We celebrate our halfway point; seal numbers are growing; Marty finally makes it to Lusi and we look at how Brothers Point Hut came to be.

Halfway to RTA

With the most recent rejig of the shipping schedule, last Saturday was our official ‘Halfway to RTA’ day, so a ‘come as your favourite musical person’ music quiz was held in our new look post office to mark the occasion.

Everyone got into the fancy dress theme, and Rocket and Joe did a great double act as hosts, with Rocket making some very creative combinations from finds in the costume store for his ‘Who Am I?' games. A good night had by all.

Seal census

We've started our annual elephant seal census period for this year, that means counting the females on the isthmus beaches around station every Sunday.

First Sunday we had just over 200 cows, however week two (last Sunday) had us at almost 700. Those very cute pups are popping out everywhere!

Lusi at last!

Prior to embarking for Macquarie Island, I had listened with interest to many past and current expeditioners who have experienced the island talk enthusiastically about Lusitania Bay and it’s famed king penguin colony. So Lusitania Bay, or “Lusi” as it is affectionately known as, has been a place I have long held in fascination and a visit there ranked very high on my Macca “must do” list.

On my previous attempts to visit Lusi, I have been thwarted by either injured body parts resulting from various misadventures, or poor weather which have prevented me from proceeding not much further south than Green Gorge. However, just recently, my work roster, a recovering body and a favourable weather outlook (sunny was even stated in a forecast) all aligned perfectly to have another crack.

And what a cracker time it proved to be. I hiked the Tiobunga Track which I had only partially hiked before and I also completed the Jesse Niccol, Mt Martin, ABC and South Lusitania Tracks, all new experiences to me and for much of it I was accompanied by an unfamiliar figure — my shadow.

As I descended down Lusitania Creek, the smell of the approaching penguin colony warned me of the sensory onslaught I was about to encounter, and I realised my original plans of having lunch at Lusi were perhaps ill-conceived. As I emerged from the creek, I too was overwhelmed by the spectacular view, the smell (not too bad after the initial sniff) and the noise of 150,000 penguins as have all those before me.

Feeling that I was imposing on the penguins, I didn’t stay long but got to appreciate what a special place Lusi is. So it has taken me six months to eventually get there, but I have got to Lusi at last and as brief as the visit was, the vivid memories shall remain forever.

Martin Greer

Photo points update

An interesting development, somewhat unintended over the last few weeks of the photo-point sequence has been the weather comparison over that time. Macca it seems is not immune to the greater changes in weather being experienced at home. We’ve now had three successive Wednesday afternoons (when the photos are taken) on relatively fine weather and very low wind. Our current conditions are ideal for the IRB field hut resupply task (that will have been completed we hope by the time you read this story).

So, what developments in the photo series? All still quite subtle but compared to the first photo taken on 12 September, spring is ticking along just fine.

Density and size of elephant seal harems continues to increase. Our small harem down near the clean air lab has moved south along the beach slightly, just out of view of the photo point, but the trick is to continue with the same view point that we started with to observe change over time. The harem closest to the chopper pads continues to grow in size slowly — our biggest harem on the west coast beach now numbers over 180 breeding cows. The closer images that we’ll include each week will perhaps show more detail.

The vegetation images taken up on Wireless Hill continue to show subtle changes — once again considering there has now been three successive photos over the three weeks. Mega herbs continue to gently emerge from the depths of winter.

I’m down island next week, so it may be a fortnight before we see the next image set.

Welcome to Macca time — life just keeps gently ticking along…

Chris Howard


Brothers Point Hut log 8/1/96 — Darron Lehmann

An experience not to be missed.

Better than sky diving, bungi jumping or even shooting the rapids.

For that extra adrenaline rush why not try pitting your whits (sic) against “Killer Googie”. You too can be knocked off a hillside or squashed deep into the peat for future preservation.

“Killer Googie”, it never rests, it will get you. Only the “Googie Busters” can save you.

“Killer Googie”

Coming to your cinema soon.

Bring a change of shorts.

After finding an entry like that on page two of the inaugural Brothers Point hut log, I, of course, had to do some further research to find out how this had all unfolded.

