This week at Casey: 31 March 2017

A birthday is celebrated, sunsets admired and a field trip to Wilkes raises some questions… we profile one of the expeditioners Linc, while our station doctor shares some of her photos.

Station update

This week at Casey saw expeditioners getting out on winter recreational travel for the first time this winter, taking advantage of the weather while it is still mild.

Two field parties headed out for the weekend this week. The first group set out on Friday to the Browning Peninsula for two nights, checking out the condition of the cane lines on the way, and then spent Saturday hiking in the area. The second party headed for the old station at Wilkes on Saturday, to replenish the firewood in the hut and to bring home some used cage pallets from the Wilkes Hilton (see story below).

Back on station things have been easing along. It was chef Andrew’s birthday and he was treated to a butternut snap ripple cake as a surprise. Friday night we enjoyed a delayed screening of the AFL game between Carlton and Richmond. Footy tipping is alive and well on Casey this season, and time will tell if skill and knowledge, or sheer luck and guess work will prevail.

Saturday roast night was enjoyed by all eight of us who remained on station over the weekend, and needless to say a quiet station it was!

By Tuesday station numbers were at full strength again, as we welcomed back the aviation team from Wilkins who were down at Casey to deliver some more equipment to station and to take a well–earned day off.

We have all noticed a considerable increase in the chill in the air this week with temperatures starting to drop. Sea ice is becoming visible in the bay as well.

From the station logs: On this day in 2002

A keen young BoM observer named Linc (see his story below) was hard at work. The station log records 'Max wind: 096 knots. Easter Sunday. Still gale force winds, Lincoln tried two balloon launches, both failed due to high winds'.

A field party was out on route to Law Dome, and the Sit Rep (situation report) from that day reports 'Weather: −18°C, wind: 70+ knots. The traverse party remains blizzed in. Intentions are to wait out the blizz'.

Jacque Comery, Station Leader

Andrew cutting a birthday cake
Andrew's birthday cake.
(Photo: S Jodrell)
Sunset  with red shed and power house in shot
Saturday night sunset.
(Photo: Jacque Comery)

Weekend field trip to Wilkes

Winter 2017 has started for real now after a long and hectic summer.

It’s nice to be down to 22 people on station and with temps getting colder and the melt finished, it was time for a jolly (no more getting bogged).

'Isn’t it cold' I hear you say, but when your hut of choice – Wilkes, has a log fire and you have your own personal chef with you and a nice bottle of red, you know you’re in for a relaxing weekend.

Through my previous winters at other stations I had heard all about the old Wilkes station poking its buildings out of the ice and snow. It is certainly a sight to see – all ghostly and forlorn looking.

It is fascinating to think how others used to live in this harsh environment compared to the relative luxury we live in now.

Whilst walking around, my thoughts went to the men that wandered here many years ago. I had heard rumours that occasionally dark figures can be seen getting round between the old ruins. As a total non–believer in the paranormal I was surprised to find a mysterious black figure turned up in one of my photos when I reviewed it later.

At the time of taking the photo everyone else was in the hut keeping an ever watchful eye on the pizzas about to come out of the wood fire. When I showed it to the others they thought it must have been some sort of set up, but we found out upon return to Casey everyone was accounted for. It remains a mystery I would like to get to the bottom of.

Apart from our mysterious visitor we enjoyed a quiet evening by the fire, gorging on wood fired pizzas and watching an incredible sunset over the bergs through the window.

The following morning we chef’d it up again, having a breakfast of fresh croissants with bacon and cheese followed by a walk back in time round the old Wilkes station. Alas, no sign of the Wilkes visitor was spotted.

It was then time to head back to the big smoke to tell of our unusual sighting to much ridicule and allegations of lying, but the camera never lies.

Chris George

Dark shape of person near hut
Mystery visitor
(Photo: Chris George)
Expeditioner lighting the fire place whilst another looks on
Chef Andrew stoking the fire with Ashleigh looking on.
(Photo: Chris George)
Sunset over Wilkes
Sunset over Wilkes.
(Photo: Chris George)
An expeditioner standing beside a hut
Clint working up an apetite.
(Photo: Chris George)
Old packing cases in snow
Old packing cases
(Photo: Chris George)
View over sea to ice bergs
Ocean starting to freeze.
(Photo: Chris George)
six moulting penguins walking up an incline
The last of the moulting Adélies.
(Photo: Chris George)
View of casey station from Wilkes
View of the big smoke from Wilkes.
(Photo: Chris George)

5 minutes with the Casey 70th ANARE crew - Linc

Name: Lincoln Mainsbridge

Nicknames: Linc, Big Dog, You Idiot, Filth Wizard

From: Geraldton (most recently anyway)

Previous seasons: Casey 2002 and 2005, Macca 2006, Davis 2010 and 2012, Mawson 2015.

