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.
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.
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.
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!