This week at Casey a group travelled for an overnight stay at Wilkes and a small crew traversed to Law Dome Automatic Weather Station.

Overnight at Wilkes

At the end of another reasonably hectic week of work, half a dozen of us bearded expeditioners, make that five, sorry Aaron, made our way over to Wilkes Hut for the night. Altogether there was myself, Matty, Andy (Search and Rescue Leader) and Ben in the first Hagg with the cage pallets full of wood for the heater, then Lee and Aaron came a bit later on with the food and other necessities.

While the others unloaded the wood from the Hagg, I started a roaring fire in the wood heater, which finally brought the temperature up from around negative eight when we first walked in to about a high of forty two degrees later in the night. After all the unpacking was done and our bodies thawed out with the help of Ben’s many varieties of tea, it was time to cook dinner. As you can see by the pictures, camping out is extremely hard down here.

After dinner it was time for a few nightcaps and lots of chatter and laughs, plus some tall stories especially from our SAR leader, and Matty who still today talks about how good his charcoal steak and his mashed potato was. Had a nice sleep in, then it’s time to get up, clean up and head back to station to unpack, more cleaning up and get ready for another week of work.

Mick W.

Law Dome Automatic Weather Station Annual Service

Law Dome AWS (automatic weather station) is located at the summit of Law Dome at an altitude of 4580 feet and 120 kilometres south east of Casey station. Its main purpose is to give information about the weather conditions there to the Bureau of Meteorology in Hobart at 30 minute intervals, to assist in flight planning for Wilkins runway over the summer season and Casey all year round. We went on our way, hoping that the weather window forecast was good, as this place has a record for being extremely cold and windy.

The final team was lead by Leon the meteorological tech, with Mark J the plumber and Mark B the diesel mechanic. The trip there took just over twelve hours and the track was extremely rough for the last thirty kilometres. On arrival Leon removed the battery pack and brought it into the warm of the traverse van for recharging ready for the next day. Due to the cold weather and lack of daylight on the solar charger, this job happens about this time every year. The next day we check the height of the unit as the snow and ice level here can rise by as much as one and a half metres which means we may need to raise the whole unit. All was good, after fitting the battery unit Leon had to check and adjust the calibration of the weather station so that it is transmitting correctly.

This was all made interesting, as it hadn’t stopped snowing since we got there and caused some problems with the laptop but the good side was that the snow had filled all the sustrugi (windblown ruts) for the return trip. The drive back was no quicker than the trip there due to low cloud that diffused the light, giving no shadows or definition of the ground or horizon. The job was completed successfully with no major breakages.