This week at Mawson: 20 October 2017

This week we are treated to photos of our icy environment and hear about one perfect day.

Ice (part one)

Here on the frozen continent we live and work in an environment dominated by ice. It is mostly represented by the plateau ice sheet which is constantly on the move in its never ending push towards the sea, and the seasonal sea ice that forms during winter and allows us access to places that cannot be reached in summer. The sea ice around Mawson is important also, as it forms a breeding ground for Weddell seals and emperor penguins.

The following photos are of the more noticeable ice forms we see around Mawson.


Keep an eye out for 'Ice - Part Two' coming soon…

Icicles forming over a rock edge on a harbour edge.
Ice forming on the shore of Horseshoe Harbour.
(Photo: Pete Layt)
A Hägglunds vehicle is on an icy plateau at sunrise.
Hägglunds on the icy plateau.
(Photo: Pete Layt)
A blue and white ice cliff edge with a pink sunrise.
First light on the ice cliffs of West Bay.
(Photo: Pete Layt)
Ice flowers in a tide crack.
Ice flowers in a tide crack.
(Photo: Pete Layt)
Sunlight shines through the peak of a jade iceberg.
Stunning blues of a jade iceberg.
(Photo: Pete Layt)

It was a perfect day

It was a perfect day, −16.9°C, sun shining high in the sky and the wind blowing 3-4 knots, if that. So Dan and I thought we would take full advantage of such conditions and take a quad trip up the magnificent coastline to Low Tongue.

With our GPS locked on, and gear packed, we were away and headed off. It was not long until we were forced to stop as we came across the first beautiful Adélie penguin for the year.

It was just having a casual break out on the sea ice near the Rookery Islands. We ventured further up the coast before we just had to stop and admire the amazing Forbes Glacier, which was spectacular – and just one of the many local treasures that is a pleasure to visit when the weather is playing nice. We continued up the coast and stopped a few times to prove the sea ice by drilling it and were met by a beautiful lone emperor penguin just cruising the coast as well, awesome.

We reached Low Tongue, had lunch and with the conditions still the same (so lucky) went for a walk around and I found some penguin tracks. I needed to investigate further. I thought I would go to the highest point to get a better look and as I neared the top, lo and behold two Adélie penguins were already up there starting on their nest.

Eager to please their incoming partners, these guys went straight for the penthouse suite, and why not, the view was amazing and a large amount of pebbles and small rocks were already there in abundance and would make their life easier. Smart little guys.

The time had come for us to make a move and we headed for station, back down the coast stopping along the way to admire the coastline and cliffs in the sunlight and a few female Weddell seals that would soon be giving birth to pups (none yet so far).

We arrived back on station with a big smile on our faces.

We both knew that we had been treated to a special day in an amazing part of the world and it is just one of the vast amounts of rewards for living and working in Antarctica.


Blue glacier cliffs with a big blue sky in the background
The amazing coastline west of Mawson station.
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
Geometric ice formations resting on an ice covered island
Ice formations on an island in Holme Bay.
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
A blue coloured glacier edge with sea ice in the foreground and blue skies
Forbes Glacier.
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
An Adélie penguin pops it's head up from behind a rock
Hello? Can I help you? The first nesting Adélie at Low Tongue.…
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)
A sleeping Weddell seal on sea ice.
Sleeping beauty.
(Photo: Benny Bogusz)