This week at Mawson: 19 October 2018

A weekend jolly to Auster for some and lots of plans for fair weather work.

Wild and woolly weather

Mawson treated us to all weather again this week. Winds picked up on Thursday night and saw us in full blizzard by Friday morning, meaning we were all confined to inside work again on RED travel conditions (essential outside travel only, and only in pairs). 

On Friday morning  we were greeted in the mess by a smashed window. The windows here are all triple-glazed and the inside sheet was completely shattered. It's a mystery as to exactly how it broke, but the cause is presumably storm-related. A minor chippie emergency for Mal to make repairs before the glass all fell in, and replacing the window becomes another job for his 'to do' list!

By Friday evening, the blizzard had stopped and we've had blue skies and low winds ever since, which has been lovely. The sun is even getting enough warmth back in it to create melting snow: so much so that it rained inside the Green Store over the weekend as snow melted out of the roof cavity. 

Macey hut and Auster rookery saw visitors again over the weekend - the emperor penguin chicks are doing well and some of them are getting very big. They all seemed to be enjoying the sun and warmth on offer.

Clear skies has provided some good aurora photographing opportunities for those up late enough to catch them. We have fifteen and a half hours of daylight now, so aurora watching windows are getting smaller and later.

This spate of good weather means outside tasks can be done without rapidly freezing fingers, so over the next week there are plans for a Béchervaise Island visit to complete the summer prep there (and keep an eye on penguin arrivals); a trip back to Mt Parsons for more work on our radio repeater; cane line maintenance on the plateau; and another trip west to Taylor Rookery to check on the Emperor Penguin colony there. Here's hoping the sun keeps shining and the winds stay low! 

Three men watch the sunset at Macey Island
Watching the sunset at Macey Island
(Photo: Nick Cullen)
Aurora over Macey Island
Aurora over Macey Island
(Photo: Nick Cullen)
Penguin in front of an iceberg
Emperor penguin in front of the ice facets on the iceberg
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
Emperor penguins and chicks in the sun
Lots of happy emperor penguin chicks and their parents in the sun
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
A group of people at Auster penguin colony
Weekend visitors to Auster rookery, (L-R) Nick, Mal, Brett, Pat, Esther and…
(Photo: Patrick James)
The many blues of an iceberg on a sunny day
The many blues of an iceberg on a sunny day
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
Two Haggs parked on the sea ice
Haggs and passengers on the sea ice take a photo opportunity on…
(Photo: Nick Cullen)
An aurora over Mawson station, photographed from West Arm
An aurora over Mawson station, photographed from West Arm
(Photo: Patrick James)