This week at the station

This week at Mawson: 12 April 2013

The roving doc

The doc takes another of his regular wanders around station and records what he sees.

A mini-blizzard over the last few days dumped lots of soft snow around the station, leaving heavy snowy deposits outside doorways and on the lee side of buildings. However, immediately after the recent blow, Mawson turned on several days of windless, sunny magnificence. If only we could bottle this weather and sell it. Several people took advantage of the good weather to get off Station for some field training. 

After morning tea, the plumber had to give the station leader instructions on how to siphon washing-up detergent so that he could wash the dishes.

The chef showed his masterful trait of brilliance by turning on yet another cleverly decorated birthday cake this week.

Meanwhile, life carries on outside the living quarters on another of our magnificent windless, sunny days. Although the sea ice is now freezing around Mawson, it is not yet open for travel. To the west of Mawson, the brilliant sunlight highlights the dangers of crevasses just a stone’s throw from the station.

And whether the weather is good, bad or ugly, small plants in the form of mosses and lichens cling to life in whatever little sheltered spot they can find, defying the years of exposure to freezing temperatures and severe blizzards which Mawson can throw at it.

A pair of Sorrell boots has been noted, concreted deep into the foundation of an old building. It is hoped that the expeditioner to whom they belonged is not still wearing them.

Snow build up near living quarters
Accumulated deep snow on the downwind side of the living quarters
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Snow dug out from doorways with red door in background
Snow dug out from doorways where it builds up
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Morning tea in mess
Mawsonites enjoy the sunshine while 'snow petrels' frolic overhead during morning tea
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
A table covered with white linen tablecloth shows morning tea items including pancakes, maple syrup and more
With the chef away, the station leader puts up morning tea
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
SL and plumber
The station leader sucks up to the plumber
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Sea ice in Harbour and Kista Straight
Horseshoe Harbour and Kista Straight now frozen and appearing quite solid
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Crevasses near Mawson station
Serious crevassing just to the west of Mawson
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Lichen shown growing on a rock surrounded by snow
Lichen grows despite freezing temperatures and severe blizzards
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Boots in frozen upside down in concrete and surrounded by snow so you can only see the bottoms of the shoes
Where is the owner of these boots
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)

Official Antarctic hairdresser

All expeditioners are required to take part in extra duties around station as a normal part of life living and working in Antarctica. There are many varied jobs that need to be carried out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and these are spread between all expeditioners. Some of the more basic jobs including vacuuming, rubbish collection, mopping cold porches etc are done on a rotational roster with everybody having their turn. There is also a large list of jobs and support roles which we could volunteer for if interested.

One of my primary support roles is hairdressing. I have to admit that I hadn't volunteered for the hairdressing position but it was on my list of pre-departure training so I gave it a go. After a short one-on-one training session at TAFE in Hobart I was armed with some pretty basic knowledge and a hair piece to go with it.

When asked to perform my first hair cut of the year "ever" I must admit I was a little nervous but as everybody knows there's only a week between a good or bad haircut.

My first two clients were Chris and John and both were very pleased with the end result, with no complaints about the price. I have attached the before and after photos for proof.

Peter Cubit

Chris Stevenson
First customer, looking for a stylist
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Chris Stevenson mowhawk cut
Now that's style
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
John Burgess
Customer number two, looking worried
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
John Burgess
Not as stylish but not bad for the second attempt
(Photo: Peter Cubit)

Earlier arrivals

Jeremy recaps on the summer. 

A common theme of recent station news stories from Mawson can leave the reader under the impression that we all arrived on V3 in February. While this accounts for the vast majority of our team (12), there remain a few of us that do not fit under this umbrella. Geoff and I arrived at Mawson at the end of November, sailing to Davis on V1 and flying over a few days later, while Cliff turned up just after Christmas after spending time working at Casey over the summer. Spending the summer with an outgoing crew came with great advantage, at least for me, (Geoff being a seasoned Antarctic veteran, although don’t follow him in a blizzard, you could end up anywhere!) it afforded me the time to acclimatize and familiarize myself with the station life and the climate, and also to get out and about and see some of the sights while the weather was fine and the sunlight in abundance.

Thanks to the outgoing 2012 winter and the 2012/13 summer expeditioners for a fantastic summer.

And Happy Birthday to my little sister Sophie for Sunday!!!

Geoff Brealey in the mechanical workshop
Fashionista Geoff shows off his summer wardrobe
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
A tradesman dressed for outdoor weather including balaclava
Dressed up for winter
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Brew team taste session - three expeditioners taste beer near a wall of bottles
Learning the joys of being part of the brew team
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
An expeditioner prepares to operate a very large crane
Geoff warms up the crane
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Cliff Simpson at Davis poses in full gear including safety vest while he salutes the photographer
Give Cliffy a pretty vest and a radio and he will obey…
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
In a photo taken from inside the cab of a Hagg, Cliff Simpson Davis reaches up with both arms from outside to be lifted in
'Help me up, I don't like this mountaineering'
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Geoff working on loader, on his back underneath it in workshop
Season navigator and Antarctic veteran, Geoff, looks for another way to the…
(Photo: Jeremy Little)