Reflections on Macca’s changeable weather, election day tasks, super slushy and the beginnings of tourism on the island.

The Cloud-Botherers guide to walking Macca

There are many reasons to head out into the field at Macca: for the exercise (rarely); as paparazzi to the stars — the penguins and seals (often); to carry track markers for the rangers (only when they guilt you into it); to pick up marine debris (Keep Macca Beautiful) or for the refreshing subantarctic air. And there is occasionally work but we don’t take photos of that.

You head out in the wind and rain, tucked deeply inside Gore-Tex and merino. You perfect the lean or the zig-zag. No one gets their camera out in the wind and the rain so there are not many pictorial examples of these but the lean requires complete trust in the continuing strength of the Macca wind — keep walking, lean into it and let the wind hold you up. Occasionally fall flat if the wind drops and get laughed at by those walking behind you. The zig-zag is for those who fight the good fight and like walking further — walk on track, wind gust knocks you several steps off track, fight your way back to track, walk on track, wind gust tries to impale you on a track marker. Repeat. Whatever your walking style your beanie and socks manage to get damp at the same rate, in the drizzle and wet grass.

On very rare occasions you find yourself out in the wilds of Macca and something magical happens. The rain stops. There is a hush and you can hear the distant roar of waves and ele seals on the beach far below. The wind has stopped too. The cloud lifts and the horizon expands.

Take a breath and enjoy. Take two breaths and ditch your pack for a moment.

Get out your camera for the magic may not last long.

On Macca, much like in Melbourne, if you don’t like the weather then wait five minutes.

It will change.

The next shower will line itself up and the wind gust will spring up just as you pass a track marker. Dodge, fight back to track. Pull up your raincoat hood again.

But the light dancing between the showers. The peace in the pause of the wind. Those are moments of Macca magic.

Alison Skinn

Macca votes

Saturday 2 July 2016: Federal Election Day.

After a sausage sizzle for smoko, the Macca voters headed off to the polls. As part of the Macca makeover, the Post Office was converted to the Polling Station. All voters cast their votes promptly and in accordance with the Australian Electoral Commission’s guidelines. With all votes locked in the Ballot Box, the Returning Officers (volunteers from within the station crew) needed to wait until 10 am on Sunday to phone in the votes; this was done methodically and in accordance with guidelines.

At this stage my seat was still undecided as were a couple of others from our community — this added some personal satisfaction and credibility to the role of a Returning Officer. With our electoral responsibilities complete, all to be done now is wait to see who is going to be the new boss.

Joe Ahearn

Week of the Super Slushy

For those of you concerned that we have all been wasting away in the absence of Chef Rocket — who was off station for one whole week taking some well-deserved time out – fear not!

All slushies on the roster rose to the challenge and took over cooking the days meals, and the high standards of food and variety set by Rocket were admirably maintained. Those that weren’t on slushy roster but could find some spare time came and slushied for the slushy, so we had someone else to clean up our mess, which was greatly appreciated.

It’s given us all a much better understanding of the thought and time that Rocket puts into preparing our meals every day. We're all very happy to have him back and, naturally, a report of his adventures around the island will be here next week.

(Apologies — we were too busy for food photos!)


I was searching the Macca network for something and instead found these photos of the first tourist visit to Macquarie Island in 1968. So, of course, I had to go and find the corresponding station log and see how it all went down.

Monday 26/2/68

Spoke to the Magga Dan this afternoon… a party of 23 plus officers and crew hope to land, and express interest in the wildlife here.

Wednesday 28/2/68

The Magga Dan was spotted near the horizon at 4:53pm. As there was a strong wind blowing, some surf in Buckles Bay and light conditions failing, it was decided not to attempt landing today. However at daybreak, around 4:00am on Thursday, attempts will be made to land the tourists if weather permits.

Morale around the camp certainly boosted by the sighting and anticipated landing of Magga Dan and tourists.

Thursday 29/2/68 

The first boat carrying 15 passengers came ashore at 5:00am. The boat got stuck aground and Wally Goodall had to use the bulldozer to free it. The following two boatloads went smoothly.

The tourists were taken to the mess where they were offered tea or coffee and had a chance to change into dry footwear. They then set off on a walk to Nuggets. Walkers returned to mess between 10:00am and 11:00am, had soup and packed lunches. A general social was held between 1:00pm and 2:00pm. Conversation and atmosphere were good. First boat load of passengers back to ship at 2:30pm.

These days tourism is almost always by cruise ship and is run through Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife, who have a quota as to the number of ships and passengers permitted: currently this is limited to 12 ships with a total of 1000 shore visitors per financial year. Visitors these days have the option of visiting station and surrounds, Sandy Bay and a cruise past Lusitania Bay. We're expecting to host our first ship visit sometime in November, however all landings are weather dependent so some tourists come all this way but never make it on to the island!

Curiosity also made me check the home of the modern tourist and, yes, we have 9 reviews on Trip Advisor, all ‘excellent'. 

No wonder we feel very special to be able to live here for a full year.

Esther Rodewald