This week at Mawson: 13 April 2018

The Mawson team has a busy week of training as well as getting out on the sea ice for the first time.

Weekly roundup

Whilst Casey and Davis winterers start their season at the beginning of summer, at Mawson and Macquarie we start our season at the beginning of winter, which means that while they are already almost half way through their year, we are still just finding our feet.

At Mawson we are keeping busy with all the training required to be self-sufficient in all things, as well as the usual work activities and monitoring of science equipment.

This week, we have started our Hägglunds driver training and plateau terrain familiarisation, which for many of us is the first experience of driving on blue ice. The first group out – Matt, Brett, Michael and Mark combined their plateau tour with a visit to the Mt Parsons repeater for some maintenance work. This meant a nice warming climb up the mountain for a reward of some great views. We’ve also had SAR (search and rescue) technical rescue and knot-tying refreshers as well as a fire alarm on Sunday afternoon that fortunately proved to be false, but gave the fire team a chance to run through their paces.

Our sea ice is well and truly growing its winter coat and Horseshoe Harbour is now thick enough for us to commence some restricted operations. There is a tide gauge out there that needs to have data downloaded from it annually so Matt and Mark spent Saturday afternoon ‘fishing’ with a camera to locate the gauge and returned on Wednesday to ‘catch’ it and download the data. Mission accomplished!

And just today we harvested our first lettuces from hydroponics – Donna and Kiwi have worked hard to get that all up and running for us and we are very grateful. It’s such a treat to have some fresh salad vegetables.

We are now all starting and finishing work in twilight; we are currently losing seven and half minutes of daylight a day as we head to our two weeks of no sun in June. As they say, winter is coming…

2 men stand on the ice plateau with a Hagglunds vehicle
Mark and Paul on blue ice with yellow Hagg
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
2 men on a mountain overlooking the ice plateau
Mark and Matt at the top of Mt Parsons to service the…
(Photo: Michael Brill)
2 men out on the sea ice with some equipment
Mark and Matt out on Horseshoe Harbour tide gauge fishing
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
A man kneeling on the sea ice smiles at camera
A happy Matt now everything is downloading
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
The interior of a hydroponics container with grow lights on
Mawson hydroponics up and running - yellow is from the grow lights
(Photo: E.Rodewald)