This week at Casey: 26 May 2017

Another busy week here at Casey with the utility building renovations going well. Muscles talks pool tactics in his final edition of 'between the bergs'. Zac shares some of his favourite photos, and find out how Touy managed to stay on for winter!

Station update

This week at Casey, feels like it has flown by. Several people feeling like they have missed a day somewhere, which probably just means we are finally in the swing of winter and enjoying some progress in our workplaces.

The BBU – Balloon Building Union have completed the upgrade, commissioning and meteorology tech Mark, has been busy re-commissioning the Ho-Gen (Hydrogen Generator) so we can return to the normal two balloon releases a day, before we run out of helium bottles!

The CUB (Casey Utility Building) is flying along, faster than we first expected, and fingers crossed,we can keep it up. Carpenter 'Scottish' Chris, has built as much of the walls as possible for now, these walls and the floors are all painted, ready for the plumber Brendan to single handedly build the WWTP (Waste Water Treatment Plant). We finally have lights in this part of building too!

WannaCry did almost bring communications tech Stu to tears with the number of expeditioner PCs he was presented to check at once!

Sunrise is currently around 10 am, and the sun has fully set when we go home at 4:30 pm, so the working day is starting to feel like winter is upon us. With the way the station faces, we all enjoy spectacular colours and the moon is still in the sky to nearly lunch time – makes for some great photos.

In a surprise move, plumber Ducky convened the station meeting this week with an old switcheroo that almost went unnoticed, as the likeness to our station leader Jac with her trademark (well only) red and black shirt was striking.

Our social life is kicking along with some great events. Last weekend was 'World Whisky Day'– our resident Scotsman, and overly keen whisky connoisseur organised a sampling night with a selection of 13 of the 23 varieties of whiskys donated by everyone on station. Complete with instructional video, specific information, locations and explanations. We thankfully avoided Chris' album of the 'Red Hot Chili Pipers' on repeat.

Mark our meteorology technical observer, organised the only 'World Orienteering Day' event in Antarctica. Eleven people took part in the indoor course and the fastest time was senior communications tech. Clint – in just over nine minutes. A pretty good effort!

Simon Jodrell

Two workers looking at a wall on construction site
Chris and Ducky discuss the finer points of watching paint dry.
(Photo: Simon Jodrell)
Expeditioner in high viz shirt
Ducky fixing the CUB
(Photo: Simon Jodrell)
Two expeditioners  looking at camera indoors
Mick and Mark at the World Orienteering Day start line.
(Photo: Simon Jodrell)
The Caey whisky night collection
World Whisky Night.
(Photo: Simon Jodrell)
Man in checked shirt talking to woman in black jacket
'Station leader' Ducky running a post-meeting debrief with Jac.
(Photo: Simon Jodrell)
Stu in red shirt in front of many laptops
Stu battling WannaCry on Mitchell's laptop.
(Photo: Jacque Comery)

Between the bergs with Steve Middleton: edition #2

Muscles’ guide to Casey pool

Week 2: Tactics

Well here we are at week two, the final installment of our pool saga. To anyone who is a repeat customer from last week welcome back, to anyone else, welcome and good luck.

This week we are going to go over some tactics and moves that have come to light in the last eight months. There are a couple that I myself am responsible for so I will cover them first.

One of the best strategies I have employed so far has come to be called the 'classic Steve Middleton comeback' which is where you play with all your heart throughout the game, however for the first three quarters of it play absolutely terribly and allow the opponent to bring you right to the brink of a blizz run (we will cover that later), then suddenly come good and play like an absolute demon for the remainder and come out of it with a win that nobody saw coming. There is another move known as 'the classic Adam Roberts come back' which is identical in every way except one, it’s done by Adam Roberts.

Then there is the 'Steve Middleton' which is a tricky break where you shoot from the center dot on the black line, but aim more or less for one of the middle pockets, causing the ball to slingshot around the back of the pack and break them up from behind, if you can get a good break with this technique you’re really doing well.

Another impressive move is the James Cairns 'leap halfway across the table, hit what you're aiming for and sink it' shot where you jump the white ball over the opponents ball(s) with extreme accuracy to get at your own, this shot is generally only used by James as he is one of the very few who can actually pull it off without spearing the cue through the table, and I’m sure it goes without saying, it is a shot that isn't seen every day.

We also have the Rick Plowright 'call an impossible shot that is obstructed by heaps of balls and usually is either a double or a triple, smack it, and it goes in' shot, the name says it all. Rick has this thing where the opponent will give him the worst leave in history with the white ball and he will just walk up and point the cue to where something is going to end up and sure enough, one hard whack later, one of his balls goes down, it’s a sight to behold.

Finally there is the most commonly used tactic at Casey station, and one of the most deceptively dangerous if used against you, the 'tactical white sink'. To any normal person this move appears to be a standard accidental sinking of the white ball, but no normal person plays as much pool as someone who lives in Antarctica, and when you play so much pool that you’ve come up with names that are taken seriously for each ball and every pocket, nothing is accidental.

Remember that 'blizz run' thing I mentioned?, well if you play a game of pool so badly down here that you actually lose without sinking a single one of your balls, you have to run a lap of the red shed (the red shed is the accommodation building and keep in mind it is roughly 70 metres long and 20 metres wide…and its super cold in Antarctica)… you really don’t want to get yourself in that position, so if you're going for a Steve Middleton comeback it can get pretty scary.