Job title: Senior Weather Observer

Describe your role in two sentences:  I make the weather!  I release weather balloons plus quantify and categorise all weather data.

What did you do before your joined the Division: As I work for the Bureau of Meteorology I’ve never been an Australian Antarctic Division employee. Before joining the Bureau I was at university studying mechanical engineering.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey: Releasing weather balloons in blizzards. Nothing is more exciting than taking on the weather when it’s at its nastiest!

If you were not a weather observer what would be your dream job? Mega jackpot tattslotto winner!

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south? I got to fly to Antarctica, which was a first for me, so that was different. But as I have only been at Casey for two weeks not much is different so far.

What do you like doing in your spare time? Taking photos of myself, jollying, reading, catching up on old TV shows, doing the Australian newspaper crossword, exercising and over–using exclamation marks!!!

What song sums up your Casey experience so far? Again, only being here two weeks I would have to go with 'We’ve Only Just Begun', but 'I’m Too Sexy' works too!

What actor would play you in a film version of our 70th ANARE season here at Casey?  Cate Blanchett, she is a phenomenal actor and true chameleon who can play anyone, even me!

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why? The Wilkes Hilton is the best hut in Antarctica, but I like Robbo’s as it gives you access to more wildlife come spring time and you don’t have to go outside to get to the toilet.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? My beloved big red Canada Goose jacket. I never leave the Red Shed without it, also my safety screwdrivers, just in case.

What is your favourite book/movie (or both) and why? Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird. Favourite movie: The Shawshank Redemption. Because they are both as close to perfect as a book and movie can be.

What is your typical 'Slushy FM' genre? Do you have a particular favourite? I typically like loud and angry music, but I’ve found chefs tend to prefer some variety in the music that is inflicted on them daily in their kitchens, so I created 'The Ultimate Slushy Playlist'! Nearly 300 songs ranging from the pure flawlessness that is Bach, Beethoven and Pachelbel, to the cheesy ballads of the big hair 80’s bands, to the head banging stylings of metal gods System Of A Down, Metallica, Rammstein, Tool and Slipknot. It has it all.

Describe your Casey experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

Sight: Finding my donga doorway covered with paper so I have to crawl to get in and out of my room. It was a welcome to Casey present, thanks Ferret.

Smell: The glorious aromas coming out of the kitchen.

Sound: The roaring air conditioning in my room means I go to sleep every night to the sound of a raging blizzard.

Taste: Saturday smoko, my favourite meal of the week. So much yellow food.

Feeling: Nostalgic. Fifteen years ago I was a young pup on my first Antarctic adventure at Casey, now I’m back as a not so young pup on my seventh Antarctic adventure.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with? I have a few choice quotes I am known to frequently use. 'Because I’ve earned it!', 'It’s OK to be jealous' and 'I’m Too Flat Out!'

Linc with the Casey sign in red jacket and shorts
Linc with the Casey sign - in his Canada Goose jacket.
(Photo: Linc Mainsbridge)
Linc sitting on the bench outside the Red Shed
Linc outside the Red Shed.
(Photo: Linc Mainsbridge)
Linc on a chair outside
Linc taking in the Casey scenery.
(Photo: Linc Mainsbridge)
Linc in an arm chair with Red Shed in background
Linc relaxing outside the Red Shed.
(Photo: Linc Mainsbridge)

My Casey in pictures - Dr Elise Roberts

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 our station doctor Elise shares some of her beautiful images from her season so far.

Iceberg with boat in foreground
Summer iceberg cruise.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Elise beside a frozen lake on the Browning Peninsula
Exploring Browning Peninsula.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Tent on the snow with sunset
Snow Camping at Robbo's Hut.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Casey sign with sun  and blue sky
Sunshine and fresh snow over Casey.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Elise inspecting an IBC
'The krill doctor' - Inspecting the container containing over 3000 krill in…
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Penguins in the snow
Penguin or rock? Adélie Penguins near Casey wharf.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Wilkins sign with search and rescue Hägg in the background
The SAR Hägg heading to Wilkins on a fly day.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Sunset over the Vanderford Glacier
Sunset over the Vanderford Glacier
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
The Aurora Australis icebreaker in Newcomb Bay
The Aurora Australis icebreaker in Newcomb Bay.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)
Aurora low on the horizon behind the Casey sign
First Aurora sighting.
(Photo: Dr Elise Roberts)