While your usual news correspondent and our intrepid station leader hikes into the wild Macca interior, your guest editor this week is once again Mel, the station doctor.We feature a shock protest over the result of the midwinter tug-o-war, an insight into the MIPEP way of life, some spectacular photos of night and day and the less-cute side of Macca wildlife.

Midwinter tug-a-war competition official protest lodged

An official protest has been lodged with the MIAB (Macquarie Island Appeals Board — a neutral body) by the Australian team requesting a review of a series of photographs taken during the tug-a-war match between the Macquarie Island National teams for Australia and New Zealand. It was noted in one of the This week at Macquarie Island photos, the Kiwi team was placed in an advantageous position for both of the games when they were pulling from the northern side of the station.

The official protest made by a person wishing to remain nameless (as he feels there may be ‘payback’) has stated “Ooiiee I want to protest. They used the walkway matting as ‘grip’ aaarrrhhhhh that’s not on. We should have won” — or words to that effect.

The MIAB has since reviewed the photo in question, and others taken on the day, and unanimously concluded: the Code of Macquarie Island Tug-A-War rules’ have been seriously breached.

To ensure the decision by the MIAB cannot be challenged the below photos show clearly:

Photo 1 — first round of tug-a-war match: Mr Jack XX, Kiwi, resident of Donga No. 6, Hass House, Macquarie Island is standing on the ‘non-slip mat’.

Photo 2 — round two: the Australian national team are using ‘slippery mud’ for grip. There is no evidence the mat was used to their advantage.

Photo 3 — round three: again, Mr Jack XX, Kiwi, resident of Donga No. 6, Hass House, Macquarie Island is standing on the ‘non-slip mat’.

The MIAB have concluded:

The Australian team were disqualified for cheating Round 1 — the match was automatically awarded to the Kiwis.

The Kiwis also used the mat in round 1 to their advantage therefore the disqualified game (as per above — awarded to the Aussies) receives a double disqualification: no winner.

Round two was won by the Australians.

Round three — again disqualified due to the Kiwis using the mat to their advantage.

One could conclude the trophy and the honour of being named the ‘2012 Tug-a-war’ winner should be handed over to the Australians, and rightly so. However the MIAB, after hours of deliberation have decided a rematch will occur at the end of the month and numerous cameras and the webcam will be used for evidence. The MIAB have also concluded, due to the evidence presented, there will be no toss of the coin, the Australians will be positioned from the northern end of the station for round 1 and 3.

The MIAB have now ‘shut up shop’ for the year so no further discussions on the above will take place. Holding a rematch is final!

MIAB (Macquarie Island Appeals Board)

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

Choc chip cookies travel 1500km

A few weeks ago we enjoyed some freshly baked choc chip cookies.

One of the expeditioner’s mums had been organised enough to send down her daughter’s favourite recipe for choc chip cookies which made its way to our chef, Maria.

Master chef Maria then whipped up a fairly large batch and we all enjoyed a special treat. Only later did we find the true level of effort gone to by this mum who had actually shopped for all the ingredients in Hobart and managed to get these on the boat too. Impressive. Luckily the slight embarrassment suffered by the daughter was only short lived.


At the start of June our trip out to the hunting blocks was definitely a challenging one. The two day trip down to Hurd Point was certainly slowed by plenty of fresh snow and high winds. And even when the snow had stopped, the snow drifts seemed to deepen with each extra few kilometres hiked. However, what seemed to be the start of a very long winter was soon looking far more promising. After a few days we were presented with about a week of almost perfect winter conditions. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets dependent on which side of the island you were working, some clear and sunny skies, and yes the best: no wind. The stillness actually took a little while to get used to as it has been such a rare event. Lakes had exact reflections of the surrounding mountains, mist streamed around the coastline and conversations could be held with fellow hunting partners. It was all good.

Lauren Koehler (MIPEP Hunter)

Heavens above

Since arriving at Macca, we've been treated to some spectacular light shows in the skies.

When we're lucky enough to strike it for a clear(ish) night, plenty of solar wind activity and not too much moon, the Aurora Australis can be seen shimmering and undulating across the sky, sometimes so bright that it lights up the ground beneath it.

It often doesn’t look as colourful as the photos suggest. The light has to be fairly intense to trigger the colour receptors in the human eye but fortunately, cameras don’t have the same limitations. 

We have a number of keen aurora-chasers, and here’s a selection of their best photos.  

Sweeping vistas

One of the great innovations of digital photography is the ability to create stunning panoramic photos, an essential on Macca where the views travel through well over 180 degrees.

Here’s a selection of shots from a variety of places, and a variety of subjects, that give you some idea of the beautiful scenes we get to see.

You can view the full-scale panoramas by clicking on the thumbnails below.

Work and play

“But what do you REALLY do down there with your time?” I hear you asking…

Answer: Lots!

Here’s some shots of work, play, station and field, to show you. 

Creatures great and small

The wildlife here on Macquarie Island is so impressive that one is often overwhelmed with seals and birds. It’s hard to remember that some of it is hidden in tiny places.

But for those willing to get down and dirty (and wet) in rock pools, dodging elephant seals and keeping an eye on the tide, there are little unexpected treasures to be found.

(Big thanks to Dr Cath King for helping us identify what we're finding down here through the Marine Invertebrate Sampling Program that came to Macca last summer, and will do so again next.)

Of course, the larger inhabitants are always around making themselves at home and looking wonderful, except when they are dining out on one of their deceased Macca colleagues (no respect for the dead around here).

Finally, we couldn’t finish up without at least one cute animal shot, and one sunset.