This week at the station
This week at Mawson: 8 April 2011
Our fantastic chef Scotty has been very busy in the kitchen this week, cooking us dishes that not only taste superb, but look delectable too.
Given that we’ve now come to expect a very high level of culinary expertise from our chef, it came as a huge surprise to all expeditioners when they were served two-minute noodles in personalised mugs for smoko on the first of April. After some very quizzical looks, Scott declared it an April Fool’s Day joke and revealed the real smoko.
Water supply is always an issue in Antarctica, especially when we are reliant upon melting the ice to ensure that we have enough to meet station demands. Plumber Grant C and carpenter Chris W went to investigate the melt-bell this week to see if they could accurately quantify the amount of water available.So with ropes and harnesses on, they cleared the snow over the melt-bell and lowered a long tape measure to gauge the depth of the water. The results show that last week's warmer than average temperatures have slightly increased the amount of stored water.
In the early hours of the morning, and under a clear sky, the bright lights of the aurora australis have been shimmering over the station. Only a few brave souls have been up at this hour, but it was worth the effort.
Hydroponics production is underway at Mawson. Scotty the chef requested greens for a special 'Earth Hour' dinner on Saturday night, 26 March, so the hydroponics team 'got to' and harvested a range of lettuces, capsicums, radishes and other salad vegetables for the caesar and seafood salads.
Production is in full swing thanks to the outgoing crew who sanitised the facility and had everything ready to go for us at changeover. New planting is heavily influenced by the preferences from the kitchen. Chillies are a high priority! We wonder what Scotty has in mind?
It is notable that the three North Queenslanders on station have put themselves on the roster to ensure nutrient and water levels are correct for the Garden of Mawson. But not a green thumb among them! The real story is a chance to get some UV and a little bit of warmth and humidity instead of the cold dry Mawson air.
After a highly successful two days of Hagglunds driver and sea ice rescue training, set up and instructed by team Dieso, the Mawson crew took a bit of R+R time last Wednesday night with a highly competitive 8 ball competition in the Mawson billiards hall.Names of those interested in competing were gathered and drawn from a hat to create a death by knock out competition, consisting of four rounds, organised by Big Tim (chippy). Festivities kicked off around 5 pm with the first game being played before dinner, Tim vs Jeremy (team Dieso). The first game set the standard for the night with fast accurate shots from both sides. It was neck and neck most of the game until Tim ended it leaving Jeremy only one ball behind him.
After dinner the remainder of the first round saw upsets from Rich (doctor) defeating Nutts (plumber), Bo (commonly known as Bangers and part of the Korean film crew) narrowly defeating Dave (weather dude) in a match that had a great deal of vocal input from the crowd.
Muzza (sparkie) looked like he was off to a rough start in his match against Rolf (weather dude). Muzz missed a few shots early in the match giving a couple of fouls away but then came back strong, almost completely potting out in one go, a very sneaky ploy one would think. Other successes from Round One included Mark W (aka Fearless or station leader), Cotty (plumber) and myself (team Dieso). Valliant efforts were put forward from Kim (Korean film crew), Lisa (sparkie) and Scottie (chef).The second round consisted of four matches, the last of which being between Rich and Mark S (comms department). Mark had drawn the wild card at the beginning of the night which accelerated him straight to the second round. Unfortunately for Mark the pool shark glasses and snaky behaviour were not enough to bring down Rich.
Round Two also saw Cotty progress against Fearless, Muzz knocked Bangers out of the competition and Tim made sure team Dieso no longer had a chance to get anywhere near the final by defeating me.
Round Three saw the stakes raised and the competition became a little more serious, any onlookers could have easily thought that the contestants were competing for sheep stations. Upsets included Tim going down to Cotty and Rich finally being knocked off his perch by Muzz.
The final match for the night, Cotty vs Muzza, was a nail biter with some sneaky tactical shots from both sides in an attempt to snooker each other. After a nail bitting 20 minutes of Plumber vs Sparkie and some very enthusiastic oooo’s and aaaarh’s from the crowd, it was Muzz who brought down the house, taking victory over Cotty in an extremely fun, relaxing night of pool.