For operational reasons this week on Macca our activities were reduced, resulting in a relatively quiet week on station.
At the start of the week expeditioners headed out into the field to undertake a range of field work including weed assessments, skua and northern giant petrel census, and albatross monitoring.
Upon notification of reduced activity, our intrepid field parties were asked to remain in the huts until further notice. For three days the team sat tight in their respective huts. We are essentially one big family down here, and the following days partially represented a rainy day family camping trip of days gone by, with everyone enduring or enjoying each other’s company. The full gamut of card games, puzzles and radio quizzes were explored, and the ‘Albatross Cookbook’ — a wonderful hut cookbook developed over the years by field based expeditioners — was given a thorough testing.
Rich and Chef Jimmy spent some quality time together at Brothers Point, enduring many hands of Monopoly Deal. When Jimmy finally returned to station via the visiting tourist ship, Rich resorted to cooking enough pizza to feed the entire passenger contingent of the Akedemik Sholkalsky.
The crew over at Bauer Bay, all five of them in a hut with four bunks(!), resorted to knitting, with Karen making a breakthrough in her lessons, and Jane producing a cherished headband for the station leader — thanks Jane! The radio was soon abuzz with traffic between the ‘Bauer Bay Bakery’ and the ‘Brothers Point Pizzeria', swapping recipes, jokes and quizzes. Such gems as “What is brown and sticky? A stick.” This was followed up by “What do you call a stick on the beach on Macquarie Island? A biosecurity hazard.” Anna survived the isolation only on account of still receiving her daily word puzzle over the radio.
The Albatross team of Kim and Marcus, were restricted to Hurd Point hut with a dwindling fuel supply. They had the great joy of being restricted to the hut with the best view of the island, and a few thousand noisy royal penguin neighbours. Not a bad place to be forced to spend a few days off!
Meanwhile down at Green Gorge, FTO Ian, waited patiently on his own, with only intermittent comms back to station. I think he enjoyed the serenity.
When the team finally received the news that they were being recalled to station, they were most relieved, but were also forced to face the prospect of having to abandon their residual baked goods.
This week we also had two visits from tourist vessels. The Akedemik Sholkalsky stopped en route to Commonwealth Bay, disembarking passengers at Sandy Bay in some beautiful sunshine. Tour guides Ranger Paul and Tim met Jimmy and Rich, and hosted the latest visitors in some glorious sunny weather. A few days later we were visited by the Spirit of Enderby en route the Ross Sea, the sister ship of the Sholkalsky, giving us all deja vu.
Back on station, the remediation team are progressing well with their project work, and continue to be pestered by curious local critters.
The great ‘Woolies’ (food store) relocation was also completed this week, with store-man Dom coordinating a team of generous volunteers to move our household consumables to a new section of the store.
Station attention is turning now to planning our Australia Day celebrations, which of course will include the annual summer swim.