Peak breeding season arrives at Macca

How to count seals

It is October now. This means the Macquarie Island crew have been on this magnificent piece of land, in the middle of the ocean, halfway between Antarctica and New Zealand, for just over seven months now. It also means we are coming into the peak of the breading season for the southern elephant seal.

This year we are going to undertake an island-wide elephant seal census, which will see the number of people on station dwindle from sixteen to eight. During this census there will be multiple teams of two, walking the entire coast line counting the number of female elephant seals on Macquarie Island. Most of the teams heading out will be in the field for a week.

This census hasn’t been able to be conducted for seven years, although not from the lack of trying. The weather can be unpredictable here at times and hopefully this year it co-operates with us.

October has also seen the return of the royal penguins and light-mantled albatross to land so they can breed, which is also quite exciting as they are very photogenic.

Anyway, I’m off to count seals. What’s that? How do we count seals you ask? It’s easy, we count the flippers and divide by four!

Brownie signing out at Hurd Point. Goodbye to flushing toilets, showers and social media...see you in a week!