This week Casey was host to fifteen French and Italian expeditioners who were on transit to Concordia, the jointly operated Italian and French Antarctic station at Dome C. Concordia is situated on the Antarctic Plateau at 3232 metres (10,607 feet) and some 1100 kms from Casey. It is one of the coldest places on Earth.
The Foreign expeditioners were stranded at Casey when aviation conditions changed making flying impossible. Unfortunately, the “full house“ sign was up at Casey but in typical Antarctic tradition, beds were soon created around station including mattresses on the floor in the theatre. Our foreign friends soon settled into the community and were put to good use working with the Casey crew.
Saturday afternoon provided sunshine for a walk to Shirley Island and once all were equipped with throw bags and ice axes, they were on their way under the watchful eye of a Casey trip leader. Each group was easily identifiable with the Italians in red, the Aussies in yellow and the French in blue. The expeditioners took part in drilling sea ice with a number enjoying seeing penguins and icebergs for the first time. With Concordia being an inland station at Dome C, the chance to be waylaid at Casey station provided a coastal Antarctic experience they say they will never forget.
It will be sad to see them go as friendships were formed. The crew at Casey wish them a safe and productive season.