We have had larger station numbers this week with several people returning from working in the field.
Last Friday Rich facilitated a SAR (search and rescue) training session on how to use the Furno stretcher that we have here on station. Our emergency response capabilities are now significantly bolstered by the arrival of the summering expeditioners, and we are now busy with training to bring everyone up to speed with the gear that we have available. As the only way to traverse the plateau at Macquarie Island is on foot, any evacuation of an injured expeditioner would require a long stretcher haul. Our stretcher is fitted with a wheel to roll the patient along the flatter sections of track. There was certainly consensus that a stretcher carry of 30 km or so would not be much fun!
The festive month of December kicked off with a fun themed party last Friday, where expeditioners dressed up as ‘things that they feared'. There was much frivolity and dancing from a group of people who, on account of the amount of hiking and outdoor work that was undertaken in the previous week, could have reasonably been expected to be on the couch with their feet up taking it easy!
The second tourist ship of the season is set to arrive this week. Both Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife and Australian Antarctic Division expeditioner volunteers provide a valuable service in assisting with guiding visitors around station. It is also a joy to get out and about and share with others the wonderful place in which we are privileged to live and work.
The great cargo migration is on this week. The cargo that we have accumulated through the season has now exceeded the allocated space for storage down near the fuel farm, and is being moved up to the north side of the isthmus for processing, ahead of the voyage four (V4) resupply in March. We've had a huge clean out this season and generated many cage pallets of waste materials to return to Australia for recycling or disposal.
The trades team and comms guys have finished building Supply Officer Dom an office and storage area in the old Fort Knox. (Fort Knox is the secure alcohol storage area on station). Dom now has a warm place to work rather than sitting in front of an open roller door in the brisk Macca weather. A new Fort Knox has been constructed in a formerly disused space at one end of the green store.
Orcas are in fine form again this week, making regular visits to our shores and giving avid photographers some great photo opportunities.
Jacque and Paul went tick hunting to try and collect some samples of a tick found in Secluded Bay by Ben and Jac earlier in the season. Melissa, who is here sampling the island’s invertebrates, was intrigued by the stories of the elusive tick. A successful mission captured four or so ticks, which were brought back to station, creating much interest and speculation!
The gentoo chicks have now left their nests and have become incredibly active, running and tripping and falling all about the place — most usually on the main road through station. They have decided to crèche up on the front porch of the science building. With chick numbers lower than usual this year, expeditioners are having to use the back door into science to give the chicks the opportunity for as little disturbance as possible.