Packing continued this week on Macca in preparation for the impending resupply of the station. The annual kitchen strip and clean was completed on Friday, with a huge team of helpers chipping in to scrub and polish every surface of the kitchen. On Monday the green store fridge was overhauled. After any remaining food was emptied into the breeze way fridges, it was scrubbed clean and sterilized and now sits awaiting the arrival of a new season’s load of supplies. The laboratory was given a thorough clean out this week as well, and the trades’ team are working around expeditioners trying to finish off their last minute hobby projects, to get their workshops ready for handover. Nick, Terry and Robbie remediated the helipads on the isthmus Friday, rectifying the damage resultant from the inundations that occurred in the big October storms.
Despite the news of our return voyage being set back at least a week, we have continued with our final preparations to our original schedule. On Monday and Tuesday expeditioners handed in their unaccompanied personal effects (UPE) to be packed into cage pallets ready for loading onto the ship. Final samples are being prepared and packed down in the lab. For the next few weeks we will all live from our carry-on bags, which may see some limitations to the fine fashion choices that have been displayed all season. Packing up our chattels has the reality of our impending departure starting to sink in.
A few crew got out and about for a last trip around the island this week. Doc, Lou and Tim spent Saturday evening at Brothers Point Hut, while Jac, Robbie, Terry and Jez went to Bauer Bay. Mark and Ian walked out to Green Gorge on Monday in some very persistent rain to check out a fault with the remote area power supply (RAPS), to ensure it is all up and running for use by round trip expeditioners during resupply.
A group that is showing absolutely no interest at all in packing up and moving on are the gentoo penguins on the main station roadway. Having nested alongside the road this year, the chicks crèched up right in the middle of the road. We all breathed a sigh of relief once they finished moulting thinking we’d have our roadway back before resupply. Alas, the adult birds have moved back in and are building practice nests all over the road edge, and even on the concrete ‘footpath’ outside of the meteorology building! Appearing largely unfazed by the movement of the JCB and other vehicles around station, we think that these guys might remain a fixture for the incoming wintering expeditioners.