This week at the station

This week at Casey: 6 June 2014

The darts king of Casey

The middle of winter is coming closer and closer. With every day that passes daylight hours are just dwindling away. This natural occurrence warns Davis, Mawson, Macca and Casey to plan for a battle like no other - a battle around the dartboard.

In preparation for the annual Antarctic interstation darts tournament, this week at Casey we had our own "King of Casey Darts Competition". We played the popular Antarctic version of Shang.

With 11 entries we had a round robin first to determine seeding and then into the finals we went. The top six played off for the crown while the bottom five played for the second chance winner of the loser's honour.

All games were hard fought battles. The top seeds (Rob and Dan) were knocked out in their first games with victories going to Scott and Steve B to cement both their positions in the grand final.

It was a game which you couldn’t pick from the beginning. Both players were obviously suffering from early nerves but settled not long after.

Scotty had been struggling with form in recent weeks but Steve B had not been his usual accurate self all night. It was throw after throw for a long time but it wasn’t meant to be for Steve B. with the station carpenter Scotty becoming the eventual winner with a magnificent throw of two doubles (1 with a broken dart shaft) to take out the crown.

He now likes to be known around station these days as "King Scotty" or "Mr. Darts".

Steve Black as MC congratulating Shane Kern on wining the B grade heats in darts at Casey
Shane wins through to the finals of the B grade - plus…
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Shane Kern congratulated by Steve McInnerney after winning a darts match at Casey
Shane beats Steve Mc (AKA Robin of the Hood) in a closely…
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Dan Laban parading around the lounge in his winning attire at Casey
Dan took out the best dressed prize as well as confiming his…
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford poses with a dart, dressed as a leprechaun with a green top hat, a wooden pipe hanging out of his mouth
Concentrate Scotty, this is serious business
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford shakes hands with Steve Black following a darts match at Casey
And Scotty wins!
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
The wooden plaque/trophy made by Scott Clifford for the winner of the Casey darts tournament
The tournament plaque (made by Scotty for Scotty as it happens!)
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford with the dart tournament trophy at Casey
The winning leprechaun - I mean king
(Photo: Scott Clifford)

Carpenter in Antarctica

Working in Antarctica is a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience, but it isn’t just fun and games. Work needs to be done to keep the station running like a well-oiled machine.

As this years winter carpenter, the jobs I am involved in can vary quite drastically from day to day, and also from summer to the colder winter months.

During summer, major infrastructure projects and station resupply have priority over most work but as winter approaches this gradually swings into preventative maintenance and minor works in various areas around the station.

Jobs a carpenter performs in addition to general carpentry, joinery and maintenance work at Casey can also include painting, plastering, tiling, glazing, vinyl and carpet laying, cleaning plus much more. 

A cold porch is delivered to Wilkins Aerodrome for installation through the summer
Accepting delivery of a cold porch at Wilkins
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
View out to sea from on top of the green store at Casey
Work day view from the top of the green store in summer
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford replacing a cracked window in the red shed
Scotty installs a new window in the red shed
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford cleaning a window while suspended in a cage on the telehandler outside the red shed at Casey
Scotty cleans the window he has just installed in the red shed
(Photo: Scott Clifford)

Casey weather summary for May

We are trying to move on from the disappointing April weather and embrace May with an open mind and heart. To such end we have been rewarded with some interesting weather, a real mixed bag in fact with warmer days, above average sunshine and windy days, around the mark for the overall windiness and night time temperatures (which is most of the day now), while a little below average for snowmelt (rainfall) and snow days. We also had an excellent hoar frost in the middle of the month that made for some interesting photos. Most importantly we had the three blizzards to keep the natives happy, so I’m feeling the love again, omnisexual even, for the weather and all its wonderful facets.

