This week at Mawson: 4 January 2008

Visitors Pop in for a Cuppa

After a number of weeks pushing through thick sea-ice and struggling to land on the Antarctic continent due to poor weather conditions, on the 23rd December the Russian Ice Breaker, The Kapitan Khlebnikov , and its 70+ passengers and crew dropped by for a station visit. On the day of their arrival the weather at Mawson was perfect – blue skies, +3.6 deg C and little wind.

The 'KK' positioned approx 40 nms off the Mawson coast ferried its passengers ashore via helicopters, an operation lasting 7 hours from start to finish. When at Mawson visitors were taken on a walking tour of the station and invited to the Mawson mess for scones and cream, and banana bread.

One passenger on board, Gunter Weller was a Mawson expeditioner back in 1961 and 1965 (42 years ago) and to see his face when he landed was priceless – he said "I want to kiss the ground, I'm home".

Passengers from the cruise ship Kapitan Khlebnikov arriving at Mawson Station by helicopter
Kapitan Khlebnikov passengers arriving at Mawson Station
Photo: John D
Mawson Station Expeditioners with crew and staff from the visiting Russian cruise ship
(l to r) Jonas (KK VL), Tony Z, Mike C (AAD on the KK), Dick, Narelle, KK crew member, Boj and Geoff
Photo: John D

Christmas at Mawson

Christmas celebrations started with Mawson's own plumbing contingency 'Plumb Trio' leading the rest of the Mawson team with Christmas Carols. And while we only had the words to 7 carols those carols were practiced, over and over a number of times into the wee hours of the night.

Mawson Station Plumbers Choir singing Christmas Carols
Mawson's plumbers Tony, Bob and Charlie – singing Christmas Carols
Photo: John D
Expeditioners preparing for carol singing
Charlie and Tony warming up for carols
Photo: John D

And, as story books describe, Santa knows where all the 'good' expeditioners reside. Santa and his two quad riding reindeers (who found sea-ice travelling way too hard) made their way to Mawson Station all the way from the North Pole to hand out Christmas gifts to all the good expeditioners at Mawson.

Santa and his two 'reindeers' arriving at Mawson Station on quad bikes
Santa and his two reindeers
Photo: John D

And who has been good this year? Expeditioners were invited to sit on Santa's knee to discuss all the good things they had done during the year.

Mawson Station Expeditioner on Santa lap
Little Bob telling Santa how he likes to clean up the RTA
Photo: Peter T
Mawson Station Expeditioner talking to Santa
Young Ros explaining how she helps people with their computers
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioner on Santa's lap with 'reindeer' looking on
Dave telling Santa how many penguins are in his rookery
Photo: Peter T

Expeditioner sitting on Santa's lap
Jock reads out loud to Santa, and Santa is impressed
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioner receiving present while sitting on Santa's lap
Rhonda is hoping for a white pony
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioners opening Christmas present
Charlie and Tony are very excited to receive a box full of new field clothing and equipment from Thomas, which Thomas didn't know he had given them
Photo: Peter T

Bechervaise Island Adélie Chicks

A number of the Mawson expeditioners were able to visit Bechervaise Island last week to see the new chicks; some had hatched, and some were still in the process of hatching.

Adelie penguin on nest sitting on egg as chick hatches
Adélie penguin chick hatching
Photo: Jodi W
Adelie penguin parent with chick a few days old
Adélie penguin chick a few days old
Photo: Rhonda P