Macca’s final 2012 edition includes visiting tourists, orcas and the usual (but never ordinary) tales of work and photos of all there is to find on this beautiful, remote island. Wishing our friends, family, colleagues and our Antarctic friends a very Mery Christmas.

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

Another month nearly completed for the hunters in the field as they look forward to an extended break on station for Christmas and New Year celebrations. During the past week some of the team have doubled up as tour guides for the 150+ tourists on the Spirit of Enderby and the Orion, enjoying a lunch of very fresh fruit and salads. Those who missed out will definitely get the opportunity as more tourist ships are heading our way in January and February.

Some of the hunters watched the Spirit of Enderby and the Orion from the east coast escarpment and were able to talk to the rangers on board via VHF radio. The topic of conversation was “What fruit have you eaten?” followed by “We’re heading back to the hut to eat sultanas”.

Ranger in Charge

The tourist ship season kicked off at Macquarie Island this week with a very successful start consisting of visits from the Spirit of Enderby and the MV Orion. Rich and Paul spent the early part of the week getting ready to showcase the island to the visitors by sprucing up the two viewing platforms near station, erecting some interpretation signs and briefing other staff who have volunteered to assist with guiding the visitors on the island.

The ranger’s job is part showcasing this wonderful island and its wildlife to the visitors and part ensuring visitors follow the biosecurity procedures that are in place to protect the island from incursions of invasive species.

The Spirit of Enderby arrived at Macquarie Island on Thursday night and Friday morning it picked up the guides for the trip down to Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay is one of the two locations that visitors can come ashore at Macquarie Island and have the opportunity to view king and royal penguins, elephant seals, giant petrels, the Macquarie Island shag and some of the staff and hunting dogs that work on the island. This was followed up later in the day with a cruise in the IRBs (inflatable boats) past the massive king penguin rookery at Lusitania Bay.

The MV Orion called in on Sunday and toured the station, the surrounding beaches and finished up with afternoon tea in the mess. Monday was a fairly blustery day with the island shrouded in fog but that just added to the mystique of the island as passengers approached the shore at Sandy Bay to view the king and royal penguin rookeries.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for all involved as the visitors get to appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of a penguin rookery bursting at the seams with chicks, moulting penguins, penguins sitting on eggs and the ever present skuas ready to swipe an egg or a chick and the benefits of programs such as the Pest Eradication Project that will ensure that the island remains a suitable habitat for all of the wildlife that lives there.

An added bonus for these trips for staff and visitors was an opportunity for Station Leader Narelle Campbell to catch up with some old friends, MIPEP dog handler/hunter Karen Andrew to catch up with her parents Doug and Jill, Hunter Stuart Johnson to meet some distant relatives and other PWS staff to meet with PWS General Manager Peter Mooney who was on board as the New Zealand Department of Conservation representative. It’s been a visit that has left lots of people buzzing.

Paul Black


Remediation program

It was a somewhat quieter week for the team of Charles and Lauren but still a good amount of work was covered on the Remediation Program. Last week the team had completed the round of water sampling post nutrient addition. Lauren commenced analysis of the water samples for nutrients last week in the lab with several dilutions of some samples required for ammonia analysis. The remainder of the nutrient analyses will hopefully be completed prior to Christmas. (YAY!) The water samples have also been extracted for hydrocarbon analysis which will occur on return of the samples to Kingston, Tasmania at the end of the field season.

Whilst Lauren has been busy playing lab boffin, Charles has been out at the MPH site relocating the aeration sparges. The relocation of the sparges will ensure that all areas of the remediation site are receiving sufficient air and nutrients. Once this is completed in the MPH, the team will move onto the fuel farm for some more relocation of air sparges. These will be a little more challenging to say the least.

The next time we give an update the team will have expanded with the arrival of Josie, Grant, Alex and Corrine just after Christmas.

Finally Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all from the Remediation Team here at Macca!

Lauren and Charles

Albatross update

The albatross team has headed back into the field for a quick trip down island before Christmas. The team have made their way down to Hurd Point checking on their light-mantled sooty albatross sites on the east coast and looking out for wandering albatross on the west coast between Handspike Point and Aurora Point. The team are currently working out of Hurd Point in the southwest region of the island checking on the returning wandering albatross. They will return to station around the 23rd of December.


Meanwhile…on station the team celebrated two birthdays (Pete and Tom), geared up for boating and prepared for and entertained over 150 excited passengers who came ashore to visit our wonderful island.


All creatures, great and small


Moments in Time

Entries from old station logs

Saturday 21st Dec, 1963

6.30 rise, no shower, fuel pipe line broke again. Seas very rough, Army crew risked their lives in the DUKWS getting cable out to the ship. Helped load flying fax before lunch. All hands helped get pipe line ashore after lunch. Pumping started again at 4pm. Don and Phil inspected Gadgets Gully for new water supply, returned 6:30pm. Talked with Styles and Ellwood before dinner, main visitors left the base at 8pm. All hands very tired, all in bed at 9:30pm except for Lance who is still on fuel pumping, bed 11:30pm

Thursday 20th Dec, 1973

Good day — later blue sky and sun. Little wind getting less in evening, practically calm. Myself — at Wireless Hill observing up to 100 N.Z. fur seals, one Kerguelen fur seal (young one) and many Gentoo and Rockhoppers. Also skuas, sooty’s and elephant seal. Dead NZ fur seal. Skeleton fur seal. Dead and rotting elephant seal. Cary checking installations, cables etc. Ralph helping Brian set out garage floor area. John on plateau trying to repair cable to seismograph hut. Old seismograph in service meanwhile Dennis checking ozone gear. Chris repairing aerials and other equipment. Now appears to have all things working. 2.30 H.O sched was practically hopeless due to fading and atmospherics. Only catch the odd word. Film of night. Sealers Inn being used too.

December 25th, 1977

Excellent day… Fred did a very fine Father Christmas distributing presents to all. Alex was presented with the Macquarie Island bible which was signed by all (Cumpston).

The Hasselborough Bay Hooligans played the Buckle Bay Bonshees at Afghan Croquet in the afternoon, the score is unknown. The game vaguely resembles Shinty (Scottish game) or hockey but is more violent. Plans a foot to challenge the Nella Dan. Sarah the only one injured with a whack to the forehead.

Friday 19th April, 1996

The Mess continues to dominate our lives, but is now much less of a mess with all the construction rubbish out, and today the floor scrubbed. Now the furniture is starting to go back in. Within a week it should be habitable again — and looking so much better than before. Another historical photograph was taken there, in much less formal pose, to be secreted behind the dartboard backing as a historical document to be discovered by some future ANARE refurbishing team. Paul M and Damon off into the field to put our track markers as well as enjoy a break away, Sue still out and Ingrid doing her fur seal recording at Secluded beach. Tracy weighing … seals on the Isthmus, today with help from Warren and Steve. Friday drinks in the warm ambience of the Emergency Powerhouse.