This week at Casey: 15 November 2019

This week at Casey a plumber gives us his first impressions, the doctor tells us about her responsibilities when there's an international flight and we get an update from Operations

Amazing places

The amazing places you can end up in life!

This week has seen the plumbing department at Casey at full strength with 4 wintering and 3 summering tradespeople joining the team, including myself whose doing his premier expedition after a 25 year old dream to get here. 

Arriving in the huge ADF C17-A Globemaster with amazingly pristine blue sky weather, it set a great scene for a great season.

On the plumbing side of things, the station is busy with some big projects including the upkeep of the melt bell and nursing the old waste water treatment plant while the brand new state of the art one is completed in the very near future.

Having plenty of experience between us from varying backgrounds and being supported by great team leaders including Tim Price, Lorrienne and Ducky, the plumbing projects and maintenance of the station are in safe hands.

The week so far has been a big one with new arrivals, VOC’s, inductions and winterers already doing their field training to the backdrop of Crane Cove and Geoffrey Bay’s melting sea ice and beautiful tabular icebergs.

The wildlife such as the odd penguin being inquisitive is making work a pleasure on station so far and from my perspective an already exciting time of my life...

 ...to be continued.

John (Muggas) Sommers, Casey Plumber

The Casey plumbers for 2019-20 posing in the basement of the Red Shed - from left to right Duncan Logan,
Casey Plumbers in the Red Shed basement
(Photo: John Sommers)
A selfie of John Sommers at Wilkins aerodrome shortly after touchdown and my first steps on Antarctica with the C17 in the background
A selfie at Wilkins aerodrome shortly after touchdown and my first steps…
(Photo: John Sommers)
A solitary Adelie penguin on the sea ice at the Casey wharf
A solitary Adelie penguin on the sea ice at the Casey wharf
(Photo: John Sommers)
A panoramic view taken from the Casey wharf over looking Geoffrey Bay
A panoramic view taken from the Casey wharf over looking Geoffrey Bay
(Photo: John Sommers)

Fly Days

Part of the role of the station doctor at Casey is to meet all incoming international flights. These flights land at the Wilkins Aerodrome, an ice runway 65 km away from the station. Wilkins is linked to Casey by the A-line, a designated route marked by canes with red flags stuck in the ground (but thankfully we also have GPS!). What would be a short trip in Australia is extended by the Antarctic terrain. Sastrugi, which are ridges of hardened ice and snow, make anything faster than 20 km/hr in a Hägglunds incredibly bumpy. What would normally take less than an hour on a highway in Australia, takes 2-3 hours in a Hagg on the A-line.

Meeting a morning flight from Hobart means a low-lying sun throwing mirages across the ice, making the track seems like it goes on forever. The sun lights up the Vanderford glacier to our west, with icebergs peeling off into the sea. No photos though - I'm driving! Once you lose sight of the glacier, the A-line is pretty uneventful.

Arriving at Wilkins, we set up our medical equipment and await the arrival of the flight on to the blue ice runway. Often there will also be some intra-continental flights (Basler planes) awaiting incoming passengers to take them to their next destination.

The expeditioners heading to Casey get on the Terrabus, for a very relaxing and not at all bumpy four hour ride. 

Natasha, Casey doctor 

 

The red SAR Hagg behind the Wilkins Aerodrome sign on the ice plateau
The red SAR Hagg behind the Wilkins Aerodrome sign on the ice…
(Photo: Natasha Behrendorff)
Natasha Behrendorff leaning on the side of a red Hagg parked in front of the medical tent at Wilkins
Me sporting some Antarctic runway fashion in front of the medical Hagg,…
(Photo: Ed Gault)
An A319 is parked on the runway, with passengers disembarking
The first passengers off the second flight of the season (I was…
(Photo: Natasha Behrendorff)
A large red all-terrain bus (the Terrabus) is driving away, followed by a blue Hagglunds vehicle
The Terrabus departs from Wilkins just as the snow starts
(Photo: Natasha Behrendorff)

Operations with Nick

Again we waited for the weather to clear.

We had beautiful sunny days at Casey Station. However cloud and fog at Wilkins Aerodrome prevented the launch of both the A319 and the C17.

We waited patiently for the weather window and finally we welcomed the first C17 delivering all sorts of goodies including fresh fruit, a very welcome delivery for the expeditioners that have stayed with us from the winter. But most importantly more expeditioners, scientists and science equipment!

The Airbus A319 arrived the following day taking our station population up to the dizzying heights of 86!

We are now busily putting plans into action, building and assembling for a number of projects so we can get out in the field!

Nick, Ops Coordinator 

The first ADF C17 of the season coming in to land at Wilkins Aerodrome
The first ADF C17 of the season coming in to land at…
(Photo: Tyson Langer)
The C17 on the apron at Wilkins Aerodrome dwarfs the vehicles awaiting cargo and passengers
The C17 on the apron at Wilkins Aerodrome dwarfs the vehicles awaiting…
(Photo: Tyson Langer)
ADF representatives Marcus Bailey and Dion Wright outside Casey station with station leader Ali Dean and ops coordinator Nick Watt
ADF representatives Marcus Bailey and Dion Wright outside Casey station with station…
(Photo: Nick Watt)
Marcus Bailey and Dion Wright in front of the Terrabus which will take them back to Wilkins Aerodrome ready for the journey home
Marcus and Dion in front of the Terrabus which will take them…
(Photo: Nick Watt)
Blue Hagglunds with boom and radar device mounted on the front ready to deploy
The blue Hagglunds with boom and radar device mounted on the front…
(Photo: Nick Watt)
An old sled adapted for science equipment at Casey
Innovative sled mounting for research equipment by Casey tradesmen
(Photo: Nick Watt)