Our summer season has now reached its conclusion, with the resupply ship Aurora Australis (AA) arriving at Macquarie Island in a few short days.
The arrival of the AA will see commencement of the resupply operation. Over the following 8 days, the station will play host to up to 60 expeditioners each day, as we steadily complete personnel changeovers, cargo transfers, station refuelling, and various roundtrip science projects. At the conclusion, a new wintering team of 14 expeditioners will officially commence their season.
In preparation, the outgoing team has been busy packing cargo and personal effects for return, as well as cleaning the station, finalising work programs and outstanding tasks, and preparing handovers for the new incoming team. Our science members have also been busy completing final fieldwork trips, as well as preparing samples and research data for return to Australia.
As we draw closer to our departure and the arrival of a new winter team, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the last 12-months of living and working on Macquarie Island. In fact, this week marked the date (7 March) of the original set-up of Macquarie Island station in 1948. For that original Macquarie Island team, and for all of us who have had the privilege to live and work here since, it truly is an amazing experience. Sir Douglas Mawson, one of the founding fathers of Australian Antarctic exploration, summed it up perfectly: “This little island is one of the wonder spots of the world. It is the great focus of the seal and bird life in the Australasian sub-Antarctic regions, and is consequently of far greater significance and importance in the economy of that great area than its small dimensions suggest.”
In closing, on behalf of the outgoing expedition team, I’d like to extend our best wishes for the season to the incoming winter team. I also want to express our sincere thanks to everyone that has supported our efforts, both on a work and personal level, over the past 12 months. What an amazing experience it has been!
Kyle (Station Leader).