Casey celebrates fathers, gets into golfing, visits some seals, and walks to Wilkes.

Walking to Wilkes

We had been talking about walking to Wilkes for a while and decided to just go out and do it before the end of the winter was here.

The idea came from Steve, wanting to walk to Browning Hut, across the sea ice (about 30 kilometres), but with never having done it before, we thought it would be a good start to head to Wilkes Hut first (about eight kilometres). This way we would work out the kinks in our operation, and we found out quickly, there were a lot. Steve decided to go for the sled towing behind option, whilst Cary went with the pack on the back.

Cary said his back was nice and warm under the backpack, while Steve had a pack with water on his back, which turned into an ice block after about 20 mins and made him very cold if he stopped moving.

Trying to stop for lunch half-way was another mission on its own. Cary bought muesli bars which were great, but Steve decided to ‘eat big’ and cryovac a sandwich. Having to take his gloves off and use his leatherman to cut open the frozen solid sandwich was tough in the 35 knot winds, making the temp -35°C.-35°C.

The wind was at our backs most of the way, until we came to the last stretch before we got to Wilkes, when it started to blow almost straight on. Our faces started to freeze, we started to move a hell of a lot faster and forgot about looking around and taking in the view.

It was nice to get to Wilkes after around three hours and be met by Matt, Nick and Scotty (the support team), who had driven there in a Hägglunds, warmed up the hut and had pizzas already in the oven.

Hopefully the trip to Browning Hut will happen in the next month or so, after learning valuable lessons on the Wilkes trip.

Steven Hankins

Casey pays tribute to Dads everywhere

With it being Father’s Day on Sunday, and such a spectacular day on station, we decided to say “Hi” to fathers everywhere.

Believe me, getting everyone outside with their letters held (the right way around) was not easy. All I can say is thank goodness for Photoshop — isn’t that right Stu? (Can you spot the difference?)

Golfing on a lazy Sunday

With a new set of golf clubs arriving last summer during resupply, we have been trying to make the most of them.

On this nice lazy Sunday, Steve, Cary and Dan, decided to head to the wharf and start a game from there, heading towards Shirley Island on the sea ice.

We picked a mound of ice in the distance and made that the first hole.

We found out very quickly that if you land on the hard icy surfaces, the ball will bounce forever, and if you land on a small patch of snow, most of the time it will disappear half a meter into the ground and you will never find it again.

We had only got to hole two when we realized that we had already been playing for three hours, so after spending the majority of the day looking for golf balls that we had hit, we decided to head home.

Was a great day all round.

Steven Hankins

Quads to the seals

We had heard rumours from several people around station that there would be seals across at Shirley Island, so we decided to go for a nice Saturday drive across the ice and have a look.

It was a little overcast and surface definition was very poor, but it still beats lying around watching movies all day and with the winter coming to an end, we have to make the most of every day that isn’t a blizzard.

We arrived at Shirley Island and found that there weren’t any seals to been seen. We sat around daydreaming while looking out to sea for half an hour or so, when a big fat Weddell popped out of the water right next to us and promptly went to sleep on the ice.

It was the only sighting for the day, but it was a good day to get out and about. Hopefully in the coming weeks, they will be everywhere when they begin pupping (having babies).

Steven Hankins