Casey at night, liquid amber snow petrels and sunsets, shifting snow, and preparations for summer science.

Casey at night

The daylight hours are fast disappearing as the southern hemisphere tilts further away from the sun, and night becomes our norm.

Matt, one of the diesos and a keen photographer, has been out capturing images of the station in the dark — a different take on Casey. 

Burnished birds

Some days down here are hard to describe they are so incredibly stunning that words and even images can’t do them justice. Last Sunday was such a day, made even better by the fact that it was the weekend and we didn’t have to work so had the time to absorb it. Although, it was cold — down around −20°C, so a bit chilly.

When you see snow petrels and Antarctic petrels cruising effortlessly between the snow covered rock valleys enjoying the gold/orange rays of the sunset, you have to wonder, how can such (relatively) small birds survive down here through the winter? Our expert back in Kingston (Barb Wienecke) assures us that if there is open water in the vicinity, then they can get enough food to sustain themselves in the extremes of an Antarctic winter.

The images below — captured by Pete while up on Reeves Hill — show these birds in their element, reflecting the stunning colours of the magnificent liquid gold sky.

Science preparation: FOCE

Completing preparations through the winter months ensures that projects for next season get to start as soon as possible after arrival on station.

Last week in the workshop, we started to prepare some essential items for the 2014/15 summer FOCE (Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment) project. The first in-situ polar CO2 enrichment experiment, this research will examine the impact of increased CO2 absorption in seawater (forming acidic oceans) will have on marine ecosystems.

To start with we installed the Cummins generator in the portable container that will be transported close to the site of the experiment already established under the thick multi-year sea ice in O’Brien Bay. We also mounted the H-cowls on the roof, extended the exhaust outside, and secured the diesel tank on its sled for refuelling — all ready to go!

D11 deals to drifts

Overnight snowfalls quickly get blown into blizz tails and wind scoops, making work around station eventful at times.

Our plant operator, Cary, spends a good deal of his day after the wind abates clearing the roads for easy access.