In the fight between good (the doc) and evil (the chef), the culinary king has his say. We also visit an automatic weather station (AWS) near Browning and battened down the hatches for a blizzard. Finally we revitalised our happy birthday sign for the public web cam.

Chef vs Doc

9:00am (Yes, I know. 9am! Doctors don’t get out of bed real early down here!)

The monthly medical list goes up.

Game on!

Doctor Chad in This week at Casey (8 March 2013) painted me — the chef — as the “resident evil”, the temptation, leading the minions (food pun) astray. I prefer to think of myself as the angel of mercy, a provider of comfort food to these poor lost and lonely souls. In fact on several occasions I have heard the words “That mother of the evil doer!” when I have walked into the room — clearly a reference to my caring and nurturing ways!

But I digress. As Chad has pitched this as a battle of good against evil, then let the battle begin!

The Doc has been encouraging everybody on station to do something called “P90X”. What a sub-par Leyland car from the 70s has anything to do with exercise is beyond me, but hey, he is American! His goal is to get the total station weight down over the course of the year. My goal, however, is to give them dining experiences they will hopefully never forget.

Anyway everybody (well mostly everybody apart from a few stoic trenchermen) have been exercising madly and all feeling pretty good about themselves -until dinner time that is. Then the fun begins! You see, it is at dinnertime that they reveal their true nature, trough beasts all of them. Like Woo’s pigs in Deadwood, there is very little these guys won’t eat. Some like “Micky TWO Plates” and “Matty the Viking” have an inane propensity to consume everything in front of them. Some poor souls try and kid themselves with baby plates, only to pile them up to the point of overflowing.

“Oh that’s right! Today is your “cheat day” or day off from exercise.” Sure it is. You just keep telling yourself that. Others often need a little more encouragement. Missing that “Tuesday night down at the pub parmy”? Not a problem, I can fix that! How about a juicy rib fillet with a wild mushroom sauce? A Tassie scallop pie? Perhaps a crème brulee or rich chocolate fondant is more to your taste? Don’t be shy boys — you can have it all — and don’t forget seconds. I’m here to help.

On some rare occasions there is a triumph of will power brought on by a guilty glance in the mirror. Thankfully I have the never ending “chocolate genie” to fall back on. (See below)

Monthly medicals before Easter, what was the doc thinking? Hot cross bun anyone? How about a chocolate egg?

Chef Scotty

Blizz'ed in at Browning

It was suppose to be a two-day jaunt to check an automatic weather station (AWS) and the depth of sea ice. It started well as the weather was fine with little wind, which is quite pleasant. Huapt Nunatuck is where the AWS is located and is a pair of knolls 45 minutes from the Browning hut. A Nunatuk (from the Inuit language) is a knoll, rocky ridge, mountain etc. Huapt Nunatuck is also not far from the Vanderford Glacier.

It was exceptionally cold as the sun was setting which made for a very quick photo opportunity at the rocky knoll. The bloke next to me is the station chef and deputy station leader. There are some benefits taking the chef on a tour.

Hägglunds are the preferred method of transport as they are reliable and can go just about anywhere. Downside is they are noisy and due to the terrain, quite slow. The next day we took the quads over to the ocean shore and found the sea ice had yet to form up to a safe thickness. Therefore we all went over to the elephant seal wallow, just a twenty-minute walk from Browning hut, with excellent views of the glacier.

The next day wind developed and blowing snow soon followed. The clouds cleared and the wind intensified to around 130km per hour. We knew it was coming due to the forecast and were well prepared. It did last longer than expected so we had to stay in the hut for three days until it subsided.

The blizz (snow and ice from a blizzard) gets everywhere including into both generators, which caused them to fail. Not really a problem as the hut is well equipped with a gas heater and stove.

The huts are small with the exception of Wilkes hut. They are more or less survival shelters and not built for comfort.

All in all it was a good trip and about the closest you would get these days to experience what the original explorers did.

Steve M.

The famous Casey happy birthday sign

At Casey it is a bit of a tradition for expeditioners to greet their family with a happy birthday wish via the happy birthday sign. The sign sits in front of the web cam with the station in the background and can be seen by anyone with internet access. So when the sign was looking a little worse for wear, both Jeremy and Mark decided to give a little TLC. After the sign was removed it was obvious a new sign would be required. This would need to be done ASAP as birthdays were coming up. Jeremy got to work on the new board and Mark started giving the old letters a new coat of paint - over 100 letters in total. 

Over a couple of weekends, the job was done and the sign ready to go. The problem then was that the cameras had been moved and were looking in the wrong direction. Doug, our friendly communications guy, jumped in and had the problem sorted in no time. Now the new birthday sign is up and running.