Name: Andrea Turbett
What is your occupation on Macca? Describe the main responsibilities of your role on the island.
Ranger in charge for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Penny (wildlife ranger) and I are the two rangers looking after this very special and remote sub–Antarctic island — a nature reserve and a world heritage area. Best job in the world.
Where are you from?
What is your normal job back in the ‘real world'?
I work for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service at home as well, in reserve management planning for southern Tasmania (including Macquarie Island). It usually involves working on management plans and progressing assessments to determine how parts of national parks and reserves can be used. I like being able to help look after special Tasmanian places.
Have you been to Macca or other Antarctic stations previously?
I popped in for a quick Macquarie Island visit in August 2010 when I was helping with the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project (rabbit and rodents). I was here again for a longer look around from October 2014 to November 2015.
What was your main motivation in coming to Macca in 2017?
To live and work in such a spectacular and isolated place and learn more about it, while hopefully putting what I learnt last time to good use. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be here again.
List some of your favourite aspects of life on Macca so far:
Returning to favourite places.
Checking out the vegetation regrowth, especially the flourishing tussock grass — it keeps getting taller and thicker.
Daily penguin encounters.
Giant petrels swooping and screeching overhead — sometimes they seem like pterodactyls from dinosaur movies.
Being part of this small unique community of fifteen people on a tiny island speck in the middle of the ocean, with the next boat not expected until October or November.
What are some of the most challenging things about living on Macca?
The incessant wind, sometimes referred to as the ‘furious fifties'. I can usually tell how many knots the wind is based on how close it is to blowing me over. Surprise large waves can also be quite hazardous — constant vigilance is required. As a wise ranger once said, ‘never trust the ocean!'
What Macca animal do you feel represents you best and why?
Maybe Antarctic tern? They’re little and like the wild weather. I enjoy watching them go fishing in the surf and get cranky at each other.
What is the one thing you miss most whilst on the island?
Probably Cora, my scruffy Smithfield dog. Special people are also missed but it is easier to stay in touch with them.
What do you NOT miss about normal life?
Traffic. Crowds. Hot weather.
What do you like doing outside of work on Macca?
Enjoying the solitude and testing my new zoomy camera lens.
Name your go-to snack whilst out in the field?
Popcorn, unquestionably. Best hut snack for sharing.
Identify your favourite piece of AAD (Australian Antarctic Division)-issued kit?
My map of the island — indispensable! I expect that it will become as battered as the one I had here last time (annotated with favourite routes, invented place names and good memories… like Boulders of Doom and Lake A-Team).
One thing you wish you had packed but didn’t?
Is there anyone you would like to give a shout-out to back at home?
My family and buddies (especially my longest bestie, Sophita).