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HIGHLIGHTS FROM DAVE MORGAN
MACQUARIE ISLAND EXPEDITION OF SUMMER 2001/2002
Home | Macquarie Is | Davis Base | Casey Base
 
Sept 01, Oct 01, Nov 01, Dec 01, Jan 02, Zodiac incident, Feb 02, Mar 02
 
 


SEPTEMBER 2001

On the 2nd, I departed home for Melbourne.

On the 3rd, Ozone training, at the Bureau of Meteorology training centre in Broadmeadows.

On the 4th, continuing Ozone training.

On the 5th, Ozone training continues.

On the 6th, Electrolyser training. I departed Melbourne for Hobart in the evening.

On the 7th, I am kitted out with gear at the Antarctica Division in Kingston.

On the 10th, I attended introduction day at the Antarctica Division.

On the 11th, training at the Weather office at Hobart airport.

On the 12th, continuing Meteorology training at Hobart airport. September 11th,
It happened, America under attack from terrorism.

On the 13th, and 14th, I attended more training and briefings.

On the 17th, I fronted up at Hobart airport for more Meteorology training.

On the 18th, and 19th, I attended fork lift training, in practical and theory.

On the 20th, and 21st, I fronted up at Hobart airport for more Meteorology training.

On the 23rd, I left Hobart by bus for Bronte Park. Bronte Park is situated about
2 hours drive north of Hobart. All Antarctica field training is completed at
Bronte Park. We set up tents in the evening. It rains most of the night, giving
us a good preparation for Macquarie Island.

On the 24th, navigation and compass bearing exercise, search and rescue training,
field radio communications training, plus lectures on environment and wildlife.

On the 25th, further lectures in the morning. We had quad bike training in the afternoon.
In the evening, dinner, drinks and speeches from the Antarctica Division executive
officers.

On the 26th, I departed for Hobart in the afternoon.

On the 27th, fire training at the Tasmania Fire Training Centre, Cambridge.

On the 28th, I boarded the ship, Aurora Australis in the morning. Lectures and
safety drills for most of the day. The Aurora Australis departs Hobart for
Macquarie Island at 6.30pm.

On the 29th, and 30th, We experienced very rough conditions, with 7 metres seas.
I am confined to my bunk most of the way due to sea sickness.

OCTOBER
On the 1st, we arrive at Macquarie at 11.30am. We are unable to anchor, due
to rough sea conditions, so the AA sails up and down the island for the next
3 hours. The rough sea conditions becomes calm later in the afternoon, so we
are able to go ashore to Macquarie Island by zodiac boats. I unpack my gear
in the evening.

On the 2nd, station meeting with station leader and other expeditioners. Tour
of the station.

On the 4th, I complete my first Ozone balloon flight into the atmosphere.
I attended a meeting with the station leader.

On the 5th, earth tremor occurred tonight at 11.50pm.

On the 6th, my first slushy duties. Slushy duties consists of cleaning toilets,
and showers, mop floors, vacuum carpets etc. Light snow falls in the evening.

On the 8th, strong blustery wind conditions.

On the 9th, we had all types of weather conditions today, with sunshine, small hail,
and snow showers.

On the 10th, I head down the west coast of the Island, to view Southern elephant
seals and and their pups, also check out Gentoo penguins. Very strong winds in
the evening.

On the 12th, fire drill today.

On the 16th, I climbed North head of the Island.

On the 17th, first aid training with the Doctor.

On the 18th, started our field training today with Christian (Field training officer),
along with Bec, Ken and Robbo. We set off to Gadget Gully, climbed steep Gadget
gorge (about 300 metres) onto the plateau, then across land to Bauer Bay (about 8 Kms).
I felt very exhausted by the time we reached Bauer Bay hut.

On the 19th, our field training continued. Did my toileting in the sea.
We then walked back to the east coast by compass to Sandy Bay, then onto
Brothers Point hut. (about 5 Kms walk). The weather was not the best.
We experienced some adverse weather in snow hail and ice pellets.

On the 20th, we depart Brothers Point hut at about 8.00am, along the beach
towards the Nuggets. We experienced very ordinary weather, in strong
northerly gale force winds gusting to 90km/hr, with sleet and rain. We are
slogging into a head wind, along the beach on sand, and rock pebbles to the
Nuggets.
After reaching the Nuggets, we climb a treacherous steep cliff face, to get off
the beach from a incoming high tide. On top of the cliff, we follow a narrow
track, on the cliff edge. I am struggling, with a strain calf muscle, before we
reach the base around 4.00pm. All up, we covered about 9 kms from Brothers
Point.

On the 21st, treatment from the Doctor for my strain calf muscle.

On the 22nd, moderate to heavy snow showers this day.

On the 26th, I am confined to the base, by the Doctor for my strain calf muscle.

On the 31st, string from the ozone box to the weather balloon broke, with the the
ozone box crashing onto the beach.

NOVEMBER
On the 2nd, and 3rd, slushy duties.

On the 4th, and 5th, fog, drizzle and strong winds.

