Annual resupply and station crew changeover activities are in full swing this week at Macquarie Island.

Resupply at Macca

Aurora Australis, on voyage four, arrived at Macca last Thursday in time to commence an afternoon’s resupply work with LARCs and helicopters. Our resupply here is complicated by the absence of any jetty or harbour facility of any sort, and the resupply is undertaken using helicopters and LARCs (amphibious truck/boats) from the Aurora Australis in Buckles Bay on the (usually) calm eastern side of the isthmus.

Our resupply activities this year are complicated by several factors and additional tasks. We need to refuel the station, and are trying to remove five of the plateau huts used in the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Programme several years ago. We have a busy round trip visitor science programme, we are resupplying our five coastal field huts, have several years worth of rubbish accumulated at our coastal field huts to get back to station to return to Australia, and we are hoping to install new huts at our three radio repeater stations on the island plateau. All the ‘down island’ work has to be done using helicopters.

By Tuesday this week, we had mixed weather that permitted several full days of operations, and several stand down days when strong winds and/or ocean swells have forced a stop to proceedings. We completed refuelling on Saturday, which was cause for a big sigh of relief as this is perhaps the most weather critical part of the whole operation. Currently we are trying hard to get as much completed by our scheduled departure date on Friday.

The activities include the formalities of handing over the responsibility of running the station, from Ivor’s 2014 station crew to Jacque’s 2015 crew. The outgoing expeditioners wish the incoming winter station crew all the best for a great year in this amazing location!