This week at the station
This week at Casey: 3 May 2013
Green store inventory project part II
The inventory project is full steam ahead, making heaps of space for the next resupply of Casey or items to be held for future projects on station. You could say there is light at the end of the tunnel, and in the racks, due to more space.
Equipment in the green store is now being given a location in each bay and is placed into the inventory system by item and amount. This is already making it easier and faster for the tradies to get on with their work! Each pallet now has an ID tag displaying the owner, description, date last inspected, location and weight which is also placed into the inventory system, allowing this equipment or item to be found easily both here at Casey and to be viewed back at head office in Kingston. So far, four of the ten racks have been completed including one of the mezzanine floors.
21 great things about Casey 2013-2014
When you tell friends and family you’re thinking of heading off to Antarctica for an extended period of time, the response is quite variable. I know I got everything from congratulations to apologies, to pure confusion as to why I would subject myself to these conditions. This place is famous for its immeasurable beauty, stirring scenery, surreal wildlife and untouched nature on the whole. Anyone who has considered working here or has a friend or family member who has done so also knows that this place is notorious for its isolation, harsh climate and dangerous landscape. But this week I’d like to dedicate my story to something less well known about Antarctica but a true commodity that cannot be overlooked by anyone who has been here. That is the people.
There are no indigenous people of Antarctica, no Inuit, Eskimos or otherwise. Rather there are a group of people who dedicate a period of their life to the great white south. It’s been happening every year for decades now. Anyone who has done it knows that flexibility is key. Dates, times and places change as plans remain totally fluid until you put both feet on frozen soil, and sometimes beyond this still. Other than this flexibility and a serious sense of adventure, there isn’t really a prototypical Antarctic worker. But in our group of twenty-one, I have found something to like and/or admire about each and every one.
This came to my attention as this week at Casey was my birthday! But it was also a week in which I was having great difficulty getting to sleep (another really common problem here). I could make a list of almost everyone on station that checked on me, asked how I was doing, saved me a plate of dinner, or otherwise offered some form of help in this period of difficulty. To me it is a true testament to the people of Casey Station, winter 2013. To top it all off, Scotty made me a fantastic birthday cheesecake which was shared with Jukka (born just a day later), Allan offered to take me for a night away at Jacks donga and Tim built me an easel so I can paint/draw or otherwise be creative in my room whenever I want! Dougie made me a bookmark with information about Weddell Seals and Ben H surprised me with chocolates and sweets! There may or may not have been a second roll of Mentos before the picture, I guess we’ll never know. Handshakes and well-wishes filled up and brightened my day, my name was on the sign out front and at the end of it all I drifted into a solid peaceful eight hour slumber.
So again my “This week at Casey” goes out to the people here with me now as well as those who have been here before. While it is a privilege to be here, it’s not always about the beautiful views and wildlife. Sometimes living here is a little less perfect, but made vastly better by the people around you, their kindness, compassion and generosity. Wow, that was pretty sappy; maybe I’d better go watch a movie with fast cars, wild women and maybe even some explosions. Until next time!
The return of the snow petrels
One of the best aspects of working on the coast of Antarctica during the summer is the wildlife you encounter on a daily basis. So as the days shorten and the temperature drops, it’s not hard to notice the birdlife disappearing. Two weeks ago the area around Casey seemed emptied of any animals beside the ones living in the red shed.
The return of the snow petrels started with a few sightings here and there, until we woke one morning to see the skies above Reeves hill teeming with them.
Even collectively, there is an obvious lack of knowledge shared amongst us down here at Casey when it comes to these beautiful birds, so we can only speculate as to why they returned so late in the year. However, that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying what could be the last glimpse of wildlife for quite a while.
It was on 25th of April 1915 when the joint Australian and New Zealand forces landed in Gallipoli. It is now 2013 and the loss of over 8,000 Australian soldiers until now have had a profound impact for nearly century.
Here at Casey, we remember those soldiers past and present who have lost their lives serving our great nation and those who serve us now. We 'stand-to' in silence at dawn, like the ANZAC's in Gallipoli ordered to 'stand-to' at dawn all those years ago.