This week at Casey: 12 December 2008
Shortly after Bob J compiled and filed his final "This week at Casey" last week, he handed the station over to Cookie on Thursday evening and the 62nd ANARE became the incumbents of Casey for the next twelve months.
On Friday morning the departing 2008 wintering party said their final farewells and were transported to the Casey wharf in Priscilla, the Air transport passenger bus, for a quick Newcombe Bay cruise out to the AA.
Once all the passengers, their luggage, and the helicopters were all on board, the AA departed Casey for Davis. The ship was farewelled with the traditional flares and no doubt some mixed sense of trepidation and anticipation for those about to spend their first summer or winter in Antarctica. For them, after all the months of training and preparation now the adventure had really begun.
Last Friday the new Summerers at Casey farewelled Aurora Australis as she departed for Fremantle via Davis Station with most of the Wintering team. Two Winterers (Tod and Leighton) have stayed on a little longer. For arriving V1 expeditioners onboard V2 there was a feeling of relief to be finally be commencing our jobs after spending some seven weeks aboard. We feel like seasoned sailors now!
We have been experiencing fantastic weather overall for our first week on station, unlike other stations' rumoured grey days. Not long after arriving, Steve G and Jenn McG tested out two of the kites that had been a popular purchase for V1 expeditioners on their short visit to Hobart. There were numerous onlookers who were entertained by Jenn losing control of the kite a few times and forcing everyone to duck for cover! Snow Petrels were very interested in how these brightly coloured birds were showing their aerobatic skills.
There have still been many trips to Shirley Island to visit the Adélie Penguin rookeries before the main route across the sea ice finally breaks away. Two Weddell Seals have made that section of ice home, they have been giving the passing procession of expeditioners some weary looks as we pass near their territory.
Cross Country Skiing in the Rec Area has been the recreation of choice for many. On Sunday Priscilla the Bus took a large group a few kilometers up the road to the Skiway for the leisurely ski downhill. There were a few fit and eager people who purposely missed the bus and skied all the way up to the Wilkins and Jack's Donga turn off, then back down.
Science On the Go
Five days after the ship left us here at Casey much hard work by everyone on station has paid off with the field science projects leaping out of the starting blocks. To get to this point vehicles have been serviced, skiway maintained, C212's configured and serviced, meals prepared, cargo sorted and much more. This morning at 3 am the Law Dome drilling team left station with a supporting traverse team, bound for a drill site 10km west of the summit. The drillers will spend the next 3 weeks drilling an ice core while the support team of Bloo, Jen and Paul will help establish the camp and skiway before returning to station in the vehicles.
A few hours later the seal researchers left with the FTO's to set up and start work on the Browning Peninsula. Here John, Ben and Owen supported by FTO Marty will be investigating the Weddell seals in the area, including this year's pups. On the same trip FTO Rob will take the Met team of Kheyan and Liam to service an AWS at Haupt Nunatak.
The whale research team "Team Minke" have also started today with their first flight over the sea ice in the Casa 212 to undertake a survey of Minke Whale distribution in sea ice. They'll be hoping for as much good weather as possible over the coming weeks to fly as many survey lines as they can.
Our second FTO named Marty is also busy running 24hr survival training courses with everyone enjoying the delights of freeze dried meals, bivvy bags and magnetic variation.
Over the coming weeks we will try to bring you a brief profile of who's who at Casey.
This week we profile Dieso Nick M. At 24 Nick is one of our younger team members. He comes from Bordertown in South Australia and has ended up at Casey after discussing a desire to travel with his Mum. Nick was looking at Canada, his Mum saw an ad for mechanics in Antarctica and suggested that it might be an option. Nick listened to his Mum and here he is for a year. He is a keen Hockey player and enjoys most sports, loves old cars and machinery and has a desire to take a working holiday around Aus some time in the future. It is Nick's first trip to Antarctica, he has been surprised at how warm it has been for his first week on the continent but knows that that won't last forever. He is pleased to be here, looking forward to the challenges that the year might bring and especially pleased about the great people that he is working with.
On Sunday Ian and Todor headed up to Wilkins: Ian to install some new equipment and Todor to do some maintenance work on the Automatic Weather Station at the runway site.
The two set off early Sunday morning with intention of a quick day trip to complete their various tasks and, despite the usual things that happen when a plan suggests things should go without a hitch, they were headed back home by mid-afternoon and contemplating Sunday dinner at Casey.
However, their anticipation was short lived when the Hägglunds developed a serious fuel leak around fifteen kilometres from Wilkins. The Hägglunds was promptly shut down along with any plans of arriving at Casey in time for Sunday dinner. After advising Casey of the problem, Blair and Jeff came down from Wilkins and Ian and Todd spent the night at the runway camp.
On Monday the Wilkins road service organisation transported the stranded Caseyites back home and arranged a heavy haulage unit to head down to Casey with a sled to transport the defunct Hägglunds.
Digging yourself into a hole.
Steve our resident plant Operator has really dug himself into a hole and won't be getting out for the next week or two. He has begun the long task of digging out the road to the wharf so that it is clear and usable for resupply next month. With a lot of snow falling during the winter, a broken down bulldozer and his workmate and fellow Plant Operator out helping the Law Dome glacio team deploy into the great white hell he has his work cut out for him. 200 metres done, 1000 to go.