Last week the VHF Repeater (Channel 21) on top of Mt Jeffryes stopped operating. A plan was devised to get the repeater up and going again.
Because certain equipment had to be transported to the repeater a boating trip was organized to get the gear near to the base of Mt Jeffryes, which is around 27 kilometres south of the station. The weather cooperated and the boat trip was organized for Saturday. After setting up three IRB’s, nine crew headed down to Landing Beach and were on the water heading south around 10am.
As the days are getting shorter we made a beeline for the coastal area at the base of Mt Jeffryes. It was a stunning trip south with the sun poking through the clouds every now and then enhancing the beautiful vivid colours of the eastern island slopes. Fortune was on our side as one of the crew spotted a whale further out to sea. It was an awesome sight seeing the small dorsal fin and fluked tail occasionally break through. We passed the familiar Brothers Point Hut and further south we saw three small figures of Dean, Tom and Mike on the balcony of Green Gorge Hut.
Being out on the boats gives one an amazing perspective of Macca’s rugged coastline. The scenery is just stunning. We soon passed Waterfall Bay Hut and then another highlight as we continued south past Lusitania Bay and its huge number of resident king penguins. Soon after Lusitania Bay we arrived at the coast directly under the slopes of Mt Jefferyes. We slowly scoured the rocky coast looking for a suitable landing spot. There were four waterfalls flowing down the steep ravines into the preferred bay, but the southerly swell made it difficult for a safe landing. After careful deliberation it was decided to try further north for a wider beach landing. The final choice was a long pebble beach north of the penguin colonies at Lusatania Bay.
All three IRB’s landed on the beach and our two passengers - Greg and Mark — disembarked with all the required gear, while the rest of the crew steadied the boats. Steve and Angela, a couple of the MIPEP crew, were up on the slopes and would slowly make their way down to meet up with Greg and Mark so as to give them a hand to carry the gear up the steep slopes.
The three boats then proceeded north again. This time, we were fortunate to witness the pronounced dorsal fins of two killer whales. They popped up around 300 metres seaward of our boats. We also saw a ‘raft’ of many giant petrels who were feeding on the scraps left by the feeding orcas. We had a quick lunch stop at Green Gorge hut, where we were warmly greeted by Tom, Mike and Dean. After a nice hot cuppa, it was back on the water with Dean and Tom replacing the two we left down the coast. The return journey north was just as spectacular, even more comfortable as we were now heading in the same direction as the decreasing swell. Again we saw four orca dorsal fins out to sea.
After covering a total distance of 64 kilometres we arrived back at Landing Beach around 3:30pm. We then had the boats cleaned and all the gear packed away a little after 4pm.
It was a very successful trip.
Barend (Barry) Becker