Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'Round the island in 8 days

Yesterday avo Pete and I returned from a week out in the field. Pete's job is to walk round the island every fortnight to make sure all the hunters and dog handlers are happy, to download their GPS points and other tasks. I used the opportunity to do a bit of a recce around the island, and also to spend time with Pete. 

The island is beautiful, it’s hard to pick favourite parts. I really liked running down the scree at Hurd Point, hanging out with the king penguins on the beach just outside of Green Gorge Hut, learning how to play cribbage from Nancye on Sunday (MIPEP team’s day off), helping Dean and Gary unpack one of the food pods at Bauer Bay, filming with Ben H and Pete K, watching elephant seal bulls fighting, looking down from the escarpment over Soucek Bay, walking over the ‘moonscape’ from Eitel Hut north to the Overland Track, the ice and snow on the way south, watching Paul (the head TASPAWS wildlife ranger) get an education by reading Zoo magazine, and the sense of achievement I felt returning home after walking up hills and down dales for approx 80 km in all conditions.

Waking up to a beautiful sunrise at Green Gorge Hut.

Technology in the field - Pete downloads Dana's waypoints

Pete overlooking Soucek Bay

Heading south

The last of the ice and snow

The ele seals are returning to breed

Me with the king penguin colony at Green Gorge

Before running down the scree at Hurd Point


Pete found this wee fella while doing a poo on the beach at Hurd Point

Icy lake

Reviewing footage at Tiobunga Hut

Heading up into the hills after visiting Jack and Tony at Davis Point Hut

Before the liberation

Pete getting drinking water at the back of Green Gorge Hut

Eitel Hut, one of the notoriously weepy water tank huts

Me with ele seal remains

Eagle Cave lunch stop

Lunch stop on the Overland Track

Pete Jane and Lohy having lunch at Windy Ridge Hut

Sunday, 14 August 2011


I was on slushie duty yesterday. Usually the slushie helps the chef in the kitchen for the day, but it was Danny's day off so I cooked, with Pete and Mel's help. Never underestimate how much 22 people will eat! 3 huge legs of lamb, several kilos of broad beans, asparagus, beans and carrots, a huge pan of devilled sausages, a vego meal, a gluten free option, and icecream with shaved chocolate and nougat for dessert.

Have also been a regular user of the spa. There's nothing more decadent than sitting in bubbling warm water under the stars with the snow falling... but there's nothing more awful than having to run to your donga at -3.5 degrees.

Am having a bit of a personal space day today. It's a little full on being with other people all the time. I slept in and am planning to hang out with my camera in the (rare) sunshine. Here are some pickies from up at the hamshack this morning:

The ANARE station and isthmus

Fuel farm and dog kennels

The Nuggets as seen from the hamshack where I sleep 
The work and service buildings of the ANARE station

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

North Head with Mel and Dean

Baby ele seal

ANARE station

The hamshack, where Pete and I live when we're both on station

Ele seal bull and harem near helipad

Ele seal wifey
Filmed up at North Head today with Mel and Dean. Lush vegetation thanks to 2010 poison op. No sign of rabbits. Lots of baby fur seals. Windy - buggered.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Heading off into the field

Me and Dana about to head into the field

Lochy and Jack head off

Me, Gary, Nancye, Tony and Dana head off

Into the wild! 

Field training

This is the post I wrote for the Macca online newsletter:

Field training

Powdery snow, moody ocean, penguin chicks, elephant seals, giant petrels, icy lakes – it was hard to know where to look first for the recent Macca arrivals who did their field training this week.
The MIPEP team dog handlers headed out for two days and a night on Friday, followed a day later by the newbie hunters – Tom, Ben H, Dana – and Claudia who’s filming the MIPEP project for the next 4 months.
While the dog handlers stayed at Brothers Point Hut, the hunting team took the Island Lake Track to the cosy lodgings at Bauer Bay. It was somewhat surreal sleeping in a hut stashed with 9 months worth of food – including all the Family Assorted biscuits anyone could ever wish to eat!
When the hunting team woke the next morning they found an ample dump of snow had covered the hills. With the wind howling outside, Marty decided to impart his navigational knowledge in the warm confines of the hut before the crew set out to the other side of the island. Ben did a marvelous job of stomping footholes into the thigh high drifts.
The descent into Sandy Bay was breathtaking, with seals and a few king penguins lounging around the beach that led to Brothers Point Hut, where the team stopped for lunch. At around 1:45 pm they set off again, heading north along the snowy beach towards station, passing a small king penguin crèche and several giant petrels along the way. Tom recokoned it was the best walk he’d ever done in his life, and the rest of the crew couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces. Dana decided to go for a little dunk in the creek before the group rounded the Nuggets, made their way past the rusting penguin digesters and scrambled along the last leg of shoreline by torchlight before returning to a delicious curry prepared by Peter P and Jane under the ever-talented eye of Danny le chef.

View from Brothers Point Hut - end of July
Arriving at Brothers Point Hut

Dana and Ben contemplate being surrounded by food

On the way to Sandy Bay

Tom practices his guns slinging ways

More info

Fo more pics and info, check out the link! It's a weekly Macquarie Island update:


Photos from Week 1

Aurora Australis tows the fishing boat Janice from Macca to Bluff

Me, Dana and Jack on our orientation walk

Me filming, with the station on the isthmus in the background

Brothers Point piccies

Brothers Point Hut, what they call a googie hut

Me filming!

Joker, one of Gary's dogs
View from Brothers Point Hut