Celebrations as a long running project is completed in an icy gully, and all eyes on station are watching for the first pup to be born for 2015.

Station update

The Macca kitchen received a makeover this week. Justin, Ben and Jac scrubbed clean the oven, hotplate and deep fryer and rearranged the kitchen in a cleaning frenzy of epic proportions.

After months of piece by piece weather dependent work, Nick and Ben finally fixed the last replacement ladder into place at Gadgets Gully this week. The cache of tools and safety equipment, and old damaged metal work were removed from site. Access is now again restored for plumber Ben who undertakes regular inspections of the water supply main that is located along the side of the gully. Great work guys!

The first elephant seal count was held on Sunday morning, with most of station joining in. Two teams covered the east and west coasts respectively, counting how many female seals had hauled up on the beach. This will continue every Sunday morning for the next few weeks, and is one of the many interesting opportunities that we have to assist the Tas Parks team with their wildlife management work.

The giant petrel census is also underway this week. Justin and Duncan assisted the rangers, Andrea and Anna, for the first part of the week in counting how many ‘GPs’ were sitting on nests. They covered lots of ground, finishing off the area to the south of Bauer Bay on the first day! Work continued in wet conditions on Tuesday and the guys headed back to station. Jacque and Rich walked out early Wednesday morning to continue the surveys for the remainder of the week. 

Gadgets Gully ladder replacement

Trades made a push to finish all works in Gadgets Gully this week. Added to the human need to have this infrastructure in place has been the concern about the disturbance to wildlife posed by the works. Elephant seals and nesting gentoo penguins are swelling in population along the track to the gully, and there is the imminent arrival of sooty albatross to nest in the gully itself. Trades used the available weather windows and, having completed what needed to be done, tiptoed out.

The last necessary trip up the Gully was to improve the lay of the water supply line from where it leaves the reservoir at the top, then passes down the gully and along the beach to station. It was a beautiful place to be working. The creek was frozen over but it possible to hear it moving beneath our feet, and see it moving behind a curtain of ice at the waterfalls. The reservoir itself was an ice rink and we cracked it to start our water flowing again.

An arduous, but timely and rewarding job. (And keeps enough water in the station tanks to allow us to keep showering.)

Nick Cartwright

The Green Sponge Interview Series Episode 7: Rich Youd, Comms Tech

Name: Richard Youd

Nicknames: Rich, Richo, Youdy

From: Tassie

Previous seasons: Davis winter 2012/13 followed by a cheeky Mawson summer 2013/14 as Communications Technical Officer — an amazing 17 month stint!

Job: Supervising Communications Technical Officer (SCTO)

Hobbies: Being out in the elements rock climbing, diving, bushwalking, mountain biking, running. Oh, and watching movies.

You have recently finished a Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation. How do you compare the operating environment in the field here at Macca to what you would encounter in Tassie?

That’s a tricky one. I've spent most of my Tassie adventuring time on the sunny east coast with the odd adventure up onto the central plateau and into the south west. I’d say the wind is certainly more constant here on Macca and at least 87% of our days here have precipitation in usually more than one form: rain, hail, snow, graupel, ice pellets, low mist and cloud (again). So in reality it’s probably not much different than living at altitude on the northern west coast of Tassie. One of the best bits here is you can walk off the beach and in 30 minutes feel like you are walking through the frozen alpine regions. So really we have all the Tassie goodness condensed into a tiny 35km long package. And like Tassie, we get all four seasons in one day, and by that I mean four seasons in an hour, and by that I mean blue skies and ten knots to white-out snow, hail and 45 knots in two blinks of an eye. LOVE IT! We’re on Macquarie Island, WOOO!

What is the favourite part of your job here at Macca?

It sounds kind of lame, but the small community vibe and helping each other to get the job done is actually the thing that attracted me to becoming a repeat offender. But mostly, the opportunity to leave the office, get off station to do work in the field is second to none!

If you were exiled to Bishop and Clerk Islands to the south of Macca what four things would you take with you?

Fishing rod and gear, MSR stove, bivvy bag, and all the chocolate.

What song sums up your Macquarie Island experience so far?

The entire Eddie Vedder Into the Wild soundtrack, thanks to its high-repeat play on ‘Slushy FM’ and just because it’s awesome!

Favourite element of the Macca weather?

The high energy storm cells that blast over the island turn the aforementioned blue skies to white-out conditions. Speaking of which, yep, the snow is pelting down outside right now.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 68th ANARE season here at Macca?

Without a doubt, Alan Tudyk (he plays Wash, the pilot from Serenity and Firefly).

Favourite hut or walking route?

Walking along the escarpment above Soucek Bay in the glorious afternoon sun (just magic!) and the track crossings of Red River and Jessie Niccol Creek (because they remind me of my childhood fishing adventures with my dad and brother).

If you were not a Comms Tech Officer what would be your dream job?

Himalayan Mountain Guide

Favourite piece of AAD/Tas Parks kit?

Satellite phones, way easier to use than a HF radio! And the batteries are lighter too.

It is the year 2115 on Macca. What is the coolest thing we have on station and why?

Embedded personal sat phones so that VHF radio comms are no longer required.

Please name the royal penguin on our 68th ANARE logo.


What is your typical Slushy FM genre? A particular favourite?

If I am not rocking out to Pearl Jam, The Hilltop Hoods or The Tragically Hip, I’m probably digging some Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions.

Describe your Macca experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

Insta-plateau whiteout, fresh bread (not burnt toast), the pterodactyl-like squawk of a giant petrel, the post-run adrenalin buzz, victory at life?

Settlers of Catan, or Darts?

I will Settle this argument once and for all…

Photo gallery: birds!

The last word