This week our chef Annette, electrician Peter and I headed out for field training, run by our Field Training Officer Rich, who was pleased that we would be getting some ‘authentic’ Macca weather as an introduction to life out in the field. The forecast was not looking particularly hospitable, with near gale force winds and snow, so it was shaping up to be a character building training trip… now, we’d all thought we already had a fair bit of character, but after three days of hiking this rugged land in such strong head winds with frequent hail and snow, we have now all had our character demolished and rebuilt to tsunami-proof building standards!
Despite challenging conditions, we had an absolute ball out there. The training was a fantastic introduction to life out in the field on Macquarie Island, covering how to safely navigate the island, look after ourselves and the environment and leave minimal impact. We met up with our ranger Chris a couple of times out in the open, to learn more of the wildlife and vegetation, and then in the evenings we got to enjoy the charms of simple hut living with games of cards and freshly baked bread!
Out in the field we became familiar with Macca’s many different terrains and challenges. We had to scale steep slopes, gallop down gullies, clamber over creeks, flit over featherbed (my feet are still wet!), trundle through tussock, wallop past wallows and skirt around slippery kelp swamps (all done extremely cautiously of course!). Not being very ‘island-fit’ yet, we had some hard slogs up some of the steeper hills… and each time, when we’d hauled ourselves to the top, breathless and exhausted… gasp, wheeze… our breath was then completely taken away by the epic scenery!
Macca certainly turned on the charm for us, and I can’t wait to get back out in the field again to help out further down the island! I’m proud to be here for the year helping look after this incredible island.