Sunday, February 9, 2014

63 - Magnificent Macca's Green Gorge and a circumnavigation........

Well hello friends,

Been a BIG couple weeks, so where to begin........

Going to do it in reverse as I'm sure your thinking.......circumnavigation??????  Now this only happened yesterday and since we have been here the weather hasn't been such to enable us to do this.

The West Coast of Macca can be quite treacherous then you add a 4.5m Inflatable and it becomes interesting! However it probably no definitely was the only way I was going to be able to see that much of the island as many of the parts we saw are closed and classified SMA's or "Special Managed Areas" mainly for the breeding roosting and rookeries of birds and penguins.

Enough jibba jabba here are some pics from that trip.............

So even before we departed on our trip there a problem, we had lots of fog. But thankfully the weather forecast was right and it soon burnt off and turned into a magnificent day. Think we topped out at 10.7c the hottest than many had seen since being on the island.

Then while getting the boats ready one turned up on the horizon. This isn't normal as we live in restricted waters and most boats coming into view are tourist boats and we know weeks out when they will be coming. This one turned into being one of the Sea Shepard boats coming into our waters to hide normally. The Japanese walking boats are not allowed into our waters so close and this gives Sea Shepard a little breathing space I guess.

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Almost looks like a war ship doesn't she........

Pic Michael Goldstein
Finally we were off and around North Head was the first obstacle. It was rough but soon enough we were around and the beautiful rugged West Coast. Whats more amazing about this is many of the slopes have been walked continually for the past years since the MIPEP (Maquarie Island Pest Eradication Prgram). These boys and girls walked almost every inch of the island in 20m intervals and later in 50m.

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: David Hawley
Amazing trip that docent happen all that often. To do it you need wind less than 15 knots, 3 boats. 3 Coxswins, 3 competent crew members, all the safety gear, wear dry suits, life jackets and 144L or 6 fuel tanks. So lots to organise and luck needs to be on your side. Definitely one for the memory banks the same as 2010-2011 Season boating trip.

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: David Hawley.
Once we neared the South end of the island we took the boats into a place called Caroline Cove. Not being able to land as it is another SMA (Special Managed Area) due to nesting Wandering Albatross. While sitting on the boats in Caroline Cove probably the most beautiful peak on the island pictured below Mt Haswell........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
And another view from the other side........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 A GP or Giant Petrel In the water at Caroline Cove...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Many GP's same place.........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Herd Point Hut was on my list of places to see, I did hope that we could have got off but the swells were coming in a little too much to enable a landing. Herd Point is the most Southern point of the Island............

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 We did see lots of wild life while we were out below is a pic of the Black Browed Albatross just chilling in the water on the East Coast on our way home.........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Been trying to get a good pic of one of these guys a Blue-Eyed Cormorant which I think i got what I wanted............

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 We also stopped past Lusitania Bay on the way back which is the biggest King Penguin on the Island with 100,000 breading pairs. Smell are memorable too trust me which I'm going to go more into a little later.This pic docent even cover all of them......................

Pic: David Hawley
Ahhhhh Jammie pictured below. Jammie is one of the bird girls we have on the island and a great person to have in the boat. She has an intimate knowledge of the island and the birds that live here and where they are..........

Pic: David Hawley
One of the birds she is interested in is the Sooty Albatross. I talked about the Sootys in BLOG 7 and managed to find out that Jammie had a video of one calling so here it is!!!!


video
Video: Jammie Cleveland

Dave took a little walk on Friday after noon, well not as much of a walk as a wonder as it was only about a 100m each way walk, ANYHOO he want down to Garden Cove and got a couple good shoots. 

Below is a good one of a Rock Hopper............

Pic David Hawley
And their chick are now a little easier to see too..........

Pic: David Hawley
While he was there taking the shots he sat down near a little Fur Seal. Now these guys can be a little nasty at times and as per normal I think Davids deodorant has been winning him any friends. This isn't the first seal that has too a dislike to him and wish I could have shown you pictures of the Elephant seal that wanted to have a go at him, but unfortunately for you i was too busy being hit in the back of the leg with Davids walking pole!! LOL

Pic: David Hawley
Being watch the while time.............

