This week at Macca, we take a look at the returning wildlife and we're getting island fit outside and inside.

Spring has sprung

Here on Macquarie Island, Spring has sprung. With the changing of the seasons it means a change in the island and its wildlife. Spring brings back royal penguins, black browed albatross, grey headed albatross, great skuas, and elephant seals to the island to breed.

The first black browed albatross was spotted last week and bets have been laid as to what day the first elephant seal will have its pup. There have also been ever increasing sightings of leopard and fur seals around the island.

The gentoo penguins are busy mowing the tussock to make their nests in every imaginable place you can think of. Now that they have set up their nests they have started laying their eggs as of this week and the cycle of life starts again for them.

The spotting of an orca calf and its mother is making for great viewing from the Ham shack, with its great vantage point over looking Buckles Bay, Garden Bay and north to North Head.

We’ll keep watching over the coming weeks and months as the ever increasing populations of wildlife return to the island.

Chris Burns, Station Mechanical Supervisor

Macca fitness

Macquarie Island station has a cosy gym situated above the trades workshops, which comprises:

  • Running treadmill
  • Rowing machine
  • Stationary bicycle
  • Cross country ski machine
  • Ski machine with ropes
  • Bench press, training bag, free weights and various other toning equipment which covers a large cross-section of fitness
  • also the odd Random Yoga class!

A number of energetic enthusiasts take advantage of these facilities to get their fitness up to speed. They are generally silently grateful they made the pilgrimage to the gym, especially when trudging up Razorback Ridge (the track that starts at the bottom of the station and leads up to the plateau on top from where traversing to the south of the island begins), or if staggering up a jump-up (which again is a steep incline from some of the huts up to the main track on top), or even if wading through snow.

As people start to get out and about more around the island, fitness levels also come up incrementally and as the longer days start to come into play, gym fitness is liable to be supplemented with running and walking outside after work if the weather cooperates. Macca weather is persistently wet and windy.

In past years an annual marathon was held which started at the south of the island at Hurd Point and finished on station in the north, a distance of approximately 40km. The official record time is 4 hours 40 minutes, unofficial record 4 hours 20 minutes.

The general consensus is that a sub 4 hour time could be achieved on a good day. Perhaps one day soon?

Greg Sandrey, Macca Plumber (and marathon runner)