The Red Shed Games, a chilly dip, stunning skies, and a weather summary this week at Casey

Stunning Skies

We may not have much sun at the moment and even when we do see it the angle is so low there is no heat associated with it — in fact according to Met there was no sun hours, or even parts of an hour for the month of June.

It is clear sometimes though, and when the sun is just above the horizon the view is spectacular — you can’t ignore it, as these images show.

Chilly Dip

After a week of winds gusting up to 110 knot (204km/h) we looked out to see most of the sea ice in Newcomb Bay was now a thin white line on the horizon. The winds were followed quickly by a refreeze and heavy snowfall which meant we could not see the ice margin at all. Activity on the sea-ice was cancelled and we had to forego the pleasure of a Midwinter swim due to the weather and uncertain sea-ice conditions.

But that didn’t stop us ultimately. Nick and Team Dieso worked relentlessly following Midwinter to cut us a suitable hole in the metre thick ice, and on Friday last the stars aligned — the last chunk of ice was removed, we had calm conditions (~ −30°C with wind chill — our bottom limit) and the inclination to head for the now slush-filled pool to take the plunge.

Armed with two warm Hägglunds (one being the SAR Hagg in case of any medical emergency or accident), plenty of towels, and grim determination we headed to the wharf (leaving Joe and Gunny to mind the station).

All who were swimming assembled at the edge of the deep dark inky blue pool and set about preparing themselves. We looked nervously about wondering who would go first — this honour being grabbed smartly by Nick (as the swimming pool architect that was only right) who promptly disrobed to his board shorts. Grant the Doc and assistants Steve Mc and Stu helped him don the obligatory harness then down into the pool he went (boots and all). His quick entry into the slushy ice water was only exceeded by an even quicker exit — a look of horror or exhilaration on his face (hard to tell). The crowd erupted into a round of applause and the scene was set.

From then on it was one after the other into the briny. Soon the heated changing room on the wharf was chocker full of half dressed, half wet bods trying to regain the feeling in their extremities. For most it was an Antarctic milestone — another box ticked (one most of us had dreaded!)

Fun & Games

During the several days holiday Casey had recently for Midwinter we held ‘The Red Shed Games’.

These were organised by Steve ‘Giraffe’ Hankins, one of the electricians on station. The rules were simple ‘Whatever the Giraffe Says, Goes'. Looking around at the opening ceremony (pizza night in the Wallow), it was obvious that the fashion item of choice was that photogenic ensemble, the onesy.

The first event was indoor bowls set up on the Wallow floor. Undoubtedly the Wilkins team showed their skill with bowling balls (this is after-all what they groom an ice runway for). Particular mention should be made of the talent displayed by Steve ‘Koala’ Mc.

The second event, Putt Putt (indoor golf), involved a nine hole course set up over two floors within the Red Shed. This was a lot of fun and took several hours to complete (the course designer did not actually try it first to see how difficult it was!) Never the less we all managed to finish eventually, despite the handicap on the last hole set up by Stu ‘Smoke Machine’ Griggs.

Another fun event was Ice Hockey held in our dining room. This involved shooting ice pucks with a minature cricket bat between goal posts that got progressively narrower, on a floor slippery with detergent. Not surprisingly it was the Comms/Ops team that came up trumps in this. The bonus being we also go an immaculately clean dining room floor — well the middle anyway. I am trying to get them to play around the edges to complete the job for a Saturday duty.

We also enjoyed Ice Curling in the Workshop with a slap-up BBQ cooked by Steve H as well. The curling was difficult to master and as the ‘ice’ stones gradually disintergrated the game became ice hurling or a form of slippery one-on-one football until there was just puddles of water over the black polythene curling lane.

We have yet to decide which team actually won as some results are yet to be counted — but then when it comes down to it, does it really matter?

June Weather

There was a fitter named Melhuish
Who was quite the Casey sleuth
The puzzle was solved in good time
His prize, to make the weather rhyme

The Month that was:

Cold, cold, cold so says the mercury, with record lows for June
Though no sunshine was to be had, we will surely welcome you back soon
Below average also; were the wind and the snow
But still 5 blizzards; so did we get, our share of blows

The warmest day of the month reaching −2.8°C, was really not so high
On record as equal 4th coolest temperature, −32.8°C, it was freezing cold, I cannot lie
Though one better, the maximum temperature of −27.0°C on the 8th of June
Was the lowest maximum for a June day and 7th overall, in Met, that made us swoon

With average daily maximum temperatures at −14.6°C, 4.2°C below the norm
It was the 3rd lowest June and 5th lowest annual temps on record, making it far from warm
Cold were the average daily minimums at −23.8°C, 5.5°C cooler than the mean
The monthly low a new annual record, the outdoors only for the keen

The daily wind run of 597km, 42km’s below the average, is anything but abnormal
Close to norm, 5 Blizzard, 12 strong and 11 gale force wind days, hardly phenomenal
Exciting on the 16th, the maximum wind gust of 204kph, brought a smile to our dial
Alas a little short of the June record of (217 kph), though we’ll keep it on the climate file

Just as we received a few blows, so we had some snow
In all 15.0mm, compared to the average (27.5mm), was just a little low
On 8 days, half that we would expect, the heavens opened and snow did we get
The greatest of which was 7.2mm, for on the 20th it was certainly wet

The final thing is that which what we could not expect a lot, and got
So it was no sunshine hours to be had, the average of 0.1 it was not
So as we come to the end, I promise I’ve told no lie
From Casey Met, we say goodbye