Macca expeditioners are hard at work training and repairing communications gear in the field. Dr Marion Davies is also interviewed.

Station update

This week we were treated to one or two illusive auroras, although just as the splash of green would appear across the sky, the clouds would roll in and spoil our view. The weather moved in bands from west to east. We would set up our tripods, get off a shot or two, and then the cloud would hide the sky. Meanwhile behind us a gaps in the clouds would appear, and we would reset our tripods again, only for it to close out just as we got ready, with the big green slick in the sky showing itself once again behind us! This game of aurora hide and seek went on for quite a while, and it was agreed that whilst the photo ops were frustrating and our results a bit lackluster, it sure was special to be out taking a stroll in the subantarctic in the evening nonetheless.

On Saturday station celebrated ‘Isthmus in July', our Macca version of Christmas in July. Doc Marion took charge of the kitchen, preparing a turkey and pudding for Saturday evening. The dinner was complemented by handmade bonbons, complete with paper hats, bad jokes and a trinket for all. The pick of the jokes, based upon Lionel’s hearty laugh, was “What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer? A bricklayer!”.

We undertook some fire drills this week, taking advantage of some hydrant testing being undertaken by Ben, our plumber. The fire pump was turned on, and we connected lengths of hose from various hydrants around station. This was a great opportunity to understand how much hose we needed to reach each building, and also gave us chance to practice working with hoses and refresh our training that we undertook back in Tasmania. The station walkways and hard stand areas also benefitted greatly from the exercise.

A marine debris collection party headed out to Bauer Bay on Monday for the monthly marine debris collection. This is another of the activities that expeditioners can get involved in with the Tas Parks rangers on a regular basis, and make a contribution toward the island environment.

Finally, the Macca darts team met Davis station in the interstation darts tournament, via video link. Mark and Duncan took the first game in a very close match with Davis guys Dave and Mark. Justin and Rich battled to the end, in a dart by dart tussle, but the win went to Sealy and Dennis at Davis. Tied at one game all, the final game was played by Ben and Dan against Adam and Chris. The boys played a competitive game, and went down fighting against some stellar darts from the Davis guys. Current standings have Macca with a win against Casey, a second place finish against Davis, and the Mawson v Macca small station showdown in our sights next.

Comms field trip

Our Met Tech Duncan and I headed south for an 8 day trip down island to tick off some comms work, as well as getting some more appreciation for the beauty of the island.

Our aim was to replace the broken solar panels on Mt Waite (used for the VHF repeater), install a solar panel at Davis Point hut, swap out the satellite phones at Waterfall Bay and Hurd Point huts, inspect the VHF repeaters (Waite and Jeffryes), do a full audit on all the comms equipment at the huts and to help out the rangers if time allowed.

With a bit of gnarly snow weather in the first couple of days, and lots of wind and rain on the other days, it was a taxing journey but definitely well worth the effort. We even ticked off 95% of our to-do list!

Navigating cross country through snow to Mt Waite, seeing the southern reaches of the island at Hurd Point, and returning via Davis Point nestled into the west coast escarpment where some of the highlights.

(Un)fortunately the party out in the field after us encountered issues with the radio at Green Gorge. Looks like I'll be headed out again soon to fix that too.

Cest le vie!

Lovingly penned by Rich Youd.

The Green Sponge interview Series: Episode 5 — Marion Davies

Name: Marion Davies

Nicknames: Maz, Mazza on Macca, Doc

From: Western Australia

Previous seasons: Nil

Job: Antarctic Medical Practitioner, postmaster, merchandise coordinator, general party convener

Hobbies: At home one of my favourite thing is beach walking and collecting shells, but there are no shells here. But I would still say beach walking, watching movies, coffee with friends.

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

Definitely how well everybody is. Also knowing that I have the skills, equipment and the backup to handle it if someone wasn’t well. My job is to try to get everyone to return home as healthy and happy as when they left.

I have the perfect mix of vocation and location. Macquarie Island is truly a wonder spot in the world, where very few people have the opportunity to visit let alone live. Here I can experience remote community living for a year with the most interesting and adventurous people who are all experts in their scientific and trades fields.

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

My camera, my sat phone, a yurt, and a chocolate and cherry Magic Pudding (Ed. Maz’s special recipe, yum, except for when she confuses the cake pack with the self saucing mix pack!).

What song sums up your Macquarie Island experience so far?

Society — Eddie Vedder

Favourite element of the Macca weather?

Sunny snow days.

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

Olivia Coleman (of Broadchurch, Green Wing and Peepshow fame).

Favourite hut or walking route?

Green Gorge, as it is a beautiful walk to get to there, a well equipped hut and has good proximity to the beach and wildlife.

If you were not a Doctor what would be your dream job and why?

Governor General. For the soirees and presentations, champagne, nice frocks and good hair. For the formality and ceremony of it and just a little bit of politics.

Favourite piece of AAD kit?

The fingerless gloves with flaps so that I can take photos and not be cold.

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

Chairlifts to get up the mountains.

Please name the Royal Penguin on our 68th ANARE logo.


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

80’s classics, and Russian composers. Belinda Carlisle or Prokofiev would be the favourites (Ed. I definitely think we have seen Maz in the kitchen bopping to Summer Rain!)

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

Duelling elephant seals, rotting kelp, windows rattling in the winds, hail hitting my eyeball, no salt and vinegar chips (hurrumph), um, fresh bread.

Settlers of Catan, or Darts?


Thanks Maz! To hear more about Marion’s Macca adventures follow her on Twitter.

The last word…