Saturday, December 5, 2009

Scones at Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island? Where is that?
It is a small Island south of Tasmania and new Zealand, about half way down to Antarctica. We sailed for two days with good winds and arrived here yesterday, one day early. There are quite a few people living here, mainly for research purpose. Winters are very long and cold and even now in summer it is still chilly and when the wind blows with 30 to 60 knots it is 3 o C, so not a beach holiday destination.
There are many plant species endemic to this island and of course, like so many other islands in the Antarctic have a rather infamous past with humans coming here for whale hunt and boiling down seals and penguins for the oil. People were just dropped off and then hopefully collected again about a year later, sometimes even longer. So to make sure they had a bit variety in their meals, not just seal, penguin and whale, they introduced rabbits, which still today are a pest as they have no predators and there is a big program to get rid of them. Then as a welcome supplement there is a plant called Macquarie Cabbage, now of course under protection. It is very rich in Vitamin C so the people living here had no problems with scurvy. Here on the photo are still the old boilers for the penguins.

Now of course all these people here on the island have to be fed and the man in charge for the kitchen is James. He cooks every day for the crew, including vegetarians and any other special request. He says so, that they are a good bunch and make his life easy, lucky otherwise the year down at Maquarie would not be fun. The young lady next to him is Trish, she is on kitchen duty and helping him today.

Now, how often would he go shopping. There are no shops and a ship makes a delivery only once a year. Yup one delivery every 12 month. So there is a lot of planning to make sure he has enough stuff in the freezer. The kitchen is well equipped and nice and spacious.

There is even a small library of cookbooks, actually quite a big one, so only the sky is the limit for the cooking.......and of course what is in the freezer

We were all treated to Scones with Jam and Cream and of course a cup of hot coffee. How nice after being out in the cold for nearly 2 hours, walking amongst seals and penguins, having very cheeky Giant Petrels walking around and actually just enjoying the roughness of the island with a light drizzle of rain and quite a bit of mist. It is nice to work on a ship that sails on "the path lesser travelled". Now the scone recipe will follow shortly, not the one from Macquarie, but my favoured, I am sure you will enjoy.
We are now on the way north again heading towards Campbell, Auckland and Snares Island, all stunning islands with plenty of wild life


  1. Fantastic blog! It amazes me how the internet has connected people all over the world. Blogging from a ship, it blows my mind. I look forward to reading the next instalment:)

  2. Thanks a lot Malcolm. As I am traveling the whole time and cooking professionally the blog idea just came up. I am happy that you enjoy the blog and no worries, there is plenty more to come. Love your blog too, but need a better internet connection to really follow properly.


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