This week, we hear from one of the Macca winter Plant Operators.

A cracker of an organisation to work for...

A cracker of an organization (Australian Antarctic Program) to work for.

Well, its Blizline time, and it has been a whirl wind of a ride to be part of history. Still pinching myself you know.

G’day, I’m pleased to meet you. I’m known here on island by other expeditioners as “Walshy”, and I am one of two mobile plant operators working with the other exceptional expeditioners to assist in the maintenance and construction of facilities on Macquarie Island.

So, from training, inductions, station week, health checks, inoculations, employed skills assessments, issuing of clothing and kitting, fire and hospital training, flights, ships, boats, and lots, lots more, it has been a blooming extraordinary ride. Right, now off the whizzy dizzy ride and onto the icebreaker.

We arrived at Macquarie Island by ship (Aiviq) some four months ago. (That’s gone quick). We were greeted first up by the local penguins, swimming and surrounding the ship, showing their inquisitive nature.

Once disembarked, we made our way to shore by landing craft (amphibious vehicles).

The next amazing animal to see was the elephant seals. On the beach and in the water they present themselves as the size of small vehicles, amazingly huge and noisy.

Oh, the birds present themselves as gigantic in size. Very Jurassic as they fly over you at full wingspan, at walking speed, as they effortlessly fly into the strong winds of Macca.

Well, the weather sure is, well to be polite, “extreme” and amazing. Snow one minute, gale force winds, rain/sea spray flying horizontal and a few minutes later, magnificent sunshine.

One learns not to leave your accommodation or workplace on the island until you’re all prepped for the venturing of going outside. Thermals, raincoats, warm weather clothing, neck warmers, beanies, wind protectors, glasses, gloves, gumboots/work boots and a handheld radio.

Woofer, all adds up to many kilograms extra and blimey, very annoying if you forgot something and must go back to get it.

Some have asked; how are the people you came down with? Well, its different from other workplaces I have worked in. For starters, each person wants to be here. All have come with exceptional skills, knowledge, commitment, and an attitude of wanting to make a difference. Exceptional individuals I’d say. Absolutely amazing people to be able to work with, socialize and make friends with. A bonus is that you get to work with/assist, have them show you their skills and work. Can’t get better than that.

I’ve been privileged to learn a skill or knowhow from the many amazingly talented people here. From various, including the Chef, Carpenter, Plumber, Mechanic, Boilermaker, Doctor, Electricians, Rangers, Bureau of Meteorology, Comms tech, and Station Leader to name just a few.

I’m truly proud and blessed to be part of this journey and to make history with the expeditioners of the 76th ANARE here on the island we call, Macca.

- Greg 'Walshy' Walsh: Winter Plant Operator, 76th ANARE Macquarie Island.