Anzac Day commemorations, settling in, and some field trips.

Settling into station life

This week on station has found us all starting to settle in. Everyone took to their work places and made a start on the list of infrastructure maintenance activities awaiting us.

Friday afternoon saw us participate in our first fire training exercise. Nick our fire chief arranged a session of fire pump training for us all. Lionel, our dieso, briefed us all on how to operate the diesel fire pump, and one by one we all had a turn at starting the pump and charging the system. Should we require our fire hydrant system, anyone on station is now able to operate the pumps to support the fire response team.

All hands were on deck in the store for the remainder of Friday for the changeover of our food supplies. Our stocks for the coming year were brought in on the resupply voyage, and the big process of reshuffling the old supplies and new supplies around was finalised. With the entire station chipping in, we made enormous progress on tidying up the green store ready for our Anzac Day barbeque.

Our main power house was successfully changed over this week, and our trades team has been busy planning the installation of a new flue for our waste incinerator called Warren.

Darts training in the mess in the evenings continued and the team unpacked and built our new foosball table (table soccer).

Anzac Day was commemorated with a dawn service and a barbeque later in the day.

Our field familiarisation training also started this week with ranger Andrea leading a team of Jacque (station leader) and Anna (wildlife ranger), out on a three day hike around the island.

Anzac Day 2015

Macquarie Island, located between Australia and New Zealand, was a very special place to commemorate the 100th Anzac Day.

The 68th ANARE braved a chilly blowy (typical!) morning to attend a solemn dawn service, with readings, flags and anthems. It was a ceremony of remembrance, gratitude and pride for our expeditioners who represent both nations. The celebration of mateship continued throughout the day, with an Anzac brunch in the mess beside our 100 poppies display, and themed movies showing in the cinema. We finished our Anzac Day in the most Australian of ways, all gathering together in the (green store) shed for a barbeque and a few coldies.

We hope that our year on Macquarie Island will reflect the Anzac values of respect, work ethic, pride in ourselves, our community and our country.

Author: Marion Davies

Macca from the air

Our purpose as the wintering crew here on Macquarie Island is to maintain the infrastructure and continue supporting the scientific programs between the busy summer seasons. It cannot be understated how lucky we are to be here at Macca. This place is beautiful, rugged and, in the wake of the eradication project, thriving!

Over the winter scientific surveys (mostly of seabirds, seals and marine debris), other Tas Parks ranger activities and some infrastructure maintenance at the huts ‘down island’ will continue. This will see some of us travelling the length of the island, and for the rangers, into some rarely visited and remote locations. The implication of this is that the station team needs to be equipped and capable of responding to any Search and Rescue (SAR) scenarios that may unfold during the year.

Our first steps towards this began during training at Kingston (stay tuned for more on that another day). Once at Macca, it was important for Jacque (our station leader), and myself (as station SAR leader), to get an appreciation of the island that has become our home. Together with Marty B (a previous wintering field training officer) and Rob Wooding (head of Support and Operations), we hitched a ride on one to the resupply helicopters and headed out into the field.

We visited the field hut at Bauer Bay, got an overview sighting of the SAR caches (strategically located rescue supplies) and took in the incredibly steep, awe-inspiring and potentially dangerous coastline and escarpment that encircles the island.

For all the beauty Macca has to offer, we are now fully aware of the dangers of operating in a such a remote location. These photos were taken to pass that message on to our fellow expeditioners, and to give context to our SAR training days when they occur over the coming months.

Author: Richard Youd

First field familiaristation trip for 2015

On Sunday morning I headed out with rangers Andrea and Anna on the first field familiarisation trip for 2015. Having completed our field training in Hobart prior to departure, the objective of the field familiarisation trip is to put all of our training into context, and to gain an understanding of the environment in which we are working and travelling.

The route chosen for the familiarisation trip covers a wonderful representation of most of the terrain and vegetation types to be encountered on Macca. We were lucky to enjoy moderate winds on the first day, and even though we walked through snow showers on the second day, they were on our tail and passed quickly, leaving the plateau with a beautiful frosting of snow. Highlights of the 30 kilometre walk included seeing how quickly the vegetation changes over different topography, and finally walking on the mysterious featherbed. (I had mistakenly assumed it to be a bed of moulted penguin feathers along a beach, only to learn that it is a floating bog that resembles walking on a squishy featherbed!).

There were simply insufficient adjectives to describe my three days but I gave it a good shot. Andrea and Anna put me through my paces in all aspects of field travel from overland navigation, moving around wildlife, learning about the hut infrastructure, walking the shovel, and of course essential hut food and drink ideas.

Many thanks to the girls for answering my endless flora and fauna questions, and kickstarting what I know will be a year-long love of getting to know this magnificent place.

Author: Jacque Comery

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