Ok, now he’s just showing off. Casey station’s winter chef does not disappoint in this week’s news, plus we meet the meteorology team and learn about some unsung heroes.

Gastronomic delights

Food is a very important part of any Antarctic station, with meals being a time for everyone to come together. Food is vital to keeping up energy levels, or “the first layer” as it is often referred to.

Bringing people together is particularly important on Saturday nights as this is the one night of the week where the daily grind can be broken up from its usual routine, given that the majority of station doesn’t have to work Sundays. Generally people make an extra effort to dress up Saturday evenings, even if there is no specific theme for the night, wearing collared shirts, their best jeans, dress shoes etc.

This winter here at Casey we have been very fortunate to have not only a chef who fully embraces Saturday nights and all that they stand for and do for station morale, but also a chef who cooks exceptionally good food. Thank you to Eddie from the whole station for your efforts to date, and for excellent food all week (but especially Sat nights). We all look forward to many more months of succumbing to your delights.

Pete Hargreaves

Met update

Summer has passed and winter is in full flight, or is that standstill. It is no more evident than in our average daily maximums through the summer (December to February) being a toasty 1.6°C, dropping to −5.8°C for March just gone. Throw in a −25.1°C like we had a couple weeks ago and summer is a distant memory. So this is a good time to give a little update on how things are travelling in the Met department.

We waved goodbye to our summer colleagues Jane, Michelle and Krzysztof on the last flight of the season on 26 February, but did welcome our incoming winter met tech ‘Gunny’ (Kevin). With the departing summer staff, aviators and associated science projects ending, things certainly quietened down in Met, but we have been staying busy. Gunny has been winterizing the Met gear at Wilkins and the Casey skiway, while Dan and I kept up the climate observations program — the core science we are here for.

Of course one of our favourite pastimes is letting off two weather balloons a day. A little in house game we have is to see who can release a balloon in the strongest winds (bearing safety in mind of course). I was going to clear the leader board and start fresh for the winter, but alas we cannot forget the efforts of the summer crew, and Krzysztof who stills leads with a 75 kt (139 kph) release. Dan and I lagging in the mid 60s, with Gunny — well he hasn’t long been on station.

On the horizon: we’ll keep tapping away collecting climate data and launching our weather balloons, and hopefully put together a traverse or two to do some maintenance on the weather stations at Cape Poinsett and Law Dome summit. We’ll be sure to make a story out of that.

Ciao from the met team and may all our balloons go far and high.

Steve B

Unsung heroes

I thought it would be good to give a little recognition to some of the unsung heroes on station. Science and infrastructure maintenance are our primary focus, however with a winter crew of just 18, we all need to take on secondary roles. There are of course the glamour jobs on the fire team, search and rescue, hydroponics and medical, but it is the less thought of jobs that really make the station tick. 

We may be in Antarctica, but Casey is Australian territory and we still have both the right and responsibility to vote, and between Federal and State you can expect an election or two to come along. That’s where our electoral officer Pete comes in, with of course his officious assistant Grant. They were on hand last weekend to see that my vote was counted in the rerun of the Western Australia senate election. Mind you we probably could have done it in the library, instead of −17°C.

As democracy continues, so does hair growth, for many of us anyway (unfortunately mines not on my head). Making people beautiful, that’s the motto for Scotty and Steve’s Styling or Scotty the carpenter and I as the station hairdressers. I cut a good jib but I must say Scotty is the gun, nails it every time. During summer we did have a couple of scientists (mainly Anna) ‘under-cutting’ us, though we are now back in business with a captive market.

Reading is an important activity to both keep the mind active and as a relaxing past time. There is nothing better than finding a little corner of the wallow and while the afternoon away. But those books don’t put themselves back on the shelf! That’s where we need a librarian and Dan is just the man for the job. There is more to it of course than just putting books on shelves. He is the keeper of the keys of knowledge and must ensure the repository of knowledge is well stocked for future generations.

Just as Dan is looking after our minds, so Steve Hankins (gotta be clear about that, there are three Steves on station, all with a ‘V’ — how lucky is the rest of the crew?) looks after our bodies as the gym manager. We have a primary gym upstairs in the green store, with a small cardio room in the red shed and a whole swag of kit including weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers and stuff I don’t even know what’s for. So it is up to Steve to keep the gear in good shape as well as encourage healthy activities and diet (along with Doctor Evil, who wants to sabotage sausage roll Tuesdays).

Steve B