A darts challenge, some welcome blue skies after a string of cloudy days, and some exciting wildlife visitors.

Darts, blue skies and leopard seals

This week on Macca the August birthday celebrations continued with Bureau of Meteorology observer Louise celebrating her special day at Bauer Bay hut with Doc Marion.

The Macca darts team met the Mawson crew last week in the final round of inter-station darts. Mark and Dunc were first up in a high scoring game in which the local boys prevailed. Justin and Rich played next, taking the win in the final stages of a close game. Game three was played out with Dan and Ben rounding out the local team of players, in a game that started off throw for throw, and then turned into a marathon. Thanks to all at Mawson station for the match.

Some spectacular blue sky days this week have enabled the trades team to knock off some fair weather jobs that have been awaiting the right conditions. Nick, Ben and Mark were up hills, on roofs, and down by the water, relishing the chance to work unaffected by wind and waves.

We’ve had a week of exciting wildlife sightings with leopard seals appearing, including one creature that parked itself on the isthmus, right in front of the communications building. This created a few surprises for those of us who have become quite used to seeing elephant seals block our way. The raising of a large reptilian head with a mouth full of teeth sent us skipping sideways at a high rate of speed.

Anna and Mark had their whale sightings from Brother’s Point last week confirmed as being Southern right whales — a very infrequently sighted species here.

July weather summary

With our lives being so dominated by wild weather for the last few weeks, Dan our senior Bureau of Meteorology observer prepared the following summary of July weather.

July was an exciting month for us. Temperatures were a bit chilly for this time of year with our maximum temps sitting 0.3°C below the long term average, and our minimums 0.7°C below average. This could be due, in part, from the sheer lack of sunshine we received. Being the depths of winter we don’t usually expect much. Our long term mean is only 0.8 hours a day of sunshine, but we fell well short of that with consistently cloudy conditions, giving us a monthly average of 0.3 hours a day. Not only were our daylight hours abridged, but auroras were only witnessed on four nights this whole month!

Despite depriving us of our beloved sunlight there is a silver lining to our clouds, and that is in the sheer amount of much needed rain we received. A whopping 121.8 mm of precipitation fell in July, almost double the climatic average of 71.5 mm.

With colder temperatures and heavier rain, the Macquarie Island trifecta wouldn’t be complete without increased winds. Strong winds (winds above 40 km/h) occurred on every day bar one. Gale force winds (winds above 63 km/h) occurred on thirteen days, twice as much as our 6.8 days per month average. We ended the month with a bang, with winds raging to a maximum of 157 km/h, preventing any travel between buildings as all expeditioners hunkered down. Though not a record breaker for July, with a gale in 1979 reaching 178 km/h, it certainly was cause for celebration (after checking all the buildings were still intact).

The last word…