This week at Mawson: 13 December 2019

The Rumdoodle Dash!

Dash to the Doodle!

A creative satirical excerpt from the expedition diary of the 72nd ANARE, in the Framnes Mountains of Mac. Robertson Land.

4 December 2019

Our vehicles set track to ice to start the journey South. Our target: Rumdoodle ski landing surface, to deliver two personnel and historic footage, carefully collected over the last three weeks, and receive four new recruits to complement our crew.

Our team of five were chosen out of 32 applicants, with a healthy composition of expedition veterans and new recruits, with Antarctic and Arctic experience. Our three vehicles, the Pioneer and two Hagglunds, were all steered by experienced commanders, most notably our expedition medical expert Dr. Wallace.  

On departure our Station Leader commented, “...as impressive a group of explorers as had ever been on a polar expedition”. We felt invigorated and proud to represent our flag and country on this daring mission.

With clear skies and light winds we made good time, dragging sleds and provisions to our remote location. We completed an inspection of the landing surface and made general preparations for the activity of the next day. We arrived at our accommodation tired, hungry and cold.

That evening we dined on tinned steak and kidney pastries from the reputable Sir F. Bentos, who has provided subsistence to many an Antarctic expeditioner in our era. We established radio communications with our home base Mawson, with our intentions clear: Support expedition extraction and insertion using a de Haviland DHC-6 Twin Otter, a marvel of Antarctic aviation specializing in short takeoff and landing.

 

5 December 2019

Had no other option but to split into two parties.

Rumdoodle Advance party was led by Mr. Whiteley, a gentleman of quiet demeanour backed by decades of experience in ice and cold, accompanied by myself as meteorological observer and custodian of the Kestrel and Vaisala weather instrumentation.  My mission was of great importance, providing weather observations to assist our aviators in their off strip landing.

Rumdoodle Mainbody broke camp to join us and start landing area preparations. The time was nearly upon us. A dying wind and clear sky today.

All cheerful that the plane landed safely. Three hurrays was given to the aviators of great renown, Mr. Whitley (different from Mr. Whiteley, and from the North Canadian polar reaches) and his first officer, Miss Charles.

Our four new recruits looked fit, strong and well-fed, ready for the hardships that awaited them at Mawson.

Departed for Mawson at 12:00. Arrived and greeted in person by the leader of our expedition, Mr. Williams.  

  

6 December 2019

A surprise turn of events – all hands on deck to receive another flight!

The old team was reunited to make the trek up to the plateau again, with the exception of Mr. Whiteley, whose field expertise were required yonder. We were joined by a member of the Scottish Antarctic Division and arrived timely at Rumdoodle for another round of Antarctic aviation.

There was tearful goodbyes to six members of our party, who were promptly informed to pack their bags as their expertise were needed elsewhere and we had to make do without them for the next few weeks of summer.

Mr. Dacy, our expedition mechanic, and his protégé Mr. Keppie, were splendid in the speed and grace they provided the incoming aircraft with the necessary support: windsock, refuelling services and even a good chinwag.

Departed for Mawson at 13:00. Our team of very gallant ladies and gentlemen arrived and were greeted in person by our esteemed leader, a welcome face after the harshness of the Antarctic plateau.

- Daleen Koch (Engineering Officer – Bureau of Meteorology – Summer 2019/20)

De Havilland DHC 6 closing doors - Mawson.
De Havilland DHC 6 closing doors - Mawson.
(Photo: D. Koch)
A large red tracked vehicle and a man on the ice
Mr Keppie and the Foremost Pioneer in all its glory - Mawson.
(Photo: D. Koch)
Man refuelling the de Havilland DHC 6
Mr Whitely refuelling the de Havilland DHC 6 - Mawson.
(Photo: D. Koch)
One yellow and one red Hagglunds on the ice
Hagglunds chariots at Rumdoodle - Mawson.
(Photo: D. Koch)