For what is statistically the coldest month of the year, we can describe this May as warmer than average on the whole. Our average daily maximums of -9.6°C, 1.4°C above average making it the eighth warmest May for Daily maximums - not much I know, but anything to hang the beanie on. Meanwhile, the daily minimums were as close to average as possible at -18.3°C, just 0.1°C warmer than average. The warmest day of the month was on the 10th, reaching -2.0°C, and the lowest 24 hour minimum was on the 26th, dipping down to -26.1°C.

As for the wind, it was feast or famine - the overall wind was decidedly average with the daily wind run of 625 km only the four kms above expected. We did however have 15 strong and 14 gale force wind days compared to the average of 12 and 08 respectively, which is a significant number above average. When compared with the very average overall wind, this shows us that it was either blowing or calm. Despite the large number of gale force wind days, the maximum wind gust was only 169 kph, recorded on 2 May during our first blizzard of the month. While a good blow was a fair bit short of the monthly record of 215 kph and annual of 241 kph.

We did get a little vitamin D for the month with 1.2 hrs of average daily sunshine, 30 minutes more than usual. Increased sun = less cloud = less snow days. The nine snow days we experienced well below the average of 15, however the 20.6 mm (snowmelt minimum) not too far shy of the 25.6 mm average. This was largely due to a significant overnight snowfall of 11.2 mm as recorded on 13 May. All that extra moisture at the surface resulted in an excellent example of a hoar frost that had us running for cameras.

CHILL from the Casey Met Team

Hoar frost covering the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder at Casey
Hoar frost on the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder at Casey
(Photo: Steve Black)
Hoar frost on the blizzard line outside the Red Shed
Hoar frost on the blizzard line
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Hoar frost on the Stevensons screen at Casey
Hoar frost on the Stevenson screen
(Photo: Steve Black)
Delicate hoar frost ice crystals on a rope set up to hold during blizzards
Delicate hoar frost ice crystals
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
Steve Black at Casey collecting the paper burn strip from the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder
Steve completing his daily data collection
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Icebergs silhouetted against the setting sun at Casey
Icebergs silhouetted in the bay
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)

Finger food

As we were keen to watch the heats and the finals in the darts tournament last Saturday night, Eddie our chef decided to make us a table full of finger food to keep us happy, full and paying attention to the dart board.

There were firm favourites on the table as well as around the darts board – hotdogs on a stick better than from any fair ground, American style hot dogs in buns with mustard and onions, fried chicken and fish nibbles in takeaway Lord of the Rings tubs (why they are on station, I am not sure) with homemade tartare sauce, and - the piece de resistance, everybody's favourite - fairy bread! This is soft white bread triangles covered with hundreds and thousands (candy) – yum, yum and yum!

A buffett meal set out on top of the pool table at Casey
A table full of goodies
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Bread with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top
Take you back?
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
A tray full of American hot dogs with cheese and bacon ready to go at Casey
You can't go wrong with cheese bacon and frankfurter
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)


A good way to unwind at Casey after a solid week at work is to jump into a Hägglunds and head to one of the four field huts located in within the station operational limits. It was a Friday afternoon and the weekend was nearly here again so this is exactly what a group of us decided to do.

"Wilkes Hilton" was the destination. With pizza dough and ingredients, refreshments and a deck of cards packed, we departed station.

We returned the next morning before Saturday’s traditional bacon and eggs brunch. All had an enjoyable evening.

Digging snow away from the doorway at the Wilkes Hilton hut on the Clark Peninsula
Digging our way into the hut
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
The old Wilkes station wooden buildings buried in ice and covered by fresh snow
The old Wilkes station buildings buried in ice and covered by fresh…
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Some of the Wilkes station buildings buried in ice
Pretty soon it will all be covered
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
A view of the buried station at Wilkes taken in the Winter light
Winter colours make it look even colder
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
A view of some of the buildings still standing and ice free at Wilkes
Some buildings are still as they were left
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
A sunset at Wilkes Hilton hut
The sun is not up for long this time of year
(Photo: Scott Clifford)
Scott Clifford serving a freshly made pizza at the Wilkes Hilton on the Clark Peninsula
Pizza is served
(Photo: Scott Clifford)