This week’s fun entry from Macquarie Island is brought to you by Mel Van Twest and includes stories on work, social activities and more seal pics.

An update from the Ranger in Charge

The monthly marine debris survey was conducted at Bauer Bay on 30 May 2012. The total number of items collected was 350, less than the average for the past 12 months which is 647 items. Persistent snow followed by persistent rain may have contributed to the lower than average result.

An example of what was washed up on the beach: glass fragments, plastic bottles and tops, packaging, timber, plastic bags,  and netting fragments. Materials could have come from anywhere in the world and been in the water for many many months.

Our work

On Tuesday MIPEP arrived back after their first three weeks in the field to more sumptuous food, a hot spa and well-deserved few days off to relax and catch up with everyone else and the world outside. 

Macca's Ranger in Charge, Richard, is also on station to catch up with the MIPEP team and to fulfill some of his admin duties.

On the work front, here’s Mango (one of the Comms team) doing the daily radionuclide testing. Macca is one of 80 radionuclide International Monitoring Sites for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. At each one, every day a filter paper capturing airborne dust particles from the previous 24 hours is compressed, placed in a decay cabinet for a day, and finally examined for radioactivity that may reveal illicit nuclear testing occurring somewhere around the globe.

Search and rescue training

One big event of the past week was our first station SAR (search and rescue) exercise. Poor Tom, drawing on his good acting skills, ‘collapsed’ in Gadget’s Gully while checking the water pipes. He was unable to tell anyone where he was but was heard mumbling “I’m on a yacht with 20 beautiful women”. A team of first responders, and then a stretcher party, ensured he was found, checked out, and safely transported, warm and cosy, back to station.

Keeping up with appearances

After completing a 3 hour hairdressing course in Hobart prior to departing for Macquarie Island, Maria, Robby and Narelle are now fully qualified to style, perm, colour, layer, trim or shape hair and beards. Our motto: ”Tell us what you want and we’ll style how we like”. Narelle found her first live hairdressing victim, volunteer, client over the weekend. Mango’s haircut went so well that Matt jumped in for both a hair and beard trim immediately afterwards, emerging with a very stylish goatee. It’s also worth noting, a free beanie is provided with every hair-do!

Social times at Macca

After Saturday night’s usual sumptuous feast, Jim and Narelle hosted a Macca-themed trivia night, showing us how much we do and don’t notice about our surroundings. The highlight:  a number of our team were required to read from Antarctic books while singing the paragraphs to well known tunes (Spicks and Specks). Note: we have no singing talent on station. To end the night and obtain more points, a scavenger hunt, requiring all sorts of things from the simple (a rock over 5kg) to the quite complex (a well-made chocolate thickshake) and everything in between (a bucket of ocean water, a ball of wool, an eraser and a penguin feather) was organised.

Sunday morning saw a return to the Greenstore Indoor Sports Centre, this time for volleyball. A good couple of games and no injuries, aside from the demise (twice) of the warehouse clock. Good shooting, Matt!

Weekly wildlife photos

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

Don’t miss next week’s bumper edition of Icy News featuring many photos and stories from the MIPEP team.