This week at the station
This week at Casey: 16 May 2014
Mothers in mind
We all have one and on the first Sunday in May we remember them maybe a little more than usual. Mother's Day at Casey was the best day weather-wise that we have had for a week or two which always makes you feel good – when the sun is up and there is no wind all is right with the world.
The phones rang hot from Casey as people arose and contacted home to speak with loved ones. It helped that is was a fantastic day at Casey – we had sun for most of the day – which is now only around five hours long.
The one mother we did have on station – our station leader – was the recipient of breakfast in bed (at the reasonable hour of 0900). She probably expects this every Sunday now, but is not that keen on an additional 18 fully grown foster children.
With the weather starting to get colder and colder every day, our concerns of a broken heat trace cable inside the main sewer pipe began to grow. Without a working heat trace cable inside the pipe, the risk of our grey water freezing and becoming blocked was very likely. As the old pipe had breaks in the cable that were not on the pipe joins, the only way to fix the problem was to replace all five lengths.
We started by getting five new five metre lengths of pipe and running in new cable. We then cut out the old pipes and, with a bit of help from one of our friendly diesel mechanics (Nick) and plant operator (Cary), we laid the new pipes in position for the plumber (Ian) to weld with the poly welder.
After that was done, the electrician (Steve) went through and connected all the cables at the joins and put in junction boxes for easy maintenance in the future. They were then wrapped with heat shrink by our second plumber (Pete) to stop any unwanted moisture getting into the insulating foam.
Trades do science
While sitting around the bar one Saturday night, having a nice relaxing Scotch, the big question was asked: "Is it true, that hot water freezes quicker than cold water?".
Even though we have more ice outside than any other place on the planet, we couldn’t be bothered going outside in the -20°C to grab any. We had all heard of the myth, that if you fill the ice tray with hot water out of the tap it will freeze quicker than cold water, but it just didn’t make any sense. So, we decided to investigate. There was nothing else to do as it was blowing 90 knots (167 km per hours) outside and, after all, we are down here in the name of science!
With the idea from self proclaimed professors, Steve (electrician) and Matt (diesel mechanic), and our photographer, Cary (plant operator) we decided to conduct a little experiment. The obvious choice for freezing water would be to put it outside, but we didn’t want to wait around too long otherwise we would get cold and bored. So we took it to our doctor (Grant) who has a -80°C freezer in the medical room.
The results weren’t really surprising with cold water obviously freezing quicker because of basic physics, but at least now - if anybody asks us - we can tell them that that myth has been busted.
Casey wine and food tasting extravaganza
This last Saturday we enjoyed Casey wine and food tasting for 2014. Pete had carefully planned this event way back before we left mainland Australia, selecting and ordering a range of nine choice wines from northeast Victorian and Tasmanian vineyards. These were then matched carefully with nine culinary delights from Eddie’s kitchen.
The table was set, the dishes garnished and prepared for serving, the candles were lit and the station population seated. Pete then gave us a brief rundown on each wine and its distinct characteristics. Eddie told us about the entree-sized exquisite dishes on offer and then we got down to the serious business of eating, drinking and evaluating (we were given a form listing the details with space for comments and a grade from one to ten).
There was something for everybody: crisp fresh whites, full-bodied vibrant reds, a lightly effervescent prosecco, aromatic rich sweeter wines, and flavoursome fortifieds. These complimented perfectly the smoked salmon blinis with fresh dill cream, prawns in brick pastry with gruyere sauce, Vietnamese chicken spring roll with fresh coriander and Thai dipping sauce, pan fried duck breast with fig sauce, delectable quail and couscous with pomegranate sauce, Chilean beef pie with a corn crust, crème caramel, chocolate mousse and a cheese platter with dried fruit and nuts (as if we had room for that at the end) that we were graciously served.
It was a terrific evening that anywhere else in the world would cost a fortune. We enjoyed the wine, food and company, and learned something at the same time. My personal favourite was a Tasmanian sauvignon blanc.
Needless to say, the gym was visited by many the next day!