This week at Casey: 16 December 2016

This week we welcomed some visitors, saw lots of flights coming in and out and the team got through lots of work.

VIP visit

One of the main events of this week was a visit to Casey by the Minister Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Environment.

With limited time on the ground due to unstable weather, he managed to fly by helicopter, from Wilkins runway down to Casey station, where he opened the new East Wing accommodation block.

A special plaque was sent down for the AAD for the occasion, and it was covered in an ice sheet, which the Minister was required to smash with a hammer to complete the opening ceremony.

A photographer stands on a cherry picker in order to get a good shot
The photographer gets into position
(Photo: L. Fletcher)
Minister Frydenberg holds a mallet in his hand in order to crack an ice sheet opening the new accommodation block at Casey.
Minister Frydenberg opens the East Wing accommodation block.
(Photo: S. Shaw)
A group of Casey expeditioners are photographed with the Minister outside the new East Wing accommodation block.
The Casey crew with the Minister outside the new East Wing.
(Photo: S. Shaw)

Busy week at Wilkins and elsewhere

Wilkins runway has been a hive of activity this week with several planes on the ground at one time, some taking off, some landing, others transferring passengers.

Flights on one day saw three planes on the ground at one time as people arrived from Hobart. Several people were transferred to Concordia by Basler, others transferred to Davis by Basler, and a group of 14 returned to Australia on the A319. The helicopters have been very busy flying all week, with both chopper crews camping out for several days, with their aircraft, in the field at Edgeworth David Camp in the Bunger Hills.

On the route inland to the Wilkins Runway, some bright wit from past years had added an amusing alteration, 50 kilometres inland, to the never-ending white surroundings.

Other station activities during this week have seen huge parachutes being dried in the Green Store after a successful airdrop by the RAAF, of forty 200 litre drums of fuel in the Bunger Hills.

A helicopter comes into land at Casey Station
Landing at Casey
(Photo: L. Fletcher)
Three aircraft parked on the apron at Wilkins airfield
The Baslers and A319 await their next flight
(Photo: L. Fletcher)
A kangaroo warning sign on the road to Wilkins Airfield
Miscalculated signage
(Photo: L. Fletcher)
Parachutes hang in the Casey store in order to dry
Parachutes dry in the Greenstore
(Photo: L. Fletcher)

The Casey band's first gig

The absolute highlight of the week was the first public performance, on Saturday night, by Casey’s own international rock group.

A formal dinner for 90 people started the entertainment at 6pm and then at 8.30pm, the band heated up the cool Antarctic night with an astounding rock show.

Groupies of all ages danced the night away to the music of by the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Johnny Cash. Wow! What a group. Astonishing! Amazing! Damned-well great!

Expeditioners enjoy dinner before the bands first gig.
The informal formal dinner
(Photo: L. Fletcher)
The Casey band plays while expeditioners dance
The band rocks it up
(Photo: L. Fletcher)

Casey supply guys earn their pay

It’s been hectic in the Green Store this week with Mick and Mat, the two Casey supply officers, as they prepare cargo for return to Australia.

Mick and Mat focus on the container cargo, getting everything weighed and correctly measured, loaded and strapped down into containers, before completing documentation for return back to Australia on the Aurora Australis as part of their re–supply voyage.

At the same time they get cargo ready for A319 Airbus and RAAF C17, which takes quite a bit of time in cold conditions. As the week progresses, they find themselves busier than normal, with an Airbus, a C17 and the ship pulling in all in one week.

Gas bottles are put in containers for return to Australia
Mick prepares some gas bottles for return to Australia.
(Photo: M. Callaghan)
A pallet of cargo is prepared for transportation.
Mat prepares an aviation pallet for transport.
(Photo: M. Clarke)

Casey Kitchen

This week in the Kitchen at Casey is a busy one, as they all are! We have over 100 people on station at the moment, so between the three of us it keeps us on our toes.

Andrew and I (Jordan) cooked 'formal dinner' on Saturday night which was then followed by the premier of the Casey Rock Band "Dirty Curtains"​ with Andrew being one of the singers of the group. Teen Spirit by Nirvana was a big hit, with many people rocking out to it.

For the past two days Andrew has been out completing his field travel training, with the bluebird skies, the conditions were perfect. Dom was one of the unofficial photographers of Saturday night and enjoyed himself in moderation as he had to get up to cook all the revellers their brunch on Sunday morning. This being Dom's first season in Antarctica, he has been trying to get out of the kitchen as much as possible to see the sights.

Survival training and trips to Reeves Hill and Shirley Island have been enjoyed immensely, although he cannot wait to do field travel training and go for an iceberg cruise.

I am on the morning shift this week and today I had a big baking day: 31 loaves of bread, 140 pies and 80 cookies, all before smoko! This being my second consecutive summer here at Casey I don't have to do a lot of the training, however I have managed to get over to Shirley Island to visit the penguins a number of times and last week drove a Hägg to and from Wilkins to help with the Minister and media visit.

The three of us are very much looking forward to resupply, which, if everything is on schedule, should be starting this weekend! We have managed very well with the stock that was left for us by Donna (the 2016 winter chef – thanks Donna!) but we have run out of a few things and are getting very low on other things, so resupply can't happen soon enough!

As soon as resupply is finished we will get stuck into the Christmas celebration feast prep and then enjoy the fruits of our labour with the rest of the station. We are also excited to have a day off together on Boxing Day (the only day all summer that all three chefs have off at the same time).

Casey Kitchen Team

Jordan in front of seals at Shirley Island
Jordan takes a well-earned recreation trip
(Photo: J. Smith)
Expeditioners help themselves to some fresh bakery items in the mess room.
Tasty smoko treats
(Photo: J. Smith)
Jordan waits in front of aircraft at Wilkins airfield
Jordan helps out at Wilkins
(Photo: J. Smith)