7 March 2008

Mawson Resupply

The arrival of the Aurora Australis was as much a welcome surprise as it was a relief. After a seemingly impenetrable ice barrier had been breached the sight of the AA in Kista Strait triggered a photographic feeding frenzy.

Image of map showing shipping movements
We're over here Murray.
Photo: Peter T
View of Mawson Station and Aurora Australis
The view from the hill
Photo: Thomas S

Even our resident iceburg moved over for a short time

Iceberg moving in Horseshoe Harbour off Mawson Station
I dare you to try
Photo: Peter T

The arrival signaled the long awaited and needed re-supply and for some the sight was a moment to celebrate.

Expeditioner celebrating the arrival of the Aurora Australis
Come on!!!
Photo: AAD

Eager exiting expeditioners from Davis and Casey lined the ship to glimpse Australia's premier Antarctic station. None were disappointed in what they saw as they took in the majestic sight of mountains, sea and ice.

With the helicopters flying in much needed cargo and snail mail, the scene was set for the re-fuelling of the station. Some of the more unusual gifts from friends and relatives included wind chimes, soap and chocolate.

Helicopter inbound to Mawson Station during resupply flying over iceberg in Horseshoe Harbour
In coming
Photo: AAD

One problem though, Aeolus-Gandalf was still stuck fast and in the way. The solution was to re-fuel over West Arm, the Harbour and on to the fuel farm.

Aurora Australis 'peeking' over West Arm near Mawson Station
Throw us a line will you mate?
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioners with fuel line layed out and Aurora Australis in background
Fuel line laid out
Photo: Peter T

With the line secured, the much needed fuel found its way safely into the fuel farm under the ever watchful eyes of the expeditioners.

Expeditioners standing by fuel line during resupply
Ray prepares to lasso the AA
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioners in IRB (Inflatable Rubber Boat) checking the fuel line
IRB checking the line
Photo: Peter T
Expeditioners relaxing after fuel resupply from Aurora Australis
A job well done
Photo: Peter T

As a reward for all their efforts the night sky was ablaze with a magnificent Aurora in a cloudless sky. The task of feeding the hungry hoards has fallen on Zane and with assistance of the two chefs from Davis and Casey.

Chefs from Davis and Casey Stations visiting Mawson Station
Nice set up here Zane
Photo: Peter T

The task of field training the new incoming winter expeditioners has fallen to Thomas. For Gary, Robin and Andrew this meant Thomas finally had the chance to visit the wreckage of the Russian aircraft and a seal carcase many kilometers inland.

Expeditioners on field training near wreckage of Russian aircraft
IF its not tied down properly
Photo: Thomas S
Petrified seal carcass on ice
Petrified seal
Photo: Thomas S

As always, the Mawson weather determines the work schedules. With the inclement weather the shelter of the Red Shed has allowed rest and recreation until re-supply can return re-commence in earnest in a few days

Beche epilogue

News flash: penguin Veni Vidi, Visa, Vici (I came, I saw, I shopped for things seen, I conquered!)

The weather was nice last week, so we boated over to Beche for our last chick count before resupply. Our chick count last week revealed zero chicks left on the island. We could find no chicks, nor any fresh carcasses around, so presumably the 30 or so that were present a week ago have all fledged.

With no chicks left we prepared the field huts for winter and headed back to base. There remains only some computer work counting penguins and chicks from automated cameras and our work will be done for the current season.

Our thoughts turn now to the trip home, and the endless hours on the open ocean staring at a computer screen counting little men in dapper tuxedos.

'Freddie' the rubber duck and a toy penguin enjoying a drink at the Mawson Station bar
A job well done
Photo: David W

Farewell to Bob

Charlie and Tony D say goodbye and thanks to Bob for a great summer.

Expeditioners farewelling trades team member
raising the standard
Photo: Charlie H

Farewell and good sailing