The Queen’s Birthday long weekend this week saw the Casey team enjoying a well–earned public holiday day off. There were no shortage of takers for getting off station and out into the field huts in the Casey operating area.
Eight expeditioners came and went from Wilkes over the three days, with the woodfired pizza oven getting a workout as usual. Mat, Zac, James and Ducky headed around to Robbos for the night, however by all accounts their stay wasn’t quite as warm and toasty as the guys enjoying the Wilkes fireplace! Those of us remaining on station for a very quiet Saturday night were treated to a delicious meal, and the serenity afforded by sharing a space designed for over 85 people with just the 13 of us.
Midwinter’s preparations have kicked up a gear and gift making is in full swing with expeditioners scurrying off to all corners of station at all hours to work on ‘secret’ projects. Andrew and Brendan have been busy working around the chilli jam makers, getting some prep locked away for next week. Doctor Elise delivered us the pre-midwinters swim briefing this week, before our plunge into the icy water in a hole in the ice next Wednesday.
A number of the 70th ANARE crew are undertaking some kind of study whilst down here on station this winter. This week was exam week. Elise sat an exam for her aeronautical retrieval studies moderated by me (Jac), and a few days later Elise in-turn moderated communications technician Stu’s TCP/IP v4v6 (?!) exam. Sparky Zac, meanwhile continues to forge through a seemingly endless pile of assignments for his mechatronics course, and I continue to procrastinate successfully on my marine engine course.
The sea ice drilling team was out and about again all week, taking full advantage of the few available hours of daylight in the middle of the day. Mat led drilling of Sparkes Bay out of Robbos over the weekend (refer to James’ story), and Mat, Rick and Jac drilled and opened up the route from Shirley Island to O'Brien’s Bay for travel last Friday afternoon.
The big rectangular monolith or ‘The Thing’ as it has been previously referred to, that some of you may have been tracking taking form on our heli pad via webcam, is almost complete and has been officially named. ‘The Blizzed Inn', our ice castle, complete with bar and lighting will be at the centre of our midwinter celebrations following much hard work by a dedicated core of inspired ice block construction specialists.
Jacque Comery, SL