Pic: David Hawley
Now for the good stuff.......Last weekend we managed to get a super long weekend off and walked to a place on the East Coast called Green Gorge Hut. Well not so direct route there as we stopped off at Brothers Point Hut on the way and meet up with Vicky who was also coming along. Was a super low tide so walking along the coast was both easy and fun as there is lots to see and what felt like a short time we were there. Next day off to Green Gorge, now this is the furthest any of us had been with the exception of Dave. Fridgy, Vicky and myself had only been as far as brothers and Green was a further  6km South as he crow flies. Not that there are any crows here and there for the trip too us I guess around 4 hours.  So the picture journey is going to begin at Green Gorge as all the rest you've seen before..........

Pic: David Hawley
 Green Gorge definitely my favourite hut of all Stations that I've been to. Comfortably sleeps 6 and with a King Penguin rookery at the back door what more could you need, besides air freshener!

Pic: David Hawley
 Hard to imagine why I liked it so much isn't it!!!!!

Pic: David Hawley
 Couldn't keep the smile off my face........

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
 David getting up and personal with some new friends..........

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
Setting up the GoPro for some up close stuff......

Pic: David Hawley
 Didn't have to worry about placement of the cameras as they came to us!

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
 Then there was also the rookery, only a very small one compared to Lusitania Bay but none less amazing. All the sounds of the Penguins calling, chicks chirping, smells that are undesirable and sights to blow ones mind.

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
A random Royal Penguin among the Kings. They weren't too happy about him being their either!

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Having a good sleep..........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Think they are trying to show off to the girls around not too sure on this behaviour..........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Then there was some arty ones I took............
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
 They did love to have a swim out the front and clean themselves and if you could smell what they live in you could understand why..............
Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Then a good old beach landing, penguin style...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
Of course the ever present Sub Antarctic Skua was there watching as always..........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Pic: Michael Goldstein
A couple good ones of Kelp Gulls...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Pic: Michael Goldstein

Some BIG boys having a play fight.........

Pic: Vicky Heinrich

Some not so big boys trying to keep out of the way................

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Some really BIG boys after a big night I think...........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Now here goes something that is going to be kind of difficult to explain and reminds me of THIS blog which is a amusing explanation of how to drive a dozer..........

So here goes........

A shovel not any shovel but a stainless steel one. Better as it docent go rusty as it continually is in the salt water. WHY???? Well its a poo shovel........

Pic: Michael Goldstein
 Then there is a poo jacket.......why do you need a poo jacket you say. Well it Maquarie Island sunshine thats why, unfortunately I am unable to utilise this bit of kit as its a little too small. Now why would you need these two things. Well the loo is a short walk down to the waters edge. Amusing as you'll be half way through your morning business and you'll feel as though your being watched...........and you are. About 10-20 King Penguins will be behind you watching every glorious moment. Now that I've shared that I'm going to move right along!!

Pic: Michael Goldstein
Time for the long weekend ran out and there was the 16km walk back to station in front of us, this time we decided to walk overland and the track coincidentally was called the overland track!
Fridgy Dave on the right with boss man David and me before we started. Don't know about the others but having deciding to bring my big camera and the rest of my kit made my pack around the 16kg mark. 

Pic: Vicky Heinrich

Some amazing landscapes..............


Pic: David Hawley
Mosses............

Pic: Vicky Heinrich

Little red thinggies..............

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
Very nice walk once on the plateau.............

Pic: David Hawley
Think this pic was taken after we had walked about half way and it was lunchtime hiding from the wind.............. 



Pic: Vicky Heinrich
All the Hunters were on their way back to work after having a couple days off back on station. The overland track was a highway and we ran into 5-6 different groups. Below is Nick and Waggs his rabbit hunting dog.
Pic: Vicky Heinrich
Then Nick who docent have a dog but had a different type of friend that he hunts with.......


Pic: David Hawley
Then the track continued.............and continued..........and continued.........

Pic: David Hawley
Until we had station in our sights...............


Pic: David Hawley

Pic: Vicky Heinrich
Was a VERY nice feeling coming down the last hill on our way back and believe me a hot shower, flush toilet and someone else's cooked dinner went down a treat...........

OK guys this has been another epic blog entry hope everyone enjoyed the pics as much as I did taking them. As per always any questions or specific things you'd like to see I'm only here for about another month so ask away as once I'm gone I'm gone!!!!

Take Care,

Michael

P.S..............."A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
                   John Keats