As mentioned last week, Sandy Bay Hut was retired from active service in September ‘96 but before this could be done, a replacement needed to be up and running and Brothers Point was the location chosen for the new hut. Off the beach about 1km south of the Sandy Bay hut, this hut location is incredibly picturesque with views all the way down Sandy Bay. A ‘Googie’ hut left over from the 1992 Heard Island expedition had become the new Waterfall Bay hut in 1993, so it was decided to use another for the new Brothers Point location.

Installation of the hut on site was carried out on 8/1/96 by Rick Besso, Scobie Pye, Joel Seymour and Darron Lehmann, and as noted from the entry above, came with some excitement and drama.

Station log 8/1/96

…The most exciting moment concerns the new googie hut which flies ashore on a long strop very slowly, looking quite extraordinary. But there is great concern as it seems to be too heavy, hence its delivery initially to the helipad… whilst the Squirrel is stripped of extraneous weight — doors, seats etc — and a shorter, round cross-section strap is prepared. Finally it takes to the air again (just) and flies around the Nuggets and to Sandy Bay where Rick, Darron, Scobie and Joel await it. After some exciting and dangerous exertion, they finally get it on its supporting ring, albeit a little crookedly and facing the wrong direction.

Brothers Point hut log 8/1/96 — Rick Besso

Trying to drop the googie onto the ring was a six pack experience. After hitting and dislodging the ring, dropping it into the creek, chasing Darron across the (illegible?) nearly making Scobie and Joel the same shape as the googie, it was eventually located ‘sort of’ on to the ring. I think that Steve, the chopper pilot, considered early retirement after this experience… May all who come to seek shelter within these walls enjoy the peace and serenity of this beautiful place.

Brothers Point Hut log 8/1/96 — Darron Lehmann

Standing at the new Brothers Point site we knew that the siting of the googie wasn’t going to be easy. The first real indication was watching the giant orange smartie’s approach, low over the ocean… Deploying the googie involved less reliance on engineering technique and more on the shield of ANARE resupply. After several stabs at dropping the googie into the ring, and a lot of running away, we subdued the newly named ‘killer googie’ into its cage.

Station log 9/1/96

By 0730 the boats are on the water and off, with nine men to rotate and tie down the googie at Sandy Bay/Brothers Point, which they successfully achieve…

All that remained now was to kit out the inside and stock it, and the new googie would be ready for habitation. Before that however, it received many a curious visitor. So many passersby on a remote island…

Brothers Point Hut log 28/2/96

Dave and Sue camped in here after a delicious birthday dinner of nachos and pizza at the Sandy Bay Hotel.

Brothers Point Hut log 1/3/96

Steve in en route to VJM from Green Gorge. Just nosy!

Brothers Point Hut log 7/3/96

Rick fit stove compartment into bench top, fit top shelf above stove, hook for tilley and base under one off bed. Depart for VJM at 5.15. Rained all day prohibiting any outside work.

Brothers Point Hut log 17/3/96

Snowy and Kiwi drop in from Sandy for a look. Wouldn’t have written anything except Kiwi really wanted his name left here for posterity. Just joking.

(Posterity for Kiwi duly noted)

Brothers Point Hut log 22/3/96

Darron called in at 1720 on way to GG to check out his nemesis, the Killer Googie. Left 1740.

Brothers Point Hut log 27/6/96

Darron arrived in dark and snow at 1615 after marathon haul from Caroline through megatons of icing sugar… PK and Darron won the first series of 500 ever played in this hut… a glorious 3–2 victory over Gregory and Ricky.

Brothers Point Hut log 31/7/96

Brothers hut was inaugurated in style, together with appropriate celebrations of 200 (actually 217) feral cats destroyed this year… there were international phone calls, many diverse inhibitions, much hilarity and other occurrences enjoyed by Ferret, Eddie, Sue, Steve, Jeremy, Tracy and Smithy. A good night!

Brothers Point Hut log 14/9/96

IRB resupply and Sandy Bay transfers of supplies to Brothers — Rick Besso (trip leader), Paul Klemes, Ray Bajinskis, Jeremy Smith, Catherine Gray, Jeff Mackereth, Marcel Brown, Sophie Brussan, Ailsa Hall, Paul Scott, Paul Schofield, Rupert Davies.

And therewith Brothers Point hut was officially up and running.

I spent the weekend there a couple of weeks ago to clean up after the earthquake and it really is a very warm and comfortable hut in a most glorious location.