We awoke last Friday to a sunny day, negligible swell and 13 knots of wind that together heralded an impromptu boating day! A crew was hastily assembled and we scrambled to the boat shed to take advantage of the conditions. It was the perfect time to get in some Macca boating practice ahead of the arrival of the resupply vessel in October.
On Saturday morning all expeditioners available on station joined our fire chief, Nick, for our regular fire training. Nick and Duncan walked us through the science building and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) buildings to discuss particular hazards that may be present in the event of a fire. The location of the uninterrupted power supplies, switch boards, server racks, plant room equipment, hydrogen generators and hydrogen cylinders were all identified to us, along with a suggested course of action for any responders. The session was especially interesting to those amongst us who typically do not work in or access these areas. These training sessions and the information that we share within the group are a critical aspect of our ability to maintain a self-reliant emergency response, down here in the subantarctic.
We welcomed the arrival of ‘Fatso', the first elephant seal pup of 2015 on 10 September. This little fella was spotted by eagle eye Lionel on the west coast. Mark was the winner of the pup arrival sweepstakes. Along with naming rights he was presented with a certificate and box of chocolates by plumber Ben who is wistfully coveting a new career as a trainee wildlife ranger.
The second elephant seal census was completed on Sunday, with Justin and Ben taking the east coast and Mark and Nick heading down the west coast. A few beachmasters are now establishing their harems of females on the west coast and the east side of the isthmus survey area is still relatively quiet.
The giant petrel census continued this week with a fresh troupe of volunteers setting out with the TASPARKS rangers. Rich, Duncan, Louise and Jacque all embraced the opportunity to see our Rangers working first hand with some of the islands beautiful wildlife.
The interesting beach finds continue here on Macca with Rich and Andrea finding a South African ‘MetOcean’ buoy on the west coast. Anna on the walk back from looking for northern giant petrel nests picked up a tracking unit complete with the hair of the creature that it used to be attached to. The details on the device directed us to contact a Scottish marine mammal research group, but the most exciting label was the one that said “Reward”. We look forward to further unravelling the mystery of these two latest finds in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!