Macquarie Island always has plenty to offer with stories about ongoing work, play and plenty of stunning images of landscapes and wildlife. This week sees penguins and seals in abundance!

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

After another month in the field the hunters are due to return to station on Sunday (28th) however this time things will appear a little different. A ship (L’Astrolabe) would have come and gone leaving six summer personnel ashore, one tonne of cargo (including lots of mail and fresh food) and have taken Mango (an expeditioner) home.

So what will be different when they return to station?

  • Six new faces (Jaimie, Anna, Charles, Greg, Paul and Lauren)
  • One missing face (Mango)
  • Lots of mail and cargo including fresh oranges and apples, gifts and other parcels, new comfortable boots, soft spongy walking socks and hopefully a few surprises from home
  • An additional table and chairs in the mess

However before the ship arrives and the team walk back to station there’s still a few more days of tramping to do and Dave B is dropping in on the team at the various huts on the island to say hello and download data from everyone’s GPS for the past number of weeks. We are all wondering if Dave cooks better than Pete?

Ranger In Charge

Grow, grow, grow

It appears the further you move towards the poles the greater the pressure for animals to reproduce quickly and efficiently. It is all now happening on Macquarie Island. 

Skinny female elephant seals are weaning pups, mating and taking to the water again in search of food. Gentoo penguin chicks appear to be doubling in size on a weekly basis. Northern giant petrel chicks have hatched and grey petrel chicks have all taken to the skies having fledged their winter burrows. Southern giant petrels are laying eggs as are the grey-headed albatross and skuas. Census work on these animals will soon commence with the arrival of the summer ranger and albatross staff this week. 

Even the daylight hours are growing rapidly with each day, approximately 4.5 minutes longer than the previous. That is half an hour of extra light each week! Sunrise is currently at 4:45am and sunset 7:30pm.

Finally the science building is sparkling after a spring clean plus repolish and seal of the vinyl flooring (no pun intended). 

On Station

At the time of writing ‘This Week at Macquarie Island’ the station based team were preparing for the arrival of L’Astrolabe which we expect will appear on the horizon the afternoon of Friday 26th.  Boats and cage pallets are ready to be transported to Landing Beach, bedrooms cleaned and made up (with five ‘Roses’ chocolates on each pillow) and all buildings on station have been dusted, vacuumed and wiped clean.

Mango started to pack his personnel effects into containers and Pete, Jim, Matt, Richard and Narelle were involved in a video meeting to discuss biosecurity requirements.

Also during the week a photo emerged of Steve and Karen leaning into a very strong wind (a few weeks ago gusts reached 65 knots) and ‘Ten Men’ Robby (knick named because he does the work of ten men) was servicing machinery in the mechanical workshop. We also found him in the boat shed, hydroponics, the green store, main power house and the post office.

Moments in Time

26th October , 1964

6:00am rise. Cool, light misty rain at times, west winds. OIC repaired catwalk broken by seals overnight, cleaned up every area then painted undercoats on cold/wet porch. Discussed Calwells condition with Middleton. Allan and McDonald departed for Green Gorge at 0830 hours.

Walkem used TD6 to clean up Garden Cove, West of No. 6 Store and around flag pole. Taylor commenced service / overhaul to No. 6 refrigeration. Seal pups made large wallow west side met filling shed, splashing new paint work, Walkem also cleaned up this area with TD6. Peterson renovating old radar store for use in late November as temporary met office. Barratt appears to have traced faults in radar. Both field parties kept good radio skeds from Baurer Bay and Green Gorge. Hague busy banding and had many sightings of skuas.  Bed 11pm.

26th October, 1996

Apart from an early shower, a very pleasant day compared to most recent ones : mild, wild below 20 knots, and periodic short sunny periods. Saturday duties included some practical SAR work for those staying past changeover, and work with T+RTA cage pallets and in the store as part of the preparations for resupply.

The evening provided the occasion for the Macca Oktoberfest. Rick and Ray were mainly in charge of the food, and produced spit-roast beef, sausages, sauerkraut etc. While Paul M organised a blind tasting competition including eleven beverages (2 ciders, 4 homebrews and 5 commercial beers). This provoked much interest, especially when Alison won, with only 6 correct identifications. There were many fancy costumes, mostly involving imitation lederhosen, but with a fascinating group of very large buxom blonde barmaids as well. There was much innovation dancing, but the last to bed left at 1:30am — people are in most cases pretty tired there days from long hours of constant work, especially the Elephant Seal Researchers.


Macquarie Island, all creatures great and small