We hear from Pete M, one of our Sparkie's on station, as to why Macca is special

Pete M takes a trip off station and has some time to reflect

This being my second winter with AAD, I’m constantly reminded of how privileged I am to be involved with the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP).

Whilst my first wintering season at Casey was a completely different experience to my year at Macquarie Island, I remain grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the goals I’ve achieved, the people I’ve met and for the opportunities made available to me.

This year at Macquarie Island has seen changes to policy and procedure change the vibe a little from previous seasons but this does not detract from the fact that we have spent a significant portion of our lives in a Wilderness Reserve, a feat that not many others can say they have achieved. For whatever reason…. I love this island.

My most recent trip to Bauer Bay hut emphasised some of reasons why “Macca” is such an awesome place to call home.

Leaving station limits on my trek up Doctors track, the last cruise ship full of tourists (that pay generous amount of money to visit the island for a very short period of time) was about to depart Buckles Bay as confirmed by the call over the radio from Ranger Andrea.

With the weather being quite pleasant, low winds, mostly sunny with blue skies and around 8 degrees, it was an excellent opportunity to take some pics and record some footage for prosterity. There were many opportunities for some final pics before our pending departure such as the magnificent views over station toward North Head, the gravesite adjacent Scoble Lake, vigorous growth of the cabbage and tussock in bloom, flocks of skuas at Island Lake and then finally the view over Bauer Bay down to Mawson Point.

Whilst the aim of the trip was actually to do some electrical inspections at the hut, there was opportunity for some alone time and time out which was spent looking through a book of historical hut entries with some of them being quite interesting reading, particularly the older entries from 1940’s to the 60s.

On my way back to station via Bauer Bay Track, Sandy Bay Track and East Beach, I visited the King penguin colony just north of Sandy Bay where there were now little balls of brown fluff replacing the eggs being protected by adults a month or so prior followed by another visit to the Royal penguin colony at The Nuggets.

The past 36hrs saw me cover a meagre 30km or so on foot, the majority of that not having another human being within 10km. Just me, the island and its natural inhabitants. I had re-affirmed my early appreciation in general for my involvement in the AAP, and for the island and the freedom that can currently be afforded to us here.

Peter M

Electrician etc at Macca