This week at Casey 8 January 2010
It's been all systems go at Casey during the past few weeks.
Christmas Day at Casey was postponed a day due to our resupply lasting up to the evening of the 25th December (the ship arrived on the 18th), and as the ship departed our harbour for the first and last time this summer we were able to kick back and finally get our heads around Christmas Day celebrations. So for us at Casey, Christmas Day was celebrated on the 26th December and Boxing Day on the 27th December.
Christmas and New Year at Casey
Like all Christmas Days around the world, Santa and his helpers paid a visit to Casey – we were grateful he was able to reschedule his visit, arriving on the 26th December. Eighty-six Casey and Wilkins expeditioners enjoyed the scrumptious lunch put on by our very own chefs, Steve and Rocket.
The following day 24 brave Casey-ites braved the cold icy waters for the Casey Boxing Day swim.
New Year's Eve was celebrated in true Casey style – a fancy dress night. There were numerous super heros and TV characters on show.
Flights in and out of Wilkins
Due to inclement weather at Wilkins, the A319 was unable to land on the original date of 21st December and after a couple of false starts the airbus finally arrived on the 23rd which was good news for those travelling home as they thought they wouldn't make it back in time for Christmas, particularly for five of our expeditioners who had been at Casey for over a year.
On the Casey bound list we had 12 arrive just in time to join us for Christmas celebrations, three of those were media representatives - two journalists/cameramen from the ABC Catalyst program and also Jo Chandler from The Age.
One group which didn't quite make it out of Casey before Christmas was our international friends (Canadians and Americans) who are part of the Icecap Program. Christmas Day with the Casey team – what more could you ask for?
More international visitors
Last week the Xuelong (large Chinese resupply ship) visited our shores to pick up nine Chinese CHINARE members who flew in on the A319 aircraft. Our visitors remained on station for few hours where they enjoyed a brief tour of station and lunch with some of the Casey team.
News from Team Minke at Bunger Hills
In the middle of a scattering of rocky hilltops rising out of the ice 250 kilometres west of Casey, a tiny tent village has sprouted - the summer quarters for a community of expeditioners collecting data on minke whales.
The 11 new settlers of Bunger Hills have pitched their camp around a "main street" of four old apple huts, the legacy of the first inhabitants at the rarely used Edgeworth David field station, who landed on the site back in 1986.
For three weeks this summer Bunger Hills is the staging post for an ambitious program of aerial surveys, combing almost 100 nautical miles of pack ice looking for minke whales. This is the third year that the Team Minke project, a collaboration of the AAD and CSIRO, has been airborne over Antarctica gathering information on minke numbers, behaviour and habitat.
The team consists of five scientists - team leader and statistician Dr Natalie Kelly, her CSIRO colleague Dr David Peel, and biologists Dr Amanda Hodgson, Josh Smith and Shannon McKay. The pilots accompanying them for the first stage of their work at Bunger are Dan Colborne and Rod Robertson. Supporting the whole effort are field leader Rob Brittle and Jenn McGhee - AGSO (Aircraft Ground Support Officer), chief cook and all-rounder. Rob and Jenn are dug in at Bunger for the long haul and will spend some five weeks at the remote site, having put it all together before the whaloes arrived, and destined to stay till stumps, pack up the show, and turn the lights off when the science work is done.
The survey effort got off to a flying start courtesy of a couple of days of perfect weather, complementing good progress on the project during several weeks working out of Casey.
So, come New Years Eve, the little community was in high spirits, swapping survival kit and immersion suits for more formal attire - an eclectic collection of vintage fashions fished out of various op shops - to bring a bit of class to the occasion. Thanks to the presence of a ring-in journalist from The Age (your Bunger Hills Bulletin correspondent, Jo Chandler) the festivities made the papers back in Australia.
The party was surprised by the appearance of an unexpected guest not long before midnight - a lone Adelie penguin materialising on the frozen sea, a long way from family and friends, but not inclined to join the human party either. It was last seen resolutely and determinedly waddling inland.
Leisure time at Casey
So what does everyone do when they have a day off from their busy schedule…..there's lots to do around station and when the weather is good and there are no winds we launch the inflatable boats and check out the icebergs.
This week at Casey is written by Mick Clarke, Jo Chandler and Steve McDonald.