On top of all this there are allegedly grooves or 'channels' in the table that can guide the balls to random destinations and/or stop them earlier than a player expects, possibly the most infamous of all the channels is named after the pool playing legend of Casey station, Mick Clarke. Mick is responsible for organising this season's summer pool comp, which pitted the stations best (and worst) pool players against each other in a fierce competition to see who was the best.

'The Mick Clarke channel' got its name because it used to catch Mick out quite often and it was in fact he who realised its existence, sometimes he would hit a ball at a pocket and it wouldn't quite reach its destination or it might spear off course and he would notify everyone around the table that it was a channel in the table redirecting the ball. We all learned from Micks finding and have rightly named the channel after him but still, every so often a player will let a shot get too close to the elusive channel and it is a mistake that can be very costly indeed. The channel of course would be mapped and become common knowledge but it is like the Bermuda Triangle, the thing honestly seems to move around the table, one shot it’s there, the next, its gone.

One last thing regarding pool at Casey which isn’t a tactic, or a name, but rather a very serious act that can easily be misconstrued as comedy that I am going to mention is Clint Chilcott’s commentating. When it starts it’s as if you are suddenly at a horse race as it’s fast, and constant. You wouldn’t think anyone could commentate pool in such a manner, but he does, I’ve seen it first hand. I can’t do it any justice by just writing about it, but I also can’t do an article on pool at Casey without giving it a mention.

That’s really all I can say about pool at Casey, it’s a great deal of fun and the pool table is my favorite spot in the main public area within the red shed. It’s a pretty long story to try and describe it, hence why this has spanned over two issues of station news.

I hope you have enjoyed the read.

Muscles

The Casey pool table
The pool table locked and loaded.
(Photo: Steve Middleton)
Photo of a canyon with a river in the bottom
An artists impression of what the Mick Clarke channel may look like…
Adam taking a shot on the pool table
It's looking like an Adam Roberts come back now as the man…
(Photo: Steve Middleton)

My Casey in pictures: Zac Alderman

This winter the team at Casey are contributing to a weekly photo gallery, sharing with us a snapshot of their Casey experience in pictures.

This week electrician Zac shares some of his photos from the first sea ice travel for the 2017 winter.


The view to Casey wharf
The view to Casey wharf.
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Two expeditioners with sea in background
Watto and Matty on the far side of Shirley Island.
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Weddell seal lying on the snow
Weddell seal
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Weddell seal
Weddell waves hello
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Mat standing on sea ice
Matty drills the sea ice towards Casey wharf.
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Matty on top of Shirley Island
Matty on top of Shirley Island.
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Snow petrel flying in front of sun.
Snow Petrel
(Photo: Zac Alderman)
Three expeditioners walking on sea ice away from camera
The sea ice march back to Casey wharf.
(Photo: Zac Alderman)

Discovery of a winter stowaway

At the end of summer here on Casey a section of our team of expeditioners return to Kingston on 'The Big Tin Snow Petrel' and the crew that are left stay on for the winter awaiting the end of winter which heralds the return of 'The Big Tin Snow Petrel' that is our ride to Kingston and from there to home. This division of  'stay' often defines the expeditioner as a 'summerer' or a 'winterer'.

This is where our saga begins…

During the summer here at Casey station the rapport between our summer crew and winter crew was awesome and it was often joked that if one of the summers even could stay for the winter it would be awesome.

Unbeknownst to both the winter (maybe a couple knew) and summer crews there was a plan afoot to make this a reality and to the expeditioner, the idea 'seemed like a wise one' and with some scheming behind the scenes… the deal was sealed. And the thought prevailed that there was no damage that couldn’t be repaired so…  'what could possibly go wrong?'

To us on station it came as a complete shock, I mean everyone and I mean everyone saw the expeditioner involved leave the station, the expeditioner made it blatantly obvious to all… but in hindsight no-one saw the expeditioner get on the plane. Everyone was oblivious, the little disappearing food was put down to midnight snacks and the homebrew… well we have the best brew on the great southern continent so that’s bound to disappear, but then the chocolate started to disappear and tempers grew and the expeditioners plan started to unravel.  As the buildings and summer quarters were winterised there were traces found and the expeditioner’s nest was soon discovered in the east wing.

The expeditioner doesn’t wish her real name to be revealed but she has adopted the name of Touy (pronounced Too-eey) she is of South American descent but was conceived in China where she was born, then she emigrated to Australia on a ship, then moved to Tasmania .

Since the likelihood of Touy getting a flight out we have had no choice but to welcome her back into the fold she even had her expeditioner performance review just like the rest of us.

And though she has endured the dreaded 'comfy chair' where I am told she was very remorseful of her actions. Her true judgment comes when she returns to Kingston for her debrief.

If she gets on the plane…

Watto

Toucan on roof of Hagg
Departing Summerers
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Inflatable toucan ona barge
Touy checking out the load.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Inflatable toucan on porch of red hut
Touy feeling a little bit flat after a hard days cane lining.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Expeditioner talking to Touy in comfy chairs
'Touy! What were you thinking?' Touy's comfy chair.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Two expeditioners sitting at table with inflatable toucan
Touy receives her EPR from SL Jac and DSL Brendan
(Photo: Paul Watson)
two expeditioners and inflatable toucan at Robbos hut
Relaxing with the crew at Robbo's.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Expeditioner sitting on inflatable toucan
Relaxing at Wilkins before the flight.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Blue Hagg and expeditioners and an inflatable toucan
The cane line crew leaving station.
(Photo: Paul Watson)
Two expeditioners and an inflatable toucan
Touy helping out on cane line drilling.
(Photo: Paul Watson)