This week at Casey we reflect on the role of LARCs in the station’s history, and the first aurora australis of the season lights up the sky for the local paparazzi.

A spectacular night at Wilkes Hilton

On the eve of the Doc’s (Grant) birthday a bunch of us headed to Wilkes Hilton for a night away.

It started off as a reasonably quiet night away with a few drinks and pizza to celebrate Grant’s birthday with no expectations of the light show we were about to experience, other than a hint of auroras the previous two nights.

For this night away we were blessed with a solar pillar, a beautiful sunset, mesmerising moonlight effects and an awesome aurora australis display that stretched right across the horizon.

Steve B (Senior Met Observer), Steve Mc (Aerodrome Mechanic), Ali (Station Leader), Grant (Doc) and myself (Rob, Comm’s Tech)

Antarctic LARCies

The Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo vehicle, or LARC, is an aluminium constructed craft that is capable of propelling itself through water as well as over land.

The LARC is an ideal all-terrain vehicle. It can make surf landings in all types of weather, whereas the Australian Antarctic Division’s jet barges are unable to get close to shore in rough seas, a critical issue, particularly to operations in and around Australia’s subantarctic islands.

LARCs were first used by the Australian government at Macquarie Island in the Summer of 1970–71. Throughout the 1970s and 80s to 1994, the LARC was part of every expeditioner’s Antarctic experience.

On my arrival to Casey station this season, and as a former Antarctic LARC operator (or ‘Larcie’ as commonly known), I was very disappointed to find the Larcie’s plaques had all been removed for disposal. After a thorough search of the station red shed (accommodation building) I was lucky enough to locate the plaques and have returned them to their rightful position on display.

The aurora paparazzi

With the winter season fast approaching, the cooler temperatures, long dark nights and still conditions are providing us with some great opportunities to capture some amazing night photography. This week, the first sighted auroras of the season at Casey station have sparked a renewed energy in the Casey paparazzi.