A few sojourns off station keep the expeditioners busy.

Macca, as told by Ray Chivas

Search and Rescue (SAR) training commenced with a session on the lowering and raising systems, held on the tussock slopes of Buckles Bay. With Billy’s (Field Training Officer) training we now feel mostly confident in the art of rescue. When morning tea was delivered we took a short break as a Hooker's sea lion emerged from the tussock, awoken by the aroma of the pizza. The sea lion made its way to the water's edge in search of a Southern Ocean seafood special. Unfortunately the giant beast had to return to the water empty handed.

The seismic sortie party pulled off another swift seismometer installation near 'four ways' (where four tracks meet), returning to station mid-afternoon. This was the second of five seismometers to be installed along the moraine line, each installation will become increasingly difficult as the 25kg of equipment has to be walked further down Island. Alex, Derek and Doc made great time battling 40-50 knot winds and low visibility to accomplish the mission that was presented to them.

Last week the last party of expeditioners, Layla, Lewis and I commenced field training. This was first time off-station for me and my comrades. I would like to say that I had dry feet at the end of the first day, but I would be lying. We ended the day at Bauer Bay hut and enjoyed a good rest and a nice cuppa. The following day we progressed onto Brother's Point hut, spending the second night there before a real surprise the next morning. ORCAS! We watched the sunrise over the ocean and saw the unforgettable sight of orcas breaching, through the Brother's Point window. IT WAS MAGIC.

Three of the four team members departed back to station whilst I stayed behind to do hut maintenance. I awaited the arrival of Con and Scottish to help with the work and we finished in quick time. I very much enjoyed the perks of being out in the field and experiencing what Macca has to offer. Before leaving I looked back through the hut log books to find I had last visited the hut on 26/02/2005, some 16 years ago. Not much has changed in that time and the environment has not become any easier on the legs.

Marc’s birthday was celebrated on the following Saturday with Nick (the chef) producing another gourmet meal. We all dressed up for the Japanese evening, which transported our taste buds to the land of sushi without even leaving the mess.

Midwinter's day is fast approaching and before we know it winter will be over. Until next Friday, this is Ray Chivas and your friendly neighbourhood Macca crew.