A new hut for Béchervaise Island: part 2

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This week at Mawson: 18 September 2015

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.

A Hägglunds vehicle is loaded and waiting on ice to travel to Bechervaise Island
Leaving Mawson in a Hägglunds vehicle
(Photo: John Burgess)
Triangular panels of a hut lie in the snow ready to be assembled
Piecing together the panels, working from the door in a clockwise direction.
(Photo: John Burgess)
Sun shines on a half assembled hut while a taller and shorter hut are in the background complete.
By lunchtime the weather was still holding and the floor and half…
(Photo: John Burgess)
Three expeditioners are inside the partially constructed hut, filling the space, while they work on its construction
With the temperature around −25°C, the use of a heat gun enabled…
(Photo: John Burgess)
Peter Lecompte, Charlie Howell and Peter Layt pose outside of a small, newly constructed hut.
Peter Lecompte, Charlie Howell and Peter Layt - a satisfied team at…
(Photo: John Burgess)
A spaceship like hut used as a lab sits in front of a new melon shaped hut. In the distance are the mountains of the David Range.
The Bechervaise Island lab googie hut, with the new melon hut behind.…
(Photo: John Burgess)
Inside the new round new melon hut, two porthole windws are seen, a fire extinguisher and lots of storage cubbies.
Inside the new melon hut
(Photo: John Burgess)
The new hut in situ already has snow on it and it's asymmetrical windows resemble eyes.
All finished
(Photo: John Burgess)
The old hut is shown, partially dismantled, in a workshop.
The old apple hut (manufactured in 1983) was towed back to Mawson…
(Photo: John Burgess)
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