Wilkins runway is cleared back to blue ice and a trip to the huts wasn’t all about work.

News from up Wilkins

After the festivities of Steve’s birthday last week, the Wilkins gentlemen had a different reason to celebrate this week with the runway completely cleared back to blue ice. We still have proof rolling, surveying and marking to complete but finishing the clearing is a great milestone for the team.

Off the runway works around Wilkins continue with Marto finding the datum points for surveying the runway and Pete repairing the glazing in the mess — very multi skilled are we!

Browning’s trip

During the last couple of weeks the weather has been a little more inviting to get out and about. So the opportunity was taken to get some maintenance done on the GPS routes to the huts.

One group of intrepid travellers headed off to Robbo’s Hut with the other group heading to Browning’s Hut, which is next to the Vanderfort Glacier. The Browning GPS route is roughly 60 kilometres from Casey station.

The Friday that we left, the weather was superb. The sun was shining, grass waving in the breeze and the birds were chirping!

Canes are placed along the route to give a marker to follow in good and bad weather conditions. They really make travel across the great white never never a lot easier and safer. A hole (1 metre deep) is drilled into the snow/ice with a sea ice drill bit and battery drill, the cane (4 metre length of bamboo) is placed in the hole. The more batteries you have the better, as the cold can drain them quickly.

We also knocked over another little job at the hut, wiring the light in the toilet, which now makes the call of nature at night an absolute dream!

It wasn’t all business on our trip to Browning’s though. We had the pleasure of viewing a spectacular sunset over the Vanderfort Glacier. We didn’t see any elephant seals but we had a great hike over to Peterson Island. We hiked over to the monument left by the Americans back in 1948 after operation ‘High Jump', which surveyed a large section of the Wilkes land coast. Some theories state they were down here looking for a German Army base after the war.

It was another successful outing to the field huts with a few jobs ticked off the list, plenty of laughs and getting to see a slice of Antarctic history.