A spring snow dusts Macquarie Island while MIPEP hunters continue accumulating kilometres, expeditioners complete the first boat trip of the season and even more stunning photos of wildlife and scenery are shared.

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

October was a further month where no rabbits or signs of rabbits were found.

A standard four week roster again this month with 1475 hours hunted and 3625km covered on foot.   

It is coming up to a year since the last positive rabbit sign was found and since that time (25–11-2011) last year’s team along with the current team have a combined hunting effort of 15000 hours along with 750 hours spotlighting which equates to 34500km of searching coverage.

And although these are impressive figures and a lot of hard slog has been put in across the island, it is pleasing to see the search effort and motivation of the current team remains high.

Ranger in Charge

The rangers (Richard and Paul) and albatross staff (Jaimie and Anna) had a great week last week undertaking field training and works at Hurd Point. A large snowfall event added to the beauty of the island as new staff faced their first deep snow drifts and icy winds.

At this time of the year, the annual census of nesting southern giant petrels is undertaken. Staff are currently walking the coast counting breeding birds sitting on nests. Unlike the northern giant petrels, the southern’s tend to breed in colonies. They are easily stressed so breeding sites are viewed from afar and disturbance is minimised. It is also the time of counting and recording data on skua nests in four study areas across the island. The hunters and dog handlers are assisting in this onerous task, as many kilometres are walked in lines looking for skua nests (and rabbit sign). 


Maintenance and preparation for baseline water sampling has been the focus for the remediation team this week at Macca. A vital part of the project involves the aeration of the soil which enhances the biodegradation of the fuel by the microbes present. The soil at the main power house and the fuel farm is aerated via air sparging spikes under the surface of the soil. Different areas of the sites are aerated at different times with air being delivered to the system through the use of compressors. This week the team has gone out and conducted maintenance which involved cleaning the aeration manifolds and flow meters as well as fixing a faulty solenoid which controls the switching between manifolds and the zones which are receiving air.

The team has also made the most of the good weather over the last couple of days preparing for baseline water sampling. The baseline sampling of water at the sites will give an indication of nutrient concentration at the start of the season prior to the addition of nutrient in the form of liquid fertiliser during the summer season. Water samples will also be obtained during the course of the season to determine hydrocarbon concentrations. Prior to taking these baseline measurements the sampling locations are required to be purged. While most of these sites have been easy to locate a few proved to be a challenge. These were either covered under the sand which had collected over the points during the winter months requiring some digging out or, in a couple of instances, were now located under some resting male elephant seals. The team also conducted a tour of their sites for Dr Mel who was very interested in the work which the team will be carrying out over the summer.

Lauren Wise

First boat trip for the season

When the winds drop below 20 knots it’s time to get the boats out. Our first boating trip for the summer season was conducted on Monday 5th November. Gaz, Greg, Pete, Andrew, Ray and Robby left station at 0830 in two IRBs loaded up with food and fuel needed for Green Gorge. After a successful trip the team were back on station mid afternoon.


Another week focusing on maintenance work on station. Jim the Chippie repaired and raised some of the seal proof fences hoping that by increasing the height of the fences, we could keep the enthusiastic elephant seals away from areas they shouldn’t enter. Station medicals were completed as well as comms upgrades and servicing of machinery and equipment. The new team who arrived on the L’Astrolabe have well and truly settled in. During a run down to Green Gorge in the boats to restock the hut with much needed fuel and food, Ray the electrician was able to replace the tired old wind turbine with a new one.

A few on the team have headed out into the field for work/recreational time now that the weather is improving, with many more trips scheduled in the near future.

The ‘Medieval’ party held when the hunters were on station was a great night and despite having only knives to eat with, we certainly didn’t go without.



Moments in Time

Extracts from Station Logs

November 1964

Middleton confined to bed with upset stomach. Everybody else participated in some way or another either working shifts or other duties dishes etc to allow others to attend, indeed a fine cooperative week, Hague had fires burning at 7am, Walkem continued service to Rushton overhaul but helped with dishes as before indeed fine businesses to aid tired and weary men and appreciated. The active members were Lodwick, Taylor, Allan, Stair, Atkinson and Dart (both night duty) Barratt, King, Gadd, Purchase, Peterson and OIC… “Ding” to celebrate Roger’s birthday nice evening meal and suitable birthday cake decorated by Hague to celebrate the occasion, “Ding” followed meal, consisting of games, met section worked Petersons shift to allow him to “enjoy” himself. Indeed a very hard working week… Very late to bed!

November 1974

People listening to ‘The Cup’, Lee won the sweep. Terry put on beaut dinner with choice of duckling also chocolate mousse.  A good selection of drinks too…despite a meal to linger over and being waited upon most people still gobble like an animal and jump up before some have barely started. Just occasionally people will sit over a meal and I was surprised they didn’t tonight. Replayed the race and handed out the prizes. Oh well! Only Peter and I dressed up at all. Feel worry for Terry a bit after he does such a lot — almost like pearls before swine.

August 1996

Light snow showers in the morning were succeeded by a heavier fall in the late afternoon, delighting the newcomers, but the freezing conditions stopped our water supply again. With so many people here, water is being used at a high rate so water restrictions are on already — no washing machines, flushing only brown toilets and one short shower per day.  

The station is settling down after Voyage 1. Georg’s birthday was celebrated in style in the evening — presents, card, cake etc, culminating in the abrupt deflation of a met balloon blown up in his donga in SAD. Unfortunately that resulted in a cloud of talcum powder which set off the fire alarms so we had an impromptu fire drill in the snow at 0045!