On Saturday six of the team headed to Macey with the aim of locating the Auster penguin rookery that is usually located about three to five kilometres from the huts.
Macey Island is approximately 50 kilometres from the station and has sleeping for six people with a hut and a little apple on site. A Hägg and two quad bikes were used to access the area and Tony D, Tony H, Josh, Sam, Chris and Gav swapped around riding the quads and enjoying the experience of quad biking across the sea ice then jumping in the Hägglunds to stay warm.
After an uneventful and quite quick trip across relatively smooth sea ice the group arrived early on Saturday and were able to set up camp and go for a look around almost straight away.
The rookery is usually in a similar location every year and this year was no exception. On the fast ice, complete with picturesque icebergs and glaciers in the background, they all huddle for group warmth. A few more curious ones without eggs come and say hello if you sit still and quiet. Taking a sleeping mat to sit or lie on is a good plan.
Auster is a favourite spot for both research and recreational visits. A team of scientists based at head office in Kingston have spent many years studying the emperor penguins and it is always interesting for those of us at the station to learn more about the science that goes on around us. Currently the males are balancing eggs on their feet to stop them freezing on the ice. After laying the egg the females head across the fast ice to the pack ice to feed before returning to help raise the chick later in the year. The penguins have broad dietary tastes and travel many kilometres over the fast ice to get to the foraging areas. They are amazing animals and it is fascinating to read some of the articles that have been written over the years of study.