We celebrate Craig’s birthday, visit to the inner sanctum of hydroponics, get a MIPEP perspective and we boat southward towards Mt Jeffryes.

Celebrating Craig’s birthday!

On Monday 20 May we celebrated young Craig’s birthday! Out came the balloons and streamers of blue and yellow to represent his favourite Rugby League team, the Parramatta Eels.

We celebrate this young lad and keen sports fanatic — the kind of guy that enters an 82 kilometre trail run from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair limited to 50 runners just for fun, an unstoppable darts fiend who carves up the mess dance floor on late nights and is known to sing, hitting the high notes while he sleeps.

For his birthday he received a toy telephone, a fishing and golf magazine and a handcrafted bottle opener made by Dave.

The night included a few beverages at the bar and a game of darts followed by a delicious variety of pasta dishes and a scrumptious rainbow flavoured Parramatta Eels cake made by our chef Tony and decorated by Patty.

As he blew the candles out on his birthday cake, we saw Craig transform before our very eyes from young lad into a chest beating man of men.

Happy birthday Craig - you’re a little ripper!

Bringing the greens to the table

Well it’s all happening in our hydroponics thanks to the masters Aaron and Craig. The pair have been planting seedlings, caring and nurturing for them with all their loving hearts.

Chinse whispers is that the secret to their success of such tasty veggies is in the serenading and crooning of each plant.

The plants are busting out the loving in gratitude! We’ve had some amazing lettuce and blow-your-mind tasting rocket lettuce so far and there’s more to come.

The boys have planted zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, silver beat, okra and sage - yep, yep, yep! The greenhouse is pumping.

Thanks boys - we look forward to the tasty ‘freshies'.

On the hunt

The MIPEP hunting team have been perusing the hills of Macquarie monitoring the island for the final signs of any last remaining rabbits. The 2013 team arrived in March of this year and are into their second month of solid monitoring.

The island is split into three hunting or monitoring blocks that are being scoured with a fine-toothed comb using a combination of scenting dogs and hunters to scope the ground. May saw our first real fall of snow for the year, an event that can assist the monitoring process as the snow would easily show any prints or recent sign.

The team splits its time between daytime and night work, spotlighting on the clear nights to cover the ground using a variety of hunting techniques. By the end of a year, each and every aspect of the island will have been searched by the team.

Every team member will have a strong recognition of the topography and a strong connection with the features of this land: the cycle of vegetation, the cycle of wildlife and the cycle of the sun as we enter the shortest days of the year in the coming month.

Featured below are some shots from team members in the field - their place of work and residence.

Down to Mt Jeffryes by boat

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