On the 10th, Australian election day, Our votes was sent in by fax, by our
electoral officer.

On the 11th, and 12th, there are strong gale force winds all day.

On the 15th, I go for a couple hours walk along the west beach.

On the 16th, I went out along the beach to check out elephant seals.
Not a good day, with snow showers with hail and strong winds.

On the 18th, I went up to North Head with Tubby.

On the 19th, I attended SAR training in the morning. Gale force winds and blizzard conditions later in the day.

On the 20th, gale force winds with snow/hail showers continue.

On the 21st, SAR training in the afternoon, where I practice abseiling down
at North Head.

On the 23rd, a big surf in Buckle Bay.

On the 27th, at Secluded Bay, I help Bec to count fur seals pups, as well
we weigh two pups. What a experience!! A tourist ship arrives today.

On the 28th, again I help Bec with fur seals pups at Secluded Bay. This
time, we manage to weigh one pup. A second tourist ship arrives today.
The ship brings in some mail for us.

On the 30th, a miserable day with rain and drizzle.

DECEMBER
On the 1st, I am in the kitchen on slushy duties.

On the 2nd, strong gale force winds.

On the 4th, I view four whales in Buckle Bay.

On the 12th, strong gale force winds.

On the 13th, after morning tea, at 10.45am, Tubby and I set out for Bauer
Bay. We arrived at Bauer Bay hut at 2.15pm, via Gadget gorge. The trip
up Gadget gorge, was not so bad, as we took our time. The weather was
overcast, but windy 40 to 45 knots. Spent a quite and restful night at the
hut.

On the 14th, we left Bauer Bay hut at 7.30am. Coming out of Bauer Bay, was
tough, due to steep inclines and thick vegetation. We arrived back at the
base at 10.30am, a 3 hour trip. The weather was snow/hail with strong winds.

On the 15th, snow/hail strong winds. Saturday night dinner theme “Under the
Sea”. I fronted up as a fisherman.

On the 18th, a tourist boat visit. Drizzle most of the day.

On the 22nd, I am in the kitchen doing slushy duties again.

On the 23rd, spectacular rolling stratus cloud descending from the plateau, I took
some photos.

On the 24th, all day boating to Bauer Bay along the west coast to resupply the
hut with food. Two zodiac boats used for the resupply of the hut. The first boat
crew Christopher, Nick and Matty, second boat crew Mick, Helen and myself.

On the 25th, my first Christmas day in Antarctica was a cold one. Mick as Santa and
his helpers arrived at the station by quads, with plenty of presents for us all.
A most enjoyable day had by all.

On the 30th, another tourist boat visit.

On the 31st, we had a bbq for our new years party.


JANUARY 2002
On the 4th, to Secluded beach and Aerial cove, to help Bec with fur seals.
My main job is to help Bec, to catch the pups, weigh them, and help with
the biopsy procedures. There are two types of fur seals on the island.
The two types are Gazella and Tropicalis. The difference being in colour,
the Tropicalis seals have a creamy coloured chest and face while the Gazella
seals are dark grey to brown in colour.

On the 5th, I walk to the Nuggets with Tubby.

On the 10th, another tourist boat visit.

On the 15th, I take film of Rockhopper penguins. They are found near
the station, on the rocks on the west side of North Head towards Catch Me Cave.

