This week at Mawson: 15 December 2006

Compiled by John (Duds) and Gary

The sea-ice around the station is coming under increased scrutiny following recent warm weather and has been closed to distant Hägglunds travel. While still pretty thick, the quality is declining and the tide-cracks are getting wider, thinner and slushier. Tide cracks have different effects on people – Kym was moved to dance at the big wide one near Gibbney Island, while Ben decided to personally test the crack at the entrance to Horseshoe Harbour by skiing over it. He, Jo and Gary were our first XC-skiers of the season, and found some decent patches of snow on the sea-ice just north and east of the station.


Kym dancing for joy at the tide crack near Gibbney Island

Kym dancing for joy at the tide crack near Gibbney Island
Photo: Gary Dowse



Two expeditioners skiing near tide crack

Jo not keen on Ben's method of testing tide cracks
Photo: Gary Dowse


The weather of late has been quite superb with plenty of sunshine and little wind. The light winds have enabled our sparkies, Sara and Pedro, the opportunity to do a service on the wind turbines, with Pedro discovering some fairly nasty cracks in the metal brackets supporting the nose cone in turbine number 2 – all fixed now.

While the warmer and calmer weather has enabled many on station to get out and enjoy the surrounds of Mawson, the sailing hasn't been all plain for the Taylor Rookery expedition of Barb, Kym and FTO Mick. With only 15 to 20 kms to go to reach their destination, the group ran into some deep drift snow that made quad riding life all but impossible. Shovels and "all hands to the quad" rescue became order of the day with the group eventually having to return to station.


Quad bike bogged in snow

Time for the shovel folks!
Photo: Barbara Wienecke



Quad bike bogged in snow

Stuck fast on the way to Taylor
Photo: Barbara Wienecke

The Mawson Water Board and Sewerage Authority have been hard at it. As the summer melt commences, Cal, Andrew, Warren and Brett have taken the opportunity to dig up the melt bell at the melt lake behind the station, in order to service and re-position the bell and to straighten out the associated plumbing and support structure. The station's water supply comes from caverns produced by the circulation of hot water through the melt bell.

Excavator at work

Cal, Andrew and Brett digging out the Melt Bell
Photo: Gary Dowse

Matt, Rhonda, and Kym, with help from Will, Colin and Jo have been busy with the deployment of tracking devices on Adélie Penguins at Bechervaise Island.


Matt and Rhonda about to attach tracking device to Adelie Penguin

Matt and Rhonda about to attach tracking device to Adélie penguin
Photo: Jo Melick


Rhonda attaching the tracking device to the back of an Adelie

Rhonda attaching the tracking device to the back of an Adélie
Photo: Col Jenkinson


Dr Jo assisting Matt prepare an Adelie for release

Dr Jo assisting Matt prepare an Adélie for release
Photo: Jo Melick


Matt releasing a photogenic Adelie back into the rookery

Matt releasing a photogenic Adélie back into the rookery
Photo: Col Jenkinson

Tuesday was a special day for a youthful Lionel. While Lionel's age is a well kept secret, his zest for good food and nourishment continues to please our chef Kirsten.

Lionel with balloons behind him

The balloons go up on Lionel's party
Photo: Adam Wightman


Two chocolate cakes!

Why Lionel loves Kirsten's cooking so much!
Photo: Adam Wightman

To help Lionel celebrate his birthday, our resident FTO Mick held a SAR exercise party, with a full turn out of expeditioners. The exercise ran quite well, with Mick being returned to station with a twisted knee that required medical attention from Doc Jo.

SAR First Responders Cal and Sara directing stretcher carriers in rescue of FTO Mick

SAR First Responders Cal and Sara directing stretcher carriers in rescue of FTO Mick
Photo: Matt Low


Stretcher carriers Ben, Andrew, Will, Lionel, Kym and Peter transporting FTO Mick towards Station and medical assistance

Stretcher carriers Ben, Andrew, Will, Lionel, Kym and Peter transporting FTO Mick towards Station and medical assistance
Photo: Matt Low

With powers of recovery that would embarrass a younger man, FTO Mick then backed up for some more Quad training for SL Gary, Ben and latest arrival on station Mike S. Welcome aboard Mike.

That's all for another busy week at Mawson so until next week's instalment, take care.

MAWSON – THE PLACE TO BE.

This page was last modified on 19 December 2006.