The station recovers from a visit from the school kids on the ‘Name our Icebreaker’ flight, the Terra bus makes it down to Casey, ‘Kenny’ gets a face lift and we meet sparkie, Ben.

Station Update

12 kids, 4 teachers and a big red bus…no we're not in an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine or Bob the Builder, it’s life at Casey this week.

We have now taken the week to recover from the excited onslaught of the kids’ visit to Wilkins and the paparazzi that came with them. We thought we’d share some great photos of the trip from Dom (our chef AKA station photographer AKA stand in penguin).

The Terra bus has made its way down the hill from Wilkins to Casey and is now undergoing testing and trials before the inaugural transfer of passengers.It’s looking so good we may be able to undertake a commissioning run next week for Flight FA060.

The ‘melt’ has well and truly commenced with more dirt patches appearing around station each day, the sea ice is retreating, and the penguins (of Shirley Island) are busy sitting on eggs, fending off skuas, and waddling through smelly mud to get back to the rookeries after feeding.

The summer routine at Casey has been established with our tradies busily beavering away, field training is ongoing, and weekend excursions to the field huts are taken whenever possible. We're praying to the weather gods for favourable conditions for our SIX flights scheduled for next week and then the arrival of a big orange ship in harbour in just over three weeks time bring highly anticipated supplies (and Christmas presents!).

Rebecca (station leader).

Resuscitating Kenny

To the south of Casey station on an exposed and windswept hill sits a small, spherical fibreglass emergency shelter affectionately named ‘Kenny'.

Located out in the middle of the Mitchell Peninsula, Kenny has fabulous views of the ocean to the west and of the icecap to the east.

Kenny is fully stocked with emergency food and supplies and sleeps four at a squeeze.

Despite his excellent facilities and prime weekend ‘jolly’ location, he is seldom visited and often bypassed for the more salubrious Robbo’s Hut a further hour Hägglunds drive to the south.

After many years of blizzards and the intense Antarctic UV, Kenny’s facial features were starting to look like someone really had ‘killed Kenny'.

A plan was hatched by a winter expeditioner and long–time fan of Kenny to give him a much needed face lift.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, a team of six enthusiastic expeditioners filled up the back of the green Hägglunds with a mountain of gear including: scaffolding, painting gear, tents, food, cooking gear and the all important site radio.

Once the team arrived at Kenny, there was a buzz of activity. Tents were set up, stoves were roaring boiling water for tea and scaffold was assembled in record time. With tunes cranking, painting commenced and within an hour or so Kenny was starting to show signs of life!

By 6pm the face lift was complete. The scaffold was disassembled and converted into a large dining table for the team. Stoves were restarted to warm up a well deserved meal, expertly prepared and cryovaced the day before by the chef’s back at station.

Kenny now commands his hill with renewed vigour competing with Robbo’s Hut for visitors and boasting a more spartan Antarctic hut experience for the adventurous expeditioner.

By Chris Fitzgerald.

5 mins with the 71st ANARE crew: Ben Catchlove

Name: Benjamin Catchlove.

Nicknames: Ben.

From: Melbourne/Mornington Peninsula.

Previous seasons? None.

Job title: Electrician.

Describe your role in two sentences: Building and site services maintenance. Installing new, and maintaining and improving existing systems around the station.

What did you do before your joined the AAD? Working on private yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean for the last 10 years.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey? Wide variety of jobs to undertake and learning something new each day. It is interesting to see how the systems have been adapted to suit the extreme conditions.

If you were not an electrician what would be your dream job? I enjoy electrical work and problem solving. I would like to expand further into automation and programming control systems.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south? N/A.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Gym and keeping fit. Whilst at Casey, playing guitar and trying to learn a few songs on the keyboard.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far? ‘We’ve only just begun’ by Carpenters.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? Bivvy bag.

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why? Pulp Fiction, there’s not really any other film quite like it.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite? Mixtures of genres. I try to mix it up in an attempt to have something for everyone.

Describe your Casey experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

  • Sight of icebergs on the horizon.
  • The not–so–pleasant smell of penguin colonies.
  • The sound of the power house generators chugging away.
  • The feeling of being at a place that few have had the privilege to experience.
  • Taste of the home brew beer at the bar.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?
It’s a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations — Winston Churchill.