Macquarie Island... it's shoreline provides a constant battle ground between the ocean bed reaching for air and the staunch might of the Pacific Ocean waves pulling it back into the darkness of the seabed beneath the breaking white horses that often besiege the island's coastline. This wild place came to be known as home for the year. Its once strange sights and sounds have now become familiar. The sight of elephant seals 'trubbalubing' past my office window as I tap away at my keyboard making sure we don’t have a beachmaster of data trying to claim the harem of the station’s internet to themselves. The sounds of Gentoo penguins calling out from around Hass House and below the windows where we sleep saying “Hey! Check out the mound of grass I’ve collected – looks good, doesn’t it!?”
You could say my friendships over the year have imitated nature itself on the island. Just like the birth of elephant seal pups en masse, the birth of friendships happened en masse. These friendships quickly grew like weaners, weaners with wonder and curiosity in our eyes as we hiked around the island in random groups casually navigating tussocks looking to discover the island’s narrative of nature. And just like weaners, there comes a time when these friendships mature and we all must leave the island for the wider world reconnecting with those we haven’t seen for a year, experiences of home once forgotten are no longer new again, eating food we have been longing for or to just smile at a stranger. Yet, who knows? These friendships grown on Macquarie Island may cross paths again on different shores with hopefully wonder and curiosity still in our eyes.
It all starts to come to a close for the 74th ANARE with the RSV Nuyina soon to set a direct course to Macquarie Island in the coming days. These friendships, sights and sounds will be missed - nonetheless it’s always better to leave a place when you still love it, rather than when you’ve had enough.
So with the memory of love, c'ya Macquarie Island and thanks for all the smiles.
From Jeff and your friendly neighbourhood Macca crew.