Sad to bid 'Macca' goodbye

Last updated 05:00 30/03/2014

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This week Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project rodent dog handler Leona Plaisier talks about the process of winding up the project. 

The cool thing about heading out every month to work on Macquarie Island, is that whatever you are planning, you have to rely on your own legs to get you there.

For the first week and a half of February we were busy pulling out all the monitoring gear which has been on the island since April 2013.

It took roughly 10 days to remove it all.

I headed down the east coast, while my teammate, Angela Newport, went down the west coast. We were each accompanied by a Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project rabbit hunter to give us a hand carrying the gear back to the huts.

We had an awesome run of weather, with many consecutive sunny, clear days with little wind. We were even able to work without our waterproofs on. We were constantly expecting the generous amount of good weather to break, but this didn't happen for quite some time.

The first of five water tank huts has been dismantled already, and the dismantling of the second one has been started. The last of the hunting is now underway and it's a pretty special feeling knowing that we're in the last stages of the pest eradication team being on the island, and possibly working in areas people won't be seeing again for quite some time.

After removing the rodent monitoring gear, Ange and I split up and spent the last week hunting the escarpments from two different areas.

I walked into the station early to check some things and to be "slushy" or kitchen hand which was perfect, because an all-mighty storm whacked Macca on that day.

We recorded winds up to 125kmh on the station - I can only imagine what it would have been on the plateau.

We're having one final break before heading out for two final weeks of hunting on the island. We've already started packing up the gear from our rooms in preparation for the ship's arrival.

This time it is likely to be the French vessel L'Astrolabe, rather than the Aurora Australis. It is expected to arrive at Macca near the end of March for a station handover and smaller scale resupply, before taking us back to Hobart during the first week of April.

Ange and I will stay in Tasmania for two extra weeks before the dogs can fly back to New Zealand. After 12 months of being on the island it really feels like home and it will be sad to see it disappear in the distance, so I best make the most of it in the coming weeks.

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- The Marlborough Express

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