February has been a busy month on Macquarie Island

Ray heads back down to Hurd Point, 18 years after his last visit ...

Earlier this month Tony, Dr Rob and I ventured to Hurd Point. For me it had been 18 years since I made the pilgrimage. The weather gods were on our side with calm sunny weather most of the trip. I can only recall walking in bad weather and racing night fall to Hurd Point in the winter. The upgraded radio repeaters have vastly improved communications, and the hill climbs seem a little steeper, otherwise not much has changed.

Fortunately, with a rest day or two our legs endured the round trip. The leg exercises paid off for me. On the return journey Tony and I stayed at Waterfall Bay then pushed on to Green Gorge the next day in the rain, grateful to reach the confines of the warm dry hut soaked to the skin. On a rest day we gave Green Gorge hut a much needed spring clean while enjoying the serenity of the location surrounded by the ever-present wildlife.

Anyone who has walked the island would know the terrain is unforgiving and it is always a personal conquest on returning to station from Hurd Point

On station all trades have been finishing up work. Millsy, Brownie, Cookie and Lewis have finished the install of the new No 2 engine in the MPH with all annual tests completed.

On the days where the winds abated and the rain had a day off, the carpenters (a.k.a Hillbilly Construction) were able to apply the Butanol roof membrane to the Absolute Hut and just last Sunday with the help of Brownie (plumber) and Cookie (sparkie) we managed to stand most of the portal frames for the Variometer Hut, clearing much needed floor space in the Boatshed for resupply.

Concurrently, Billy the Field Training Officer, Dr Rob and Derek the Station Leader visited the sites where we had installed 5 x seismometers earlier in the year and prepared them for extraction via helicopter during resupply. At times a dirty and muddy, but enjoyable task with the opportunity to get around the island again prior to resupply.

With resupply next month we are preparing the station accommodation as it will be a full house. The Return to Australia (RTA) cargo is positioned ready to go. Ryan, our trusty Stores Officer, has had his work cut out for him packing all the RTA cargo and getting the paperwork in order. I think this could be the largest scale resupply for Macquarie Island of all time with all six field huts in need of resupply and the Channel 21 repeater at Mount Jeffryes to be swapped out. There are 688 items of cargo to come ashore, weighing in at 476T. That plus our annual fuel resupply bodes for a very busy resupply period, currently scheduled for 12 days. Hopefully the weather will support a successful operation. This will be a good test for the Nuyina and all involved.

From Ray the Chippie and your friendly neighbourhood Macca crew