Science never sleeps at Casey!

Science never sleeps, it merely slumbers…

Thanks to the fearless efforts of a small, but dedicated, band of apprentice-scientists drawn from the ranks of the 68th ANARE the wheels of science are still turning here at Casey station. Anxious to prove that we're not just about growing huge and entertaining beards at government expense, a number of our group have been taking it in turns to collect water samples from the FOCE dive site which currently lies beneath sea ice in O’Brien’s bay. The wheels turn pretty slowly, at times, but nonetheless they're in motion thanks to resident sparkie, environment officer and chief sampling coordinator Benny. Thanks to his unbridled enthusiasm some of us have donned the responsibility, as well as the borrowed white coats, of our temporarily absent friends while they're doing their stuff a little further north.

Samples are collected through a hole drilled in the ice and returned to the lab where they’re treated, logged and stored pending the arrival of people who actually know what they’re doing with all this stuff. In the meantime it’s pleasing to know that the raw materials of our future knowledge are being stored-up for future decoding. 

The trip out is well worth the effort and part of our reward is knowing we're supporting the program our summer colleagues started when the sun was high in the sky and the winds didn’t blow quite so hard.

Our trips occasionally come with the added reward of the inevitable sprinkling of humour. “Step up Uncle Rob. Or should I say step in Uncle Rob?” — he proved he doesn’t always need a ute to become bogged. He can become stuck using just his own two feet. “Honestly station leader, it was a really, really small hole, only just big enough to dip your toe in and it was the only open water between us and the horizon.” Evidence, if indeed it were required, that not all dipsticks are difficult to locate in the hole.

Cigar box blues

Having passed through the Rubicon that is midwinter, and finding ourselves perched on the crest of the downhill run to the end of our winter and beyond, it has been noted that one or two of the residents of Casey have been thinking about what they're going to do for a living when the outside world becomes a reality once more.

Made in the ‘Hobby Hut’ and ready for income-generating action in the high street, was a rather marvellous cigar-box guitar that is sure to be an investment for the future when the snow that surrounds us now is but a distant memory. Dating back as far as the American civil war these homemade instruments represented affordable access to musical expression for people living with a slightly less predictable form of isolation and hardship than we expect to live with these days — even in the Antarctic!