Zodiac Resupply Incident

On the 18th, all day boating to resupply huts on the east coast at Brothers Point, Green Gorge, and Hurd Point. Hurd Point is situated at the bottom of the island. We also picked up rocks from a geologist, at Green Gorge.
There are three boating parties, Chris and Fiji in the first zodiac boat, Gerbil and Robbo in the second, and Cal and myself in the third zodiac boat.
Everything was going well to plan until we reached the bottom part of the island, when the weather turned against us. The wind picked up to around 25 knots, seas to 3 metres. The leader of the boating party decided to keep going.
Our boat was the first to attempt to catch a wave into Hurd Point, but unfortunately the boat flipped, on a huge wave. I was thrown into the dangerous rough waters. I remember hearing, Gerbil yelling out, where is Dave. I somehow managed to resurface, seeing Cal still attached to the zodiac boat. A large wave forced the boat, Cal and I, onto rocks, then a strong rip, forced us out again into deep swirling water.
I am struggling at this stage from exhaustion, luckily another big wave pushed us ashore onto the beach at Hurd Point. The boat was a total right off, ripped to pieces from the rocks. We lost everything in the boat, including all supplies and the geologist rocks.
Cal and I were suffering from deep cuts, shock, and exhaustion.
Chris and Fiji’s boat reached the beach safely from a big wave, but Gerbil and Robbo, had a similar experience to us, with their boat flipping from a huge wave, but luckily, they were swept onto the beach first up. They also lost everything in their boat.
After debating what we should do, on our return journey, we decided to try to attempt to get out through the big waves. We noticed there was about fifteen seconds between series of waves. It was decided Cal would be allotted to Chris and Fiji’s boat, and I, to Gerbil and Robbo’s boat. Chris and Fiji’s boat would carry the motor from the wreck zodiac boat. It was also decided, as Cal was a strong swimmer, it would be best to have a extra hand at launching the zodiac boats out. The launch was the most critical time, with only fifteen seconds allowed to get out, over the big incoming waves. This means that Cal would have to swim out to Chris and Fiji’s boat after the launch of both boats. We all helped to get Chris and Fiji’s boat out into the swirling water. They managed to get out through the series of big waves at their first attempt. Now it was our turn, our first attempt was unsuccessful. We pushed the boat out into the swirling water, with the help from Cal, but Gerbil couldn’t start the motor straight away. He got the motor going too late, and before we knew, we was on top of wave, and the boat flipped again and we were all thrown into the swirling waters again . This time we were all swept ashore by the big wave onto the beach. I am pretty fed up with the whole situation at this stage, and told Gerbil, I would prefer to walk back 34 kms back to base. Gerbil said he would cook me a beautiful tender steak, if we got through this. On our second attempt, we managed just to get out through the big waves, but not without dramas. Gerbil again had trouble starting the motor. We were all pretty relieved, by getting out through the big waves. Now it was Cal’s turn, to swim out to Chris and Fiji’s boat.
At his first attempt to swim out through the big waves, he got caught up in some thick kelp. At first we thought he had drowned as he disappeared for some time in the kelp.
He reappeared, and his second attempt, he made it to the boat. Any other person, probably would have drowned, but Cal was very fit and athletic bloke. The waves was very big, on top of the waves you could see part of island, and in the trough between the waves, you couldn’t see a thing. We returned to the base late afternoon, four hours behind schedule, feeling sore, bruised, and sun burnt. Yes Gerbil did cooked me a tender steak that evening. I think it was one of the best steaks, I have ever eaten.

On the 21st, we had a debrief on the boating incident with the station leader. There was
quite a number of recommendations and instructions brought forward from the meeting.
Gale winds up to 54 knots all day.On the 23rd, fog, rain and drizzle all day.

On the 28th, the “Sir Hubert-Wilkins” tourist ship arrived in the morning.
In the afternoon, I went to assist Kathryn, Corey, Matt, and Cath to capture a female elephant seal. They weighed, took a biopsy, and put a radio tracker on the female elephant seal.

On the 29th, fog, rain and drizzle all day.

On the 30th, gale force winds today.

FEBRUARY
On the 3rd, gale force winds today.

On the 5th, I went to a place called the Feather bed, towards Handspike Point to help Chris, a park ranger to relocate a track around some nesting birds.

On the 6th, I went on a all day boating trip, to resupply huts at Brothers Point and Green Gorge. We dropped Al and Nick off at Brothers Point. I was the driver of the zodiac boat from Brothers Point to Green Gorge.

On the 7th, a tourist boat arrived today.

On the 9th, it rained all day.

On the 10th, a QANTAS jet flew over the island today. Unable to see it, due to
low cloud.

On the 11th, and 12th, mist and drizzle today

On the 15th, I went for a walk with Tubby to Tractor rock.

On the 16th, I spent the day in the kitchen on slushy duties.

On the 17th, at approx 9pm, a earth tremor hit the island. It recorded 5.3 on the Richter scale. I was at work at the time, the old Meteorology building rocked and scared the living day lights out of me. The main centre was recorded about 40 kms away. The earth tremor lasted about 10 seconds.

On the 18th, it rained all day.

On the 21st, it rained all day. Also a big sea swell.

On the 22nd, we had drizzle periods today.

On the 24th, we had showers and drizzle periods today.

MARCH
On the 2nd, I went to visit the station doctor Cath. I am having pains in my lower left hand side of stomach. Cath thinks I have strained my stomach muscles.

On the 3rd, gale force winds today. Maximum wind strength to 57 knots.
We had rain and hail after lunch.

On the 4th, it is my birthday today. Gerbil cooked me a delicious rum cake.

On the 7th, it rained all day. We received 35.6mm of rain.

On the 11th, I walked with Tubby to Handspike Point to view the nesting of the Cormorants around the mud pool. The end of summer expedition party in the evening.

On the 13th, the Aurora Australis anchored in Buckles Bay this morning about 5.30am. The change over, and resupply of the base begins.

On the 14th, to the 18th, the change over from the old crew to the new crew, plus the resupply of the base continues.

On the 19th, I depart the island at 1.00pm for the Aurora Australis by helicopter.
The Aurora departs Macquarie Island at 7.30pm for Australia.

On the 20th and the 21st, I am sailing home to Hobart on rough seas. I am in my bunk suffering from sea sickness.

On the 22nd, the Aurora Australis arrives back in Hobart at 1.30pm.
I am debriefed in the afternoon.

On the 23rd, I fly home to Queensland, left Hobart at 11.30am, I arrived home
in Yeppoon at 6.30am.


END OF MACQUARIE ISLAND EXPEDITION OF SUMMER 2001/2002

 
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