The MIPEP (Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Program) crew were out in force once again in September, spread out between the huts and preparing for a full month in the field.
The rodent team has moved their focus onto the plateau, having completed work on the coast in August. They have started placing even more monitoring gear out, targeting the wide open spaces of the plateau over the coming months.
There were some stunning days during the first week out in the field, with spring becoming more obvious as the days get longer, brighter, and noisier. The change of season became even more apparent when the first seal pups were being born on the beaches as female Elephant seals started to come ashore and the ‘big blokes’ that harass them moved to firm up their position in the hierarchy.
This oasis wasn’t destined to last. On the 12th of September, in typical Macquarie Island fashion, an impressive snow storm swept over the island, halting work everywhere for a three-day period, rendering hunters hut-bound.
The snow fell deep and covered the island thoroughly, transiting or hunting was out of the question. Even keeping the dog kennels visible was a consuming task.
What takes place in field huts around the island in times like these can be interesting… for a certain amount of time before the novelty wore off. At the Bauer Bay house-hold, most of the time was spent cooking food, playing darts, walking and training dogs, beach-trips with the spade, reading and more cooking. Towards the end of the week there was also a ‘’salon’’ moment when everyone endured rather shocking hair styles given to them by the other two hut-mates.
It was of course a relief when Saturday came and we were able to move out again.
The snow was very deep and took it’s time to melt. Some large drifts were encountered on the plateau. The water back at station had frozen in the pipes making life back there a little difficult also.
One more month to go before the L'Astrolabe arrives, so we’re all busy getting things organised for that as well and for the arrival of our new team mates.