This week marks the end of winter for us here at Casey, the sun starts to return and we get back to almost normal amounts of daylight and darkness. Although it will still be a couple of months before the real end of winter and we get to see the new fresh faces of the incoming summer crew.
We celebrated with one of Donna’s fantastic formal Saturday night dinners and by opening a time capsule that was found during renovations in the red shed. It was put together by expeditioners in the 42nd ANARE, 1989.
In the capsule was a letter from the station leader outlining their achievements for the year, including being the first crew to occupy the red shed where all us current expeditioners now live, and some of their hopes for the future of Antarctica. He also said to give a special greeting to the station on the Moon! Maybe in in another 27 years? Also included was some old Casey newsletters, a cassette tape with some of their favourite music, some bottles of well aged alcohol, a Husky tooth found at Wilkes (the station near Casey abandoned in 1969), some old magazines, and other random items such as a pair of socks and a packet of surprise peas!
On Sunday our doctor Rachel and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and walk to Wilkes, a round trip of about 16 kilometres. On arriving at Wilkes we found the door of the Wilkes Hilton buried in snow, so we found a nice rock to sit on and ate some frozen sandwiches, followed by a quick walk around the old station. Unfortunately my camera didn’t enjoy the −26°C temperatures so much and refused to work. But Rachel’s trusty iPhone managed to get a couple of selfies, one with my neck gator completely frozen into my beard.
Another sign that winter is drawing to a close: the four Wilkins crew, which includes myself, will stop being permanent residents of Casey station and head “back up the hill” to Wilkins Aerodrome to start preparing the runway for the upcoming season here at Casey.
See you all in a couple of months.