Goodbye old friends and welcome new members of the Macca family

L'Astrolabe voyage stops by to mark the start of summer

Sunday 14 November 2021 was another big milestone in the year of the 74th ANARE here at Macquarie Island. We said goodbye to old friends and welcomed a great bunch of new friends. The French icebreaker L'Astrolabe arrived at 10am on Sunday, bringing with it five new team members for the summer. We also said goodbye to three team members whose time had come to return home at the end of winter.

We'd spent the week preparing the boats and crews and enjoying a few practice sessions in the surf to get our Inflatable Rubber Boat (IRB) drills down pat. The weather was kind on the day with good seas and winds, enabling us to do our work in pretty short order. From the time we put our first IRB on the water at 11am, it took only about 1.5hrs to complete the crew changeover. By 12.45pm, the French continued on their journey south to their station at Dumont d'Urville, on the Antarctic continent.

We said goodbye to Shelley, Alex and Greg - whilst welcoming Rowenna, Will, Tony, Ryan and Mark . It had been the best part of 250 days since we last saw anyone different to the 16 people we already knew in our little community, so it was definitely a change to see some new faces and feel some new energy from our super enthusiastic new team members.

However, it wasn't just about people. We received a range of goodies including the much anticipated COVID-19 vaccines. The good Doctor Rob got the first shots into our arms on 16 Nov, with our vaccination program due to be completed prior to Xmas. This gives all of us peace of mind for our health, plus enables easier onwards travel once we eventually get back to Australia in 2022.

We also received six mail bags, with Mr Marc winning the award for the most mail - basically receiving a bag just for himself! But we'd all had the opportunity to do a little online shopping and received gifts from friends and family that were also greatly appreciated. We also received a few extra bits and bobs to help our work for the season - the return trip to Bunnings is a pretty long way - so an exciting weekend and great to pass through another big milestone in our year away.

From Derek and your friendly neighbourhood Macca crew.