Settling into winter with quiz night and some icy weather.

Weekly station update

The winter weather has settled in nicely here at Macca. Snowfalls continued into the middle of the week on the plateau, offering some interesting walking conditions for some of us who have been out and about.

Jacque and Louise ventured down to Green Gorge with their quilting project packed in their packs. Rich, Justin and Lou headed out to Bauer Bay for the long weekend, and our rangers, assisted by Duncan, embarked on some day trips to North Head to monitor grey petrel burrows. 

This week we also undertook the census of the king penguin chicks at Gadgets gully. This is a deceptively tricky task which involves watching the chicks through binoculars and clicking a ‘clicker’ each time you count one. Sounds simple but they waddle around and flap about, both confusing your counting and making you giggle all at once. 

World Environment Day was celebrated on station with a BBQ dinner and education night at the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife offices. Andrea and Anna, our rangers, hosted us and presented an interesting session on various Macquarie Island sea birds, and banding and tagging of wildlife. A marine debris clean-up picnic was proposed for the northern featherbed for Saturday, however it was postponed due to some less than splendid weather arriving.

Justin hosted ‘Pasta and Trivia Night’ to kick off the Queen’s Birthday weekend, which saw expeditioners divide into teams to compete (some more fiercely than others), for the trivia crown. An entertaining evening of fun facts and silly antics prevailed, and a great time was had by all. Rich even radioed in from Bauer Bay hut to deliver a bonus points round.

Excitement on station is building around our upcoming midwinter celebrations and swim. Some are practicing acts for the entertainment portion of the evening, whilst others seem to be off working on ‘secret projects’.

Finally, in the words of A.B. Patterson: “there was movement at the station for the word had got around”. The word — and we have no idea what that word actually is — is out amongst the elephant seals this week. Our isthmus inhabiting friends have become rather active and have started posturing and ‘play’ fighting, usually in the middle of the road when Nick needs to get a machine out, or at 2030 at night when our BoM observers are trying to get back down to the balloon shed to do the evening balloon release. The gate now stays firmly closed, lest they are planning a takeover of sorts.

Quiz night

Last Saturday night, we followed up a delicious meal of pasta with a quiz night. Justin was the quizmaster, and the three teams — red, green and blue — were drawn out of a hat. The green team had a cool as cucumber air about them, the blue team went for the intellectual look with the highest ratio of spectacles, and the red team tried to make up in attitude what they lacked in trivia knowledge.

In between each quiz round, the quizmaster had devised games to keep the crowd entertained and offer teams the chance for bonus points. Jacque, rarely one to be tongue-tied, showed her prowess in the in-your-mouth jelly snake tying competition. Dan and Nick immersed themselves in the apple bobbing while Louise took a more delicate approach which yielded the first apple. Dan’s usual gusto saw him pull out two apples in quick succession to pip the others at the post. He was the apple of the red team’s eye.

Next up was a chocolate search, the trick being that the squares of chocolate were hidden in trays of flour and competitors could not use their hands. Robed and goggled, Mark, Andrea and Anna dove into their trays. Mark transformed himself into an air gun and started blowing all the flour out of his tray while the rangers searched for their chocolate with the thoroughness you would expect from two women practised at searching for burrowing petrels in head-high tussock. Mark’s method made the most mess, but it was Anna who uncovered a chocolate square to emerge victorious.

Lastly, there was a dry Weet-Bix eating challenge. Marion grabbed an early Weet-Bix and the lead but succumbed quickly to the lure of liquid assistance. Jacque followed her wayward example but Duncan persisted valiantly without water and was awarded the points.

Overall, the blue team got the most points but I think all would agree that trivia and useless, best-kept-hidden talents, were the winner.

The last word…