A snowy week for MIPEP. Cake, cake and more cake. Some great picture in this week’s Macca Gallery.

Caught up in the snow

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.

Cake, cake and more cake

During the last week there were three expeditioners who celebrated their birthday.

Last Saturday, the 14th Barend (Barry) celebrated his day, by working his shift at the weather office, then partaking in a lovely Thai meal specially prepared by Chef for the occasion. After the meal a scrumptious chocolate mud cake (also made by Chef Tony) was brought out. Baz had no trouble blowing out the four candles and then slicing up the cake and offering a piece to anyone who was nearby. He was heard to remark ‘that’s another year closer to retirement.’

The party was short lived, as he had to perform other station duties.

Two days later (16th Sep) it was Patty’s turn. The dinner theme for her night was South American — the national flag of Chile was draped over one wall of the mess, and the music playing in the background had a Latin American beat. Again after the delicious dinner a beautifully decorated cake (by Karen) was brought out, accompanied by a enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday. The cake was expertly decorated with an image (made out of brown icing sugar of Pachamama which translates to ‘Mother Earth’ in some South American countries.

The next day (17th Sep) our illustrious FTO (Field Training Officer) Marty celebrated his birthday. He was sure it was going to be a quiet affair, but unbeknown to him everyone dressed in fancy dress for an all-station meeting which was broadcast live to the other Australian Antarctic bases and a big audience at Kingston. It didn’t help matters (keeping it quiet) when Marty’s birthday was mentioned in dispatches.

Later that evening another great meal was served, which included beef Wellington and amazing lamb cutlets. The cake that followed was a masterpiece in cake decoration. A pyramid tent adorned a corner of the cake, complete with tent pegs and guy ropes. In front of the tent was a fire place with the fire made up of six candles. It had a track across the cake, complete with track markers and to complete the theme, three different knots were represented — made of ‘icing’ ropes.

A big thank you to Kaz for the cake decorating and all those who helped chef Tony prepare the meals for these three monumental occasions. 

Macca Gallery

In this weeks Macca Gallery, we see that there have been more photo opportunities as the wildlife returns.

We also have more picture of the big snowfall and the deep freeze that we experienced over the last week out in the field and also locally on station.