Lots of activity in the field this week at Macquarie Island and an interview with Rowena the ranger.

Station update

This week on station we celebrated the birthday of our plumber Tim A. Chef Jimmy prepared a model of the incinerator that we use here on Macca, locally known as Warren. As the lights dimmed, and expeditioners found their finest singing voices, Chef Jimmy emerged from the kitchen carrying a fully serviceable ‘smoking’ incinerator cake. When Tim cut it open it spilled out a load of lollies — a nice change for Tim as usually Warren only spills out ash for him!

Rich and Jane headed out to the south of the island, with Rich (communications tech) assisting Jane in her research into the weed Stellaria media. Jane’s project assistant Karen continued collecting and retrieving soil samples all over the island, in some wet and windy Macca weather.

Doc Mal and Jimmy headed out to Bauer Bay and Brothers Point to work on rotating the hut stores ready for the new food stocks to arrive on the resupply voyage. On the way they joined Rangers Paul and Rowena in completing the monthly marine debris collection on the beach at Bauer Bay.

The week was rounded out by a games night last week. ‘Cook your own BBQ’ was set up on the front deck, and was novelty to many of us who haven’t barbecued up our own meal for close to 12 months! Inside, the mess was reconfigured into an indoor sports games room complete with table tennis, foosball, and the highlight of the night: Giant Jenga which provided hours of entertainment with some spectacular feats of structural engineering being achieved. Particularly impressive was Dan who managed to pull out the bottom block without the stack tipping over, and Jimmy and Tim whose battle resulted in a tower close to 180 cm tall. An open mic was set up in the corner, and a host of musicians who’d been keeping their talents under wraps all season — Dan, Kim, Lou and Mal — emerged to entertain the crew.

On the wildlife front, some large beach masters are now returning to the island, looking much larger and fatter than when we last saw them after defending their harems throughout the breeding season.

An eerie fog rolled in last in the week, draping itself over the station. Those fortunate enough to be working on the plateau that day were bathed in beautiful sunshine and spectacular views of North Head appearing like an island in the mist.

Jacque Comery

The green sponge interview series — Rowena L

Name: Rowena Lundie

Nicknames: Ro, Rowie, Rosie

From: Tassie (Tasmania, Australia)

Previous seasons? First one!

Job: Summer Ranger

Hobbies: Stand-up paddle boarding, diving, running, baking, reading

Tell us about the project work that you are doing on Macca this summer: (What is the project, what field activities are you up to, etc.)

As one of the rangers, I get to do a bit of everything! Tour guiding for the cruise ships, wildlife monitoring, bio-security, marine debris, infrastructure maintenance, the list goes on.

How does this season at Macca compare to your previous seasons down south?

I’d only been south to Macca for a resupply voyage before, so it’s nice to actually get to stay this time!

What is your favourite part of your job here at Macca?

Getting to visit some of the more remote parts of the island, and the wildlife.

If you were exiled to Bishop and Clerk Islands to the south of Macca, what four things would you take with you?

All the warm clothes, music, red wine, and a boat.

What song sums up your Macquarie Island experience so far?

Ma Baker by Boney M. After hearing it I cannot get it out of my head for days, much to Mark Bakers’ disgust!

Favourite element of the Macca weather?

Sunshine amongst the rain on a wild, stormy day.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 68th ANARE season here at Macca?

Someone short! Probably some unknown actor.

Favourite hut or walking route?

The west coast on a sunny day. 

If you were not a ranger what would be your dream job?

Being a ranger is pretty good but maybe something where I get paid a lot of money to travel.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division/Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife kit?

Neck muff.

It is the year 2115 on Macca. What is the coolest thing we have on station and why?

Hoverboard. Introduced after rangers started disappearing in the giant tussock…

Please name the royal penguin on our 68th ANARE logo.


What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? A particular favourite?

A bit of everything, though I've been told I like ‘bum wiggling’ music! Anything from Courtney Barnett to Michael Jackson, bad 80s and 90s hits, Latin, reggae, soul, blues, crazy fiddle bands, with a chunk of alternative folk and electro. 

Describe your Macca experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

  • Sight: tussock slope on a windy day
  • Smell: elephant seal wallow mingling with rotting kelp
  • Sound: squabbling of a large royal colony in the distance
  • Feeling: vastness of the ocean and remoteness from the rest of the world
  • Taste: how good hot hut food tastes after a long day in the field!

Settlers of Catan, or Darts?

Neither, though darts if pressed.

Where’s Wally?

During the season, an eagle-eyed expeditioner spotted a leucistic royal penguin among the colony at Sandy Bay. Leucistic penguins have a reduced level of pigmentation, so they appear much lighter than their fully pigmented neighbours (but not quite like an albino penguin). Ranger in Charge Paul turned one of his photos of the leucistic penguin into a ‘Where’s Wally?' challenge as a novel smoko (morning tea) puzzle. Can you find it?

The last word