This week at Mawson: 16 December 2016

This week at Mawson - the last visit to Welch Island, an overnight at Bechervaise and the tide gauge is reinstated.

Tide gauge back in place

This week Tony and Ben drilled the sea ice off the station in Horseshoe Harbour directly above a concrete casing that normally holds a tide gauge. One of several such instruments deployed to gather tide information along the East Antarctic coast at, and or close to research stations.

The hole was drilled and the concrete casing positioned – approximately eight metres below the ice surface, which was confirmed via a camera lowered into the hole on a pole.

The plug and float keeping the casing clear was removed using a line and hook. Then the repaired tide gauge was carefully lowered making sure the tension on the rope was kept constant before it was finally safely within the casing and the release rope pulled.

The tide gauge is now once again sending data on the movement of the Southern Ocean around our shores – set to go for another ten years or so if we’re lucky.

A picture of deteriorating Horseshoe Hrbour sea ice in front of the station
The deteriorating Horseshoe Hrbour sea ice in front of the station.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
An expeditioner locating the exact position of the tide gauge holder
Tony locating the exact position of the tide gauge holder.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Tony Harris and Ben Newport on each side of the auger, holding it as they drill into the sea ice above the tide gauge casing
Tony and Ben use the auger to drill a hole above the…
(Photo: Ali Dean)
The auger through the sea ice at over a metre thick
The auger through the sea ice at over a metre thick.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
The honeycombed and saturated but still solid sea ice off Mawson station
The honeycombed and saturated but still solid sea ice off Mawson station.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Tony Harris and Ben Newport use a camera attached to a long pole to locate the tide gauge casing and remove the plug
Tony and Ben use a camera attached to a long pole to…
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Expeditioners carefully position the tide gauge in the ice
Carefully positioning the tide gauge.
(Photo: Ali Dean)
Finally in place - the gauge in the top left hand screen
Finally in place - the gauge in the top left hand screen.
(Photo: Ali Dean)

A night on Bechervaise Island

Last weekend Shane, Brett, Jason and Cookie picked a pleasant calm sunny evening to take the quads out over the sea ice to stay overnight at the huts on Bechervaise Island.

This will be the last trip out to the island before the researchers on station head out to make the island their base for the rest of the short Antarctic summer and the sea ice is closed for recreational use.

Looking back at station on the sea ice in front of Beche Island, quad bike in the foreground
On the sea ice looking back at station.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
Arrival at the huts on Bechervaise Island on quads - from the left Andrew Cook, Shane Ness, Brett Sambrooks
Arrival at the huts on Beche, from the left Cookie, Shane, Brett.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
A view from the top of the island overlooking ice and rocks.
View from the top of the island, from the left Cookie, Nessie…
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
Looking south at the ice plateau with Framnes Mountains in the background
Looking south at the ice plateau with Framnes Mountains in the background.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
The midnight sun with two snow petrels resting on the snow
The midnight sun with resting snow petrels.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
Midnight sun with one snow petrel on rock and one in the air
Midnight sun with one snow petrel on rock and one in the…
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
An iceberg in the evening light
Iceberg in the evening light.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)

Welch Island walkabout

Our two penguin researchers, Matt and Lisa, completed their census of Adélie penguin colonies on Welch Island this week. This stunning island which dominates our view to the north is on our outer limits for travel at this time of year.

Helping them with this work on Friday were Jason and Josh who took the time to do a circumnavigation of the island, finding a large rather unusual piece of litter in the process.

We could not identify with anything comparable on station, but assume it must have come from here originally, the station being the only station for several hundred kilometres.

A picture of an Antarctic skuas on Welch Island
One of the Antartic skuas on Welch Island.
(Photo: Matt Pauza)
The ring on its leg tells us this skua is number 45283
The ring on its leg tells us this skua is No. 45283
(Photo: Matt Pauza)
Strange litter, a chair, found in the ice on Welch Island
Strange litter found in the ice on Welch Island.
(Photo: Matt Pauza)
A chair found on Welch Island frozen into the ice.
How did this get here?
(Photo: Matt Pauza)