A new hut for Béchervaise Island: part 2
In part 1 of this story, the wooden platform for the new Melon hut was constructed, and solid anchors for securing it were placed in the rock.
It was a clear and windless at Mawson on 10 August, ideal conditions for towing the hut panels and flooring from the station to Béchervaise Island and piecing them all together. With a team of four willing workers everything went smoothly, with the main challenge placing and tightening the many small bolts and nuts which hold the panels together. This is a tedious task at the best of times, with the pre-drilled holes in the fibreglass not always lining up exactly. Weather conditions were ideal for August but with the temperature at −25°C the bolts and nuts were impossible to handle wearing gloves. This problem was solved by using a heat gun to blow warm air over the fingers of the person working bare-handed. By the end of the day the hut was in position and temporarily anchored down with ratchet straps.
During the following week, when weather allowed, the Béchervaise Island melon was finished off: the ceiling vents were positioned, the panel joints sealed, stainless steel guy wires attached and furniture installed.
The hut has now been tested in several blizzards with winds up to 90 knots and performed faultlessly. It will no doubt serve as a very comfortable haven for many years to come for scientists studying Adélie penguins during the summer and for Mawson expeditioners seeking a day or two away from station during winter.