010.