Macquarie Island-a Sub Antarctic Gem

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by latrobe, Feb 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    Over the New Year we did a cruise to Antarctica sailing out of Dunedin,NZ.On the way back we stopped at Macquarie Island-officially part of the State of Tasmania,Australia.Access is limited-only 750 tourists a year.As well as the Antarctic cruises at least 3 companies do Sub antarctic cruises including Macquarie Island-Orion,Spirit of Enderby and Aurora.
    Macquarie Island turned on a great day.According to their records there are on average just 28 fine days per year here and we got one of them.We awoke on the 10th January anchored here.As a bonus the swell was also slight.We were set to enjoy a most enjoyable day.I have set up a slide show on trip advisor-150 pics that will take~15 minutes to watch if interested.Here is the link.
    Macca Slideshow & Video | TripAdvisor
    However i will include a selection in this TR as usual.Macca is oficially part of Tasmania but I got no special treatment as a Tassie worker and still had to fill out entry and exit cards.so after brekkie it was time to layer up and prepare to go ashore.Time for a few pics before going on the zodiac-
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    land on the rocky beach and first a walk along the beach.the wildlife here is amazing-King,Royal,Rockhopper and Gentoo penguins.Skua,petrels,giant seagulls and blue eyed shags as well as the elephant seals.A lot of the Island though has been ruined by rabbits who have had a population explosion since the feral cats were eradicated.
    So to the pics-
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  2. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    Back to the pictures.First the elephant seals-
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  3. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    More seals-
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    And then the scenery-​
     
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  4. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    And then the scenery-
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  5. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    So some more of the scenery.
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  6. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    Now for some of the history.Initially Macquarie Island was used by sealers-when they wiped them out they turned to getting oil from penguins blubber-threw them in the pot and boiled them down.
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    As time went on they got bigger pots.
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    A lot of stuff from times past.
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    The main base-we had great scones,jam and cream in the canteen-
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  7. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    I could not get enough of the penguins,just wonderful.Particularly on Macca they would just come up to you and check you out.The Gentoos were a bit circumspect and the Rockhoppers keep to themselves on steep slopes.the king penguins did check you out but a bit stand offish.The royals though were really inquisitive and would come right up to you.just looked great with their tuft of yellow hair.so prepare to be bored.First the King penguins-the first group we saw
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    a couple come and check you out-
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    The group may then come up but soon lose interest-
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    Then there was the group who had taken up residence in the middle of the base-
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    There was another waddle as we went to go back to the zodiacs(yes a group of penguins not nesting is a waddle)-
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  8. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    After lunch it was back in the zodiac and a landing on Sandy Bay.A welcoming committee of king penguins-
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    And boy were there a lot of them-
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    I walked to the King penguin rookery.There were 1 year old chicks molting and several adults were holding eggs on their feet-
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  9. latrobe
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    We had to stop at a rope.Once again a delegation was sent out to look me over-
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    They got close-
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    But once again after looking me up and down they turned and walked off-
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    Leaving the King penguin rookery I found the cause of a lot of problems on Macca.He wasn't very frightened-
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  10. latrobe
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    Then there was this rather thin fellow just finishing molting-
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    At the other end of the bay was another king penguin rookery-
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  11. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    there was a group of us the Royals would usually pick me out for special attention.I thought they showed a remarkable sense of character.The first group we saw came up to our group,several of us sat down and here is what happened-first from my perspective-
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    and then by mrslatrobe-
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  12. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    A skua is already taking an interest in my left boot.
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    so the Royals investigate.
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    And have a go at my right boot.
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    And here is the perpetrator about to lunge.
    The group then went and checked out mrslatrobe-
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  13. latrobe
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    Then wandered back to the shore-
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    Another group came up to mrslatrobe-
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    As we waited to go back to the ship for lunch there were some Gentoos-not nearly as inquisitive-
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    Once again the afternoon was going to be much more spectacular.That next.
     
  14. latrobe
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    Once again the Royals were inquisitive.In no way was the 5 metre rule going to be kept
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  15. latrobe
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  16. latrobe
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    We went up a new walkway.Good views.Evidence of Skuas having fed on penguin eggs.Nesting Giant Petrels.Then the Royal penguin rookery,simply amazing,though some odour as well.
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    A Creche.
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  17. latrobe
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    Well a few more of these adorable Royal penguins.the last of them i promise.First it was a good day for a swim-
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    Though others that had had their fill-
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  18. latrobe
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    Now for the flying birds of Macca.The most notable are the Skuas and Giant petrels.This Skua got very close-they are not afraid.
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    The Petrels though are much more shy and take off as you approach.They have learnt though to take rabbits and one pax got a great shot of a Petrel flying off with a rabbit.However they require a fair distance to take off and the staff at Macca have seen one surrounded by penguins who couldn't take off and pecked to death.They are so graceful in flight.

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  19. latrobe
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    Of course nature can be cruel as well-
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    Latrobe with a seal skull.
    Definitely not a seal vertebra.
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    And another creature who didn't make it.
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    Coconut shell on the beach-global warming must be here
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    But what surprised me was how many penguins we saw swimming around the boat-
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  20. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    When leaving Sandy Bay we went on a zodiac cruise to the point and a rockhopper penguin rookery-not nearly as impressive as the Royal rookery.
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    The water was incredibly clear-
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  21. latrobe
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    latrobe Silver Member

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    Our time at Macca has come to an end.I really enjoyed it.Our last view as we were leaving as the change had come through and there was no weay we would be able to do anything the next day.
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    As a consolation at dinner 2 of the pax at our table were 2 of the Macca rangers so a really interesting conversation but also an unexpected but in retrospect understandable desire of menu.Both really wanted a salad-they only get supplied with fresh food once a year and really do appreciate these ship visits.So the ranger sitting next to mrslatrobe ordered the salad and fresh fruit-she offered to give him 2 of her lamb cutlets-you would have thought she offered him a million dollars!We then ordered extra fresh fruit plus chocolates which they took with them when they had to leave before the rest of us had finished-again I must say the staff on the Orion was fantastic-they knew what we were doing and happily went beyond with larger serving sizes.
    So to Dinner-Mrslatrobe started with the Quail breast on pumpkin puree and I started with a French style seafood soup.
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    We both had the lamb cutlets Greek style and mango Bavarois-
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    After dinner we were part of the winning Trivia team-based on 60s TV shows-mrslatrobe was a standout star.By then it was 2330 and time for bed.The sea was becoming wilder,the wind blowing but we slept like logs.
    So if you ever have the chance Macquarie Island is a real treasure-go.​
     
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  22. kiwi
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    Awesome trip and report.

    The scenery shots remind me a lot of Wellington's south coast.
     
  23. milchap
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    I enjoyed your report. Well done.
     
  24. TheBeerHunter
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    Great photos, thanks for sharing!
     
  25. edison
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    Awesome TR! I never knew Macquarie is part of Tasmania! Learning new things everyday!
     

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