This week at Casey the team ‘rescue’ two of their own in an exercise, we meet BoM observer Bad Weather Ash, Misty shares photos of her favourite machines, and Steve (aka Muscles) introduces us to the Casey pool balls…

Station update

This week at Casey we hit some new records for winter so far. Tuesday saw our coldest temp so far at −28°C, and a blizzard which started to blow at around 0600 on Thursday peak with repeated wind gusts at 103 knots  (190km/h) on Thursday! The red shed is making a whole lot of previously unheard sounds. The wintery weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the crew here though, proven by a spontaneous whole station Hawaiian shirt night last Saturday.

On Wednesday this week, we ran our winter search and rescue LAST (locate, access, secure, transport) training exercise. This whole day event saw Sealy and Ash spend the night at Wilkes, only to call in the next morning with a call for help, that was played so dramatically by Ashleigh, that it was spine chilling. The station leaped into action with a response that was mounted over the next six hours to successfully retrieve our two very well acted ‘injured’ team mates.

Jacque Comery Station Leader 

5 minutes with the Casey 70th ANARE crew: Ash Wilson

Name: Ashley, Ashlee, Ashleigh Wilson

Nicknames: Bad Weather Ash

From: Bellingen, NSW

Previous seasons: Mawson 1995 and 1998; Macca 2000 and 2011; Davis 2009

Job title: Weather Observer

Describe your role in two sentences: 

I keep life at Casey interesting by unleashing Antarctica’s furious weather every time I venture to the meteorology office. This ensures the weather is glorious for every off station trip I grace with my presence.

What did you do before your joined the AAD:

I joined the Bureau of Meteorology as a young lass in the 80’s and spent nearly 30 years working for them before retiring a few years ago.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey:

Working with Linc has been the highlight of all my Antarctic experiences!

If you were not a weather observer what would be your dream job?

Runway model or folk singer.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?

The best yet! Have I mentioned Linc?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Managing hydroponics, dancing, helping out in the kitchen, dancing, wine connoisseur, dancing and dancing.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

Anything I can dance to! But ‘You’re Simply The Best’ works too!

What actor would play you in a film version of our 70th ANARE season here at Casey? 

It would be tough to find someone who can encompass my stunning brilliance, beauty and stature! Possibly Elle Macpherson, if she was better looking and could dance!

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

It’s more about the people than the place, so any hut as long as it’s with good people and better wine.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

I have a real fetish for beanies!

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?

Favourite book: Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, Favourite movie: Mrs Miniver — a 16mm classic starring Greer Garson.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite?

Anything I can dance to but Linc’s ‘Ultimate Slushy Playlist’ is totally awesome!

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

Sight: The snow blowing past the Red Shed windows at 100 miles an hour.

Smell: The green aromas of my beloved hydroponics.

Sound: The roar of the blizzard.

Taste: Wine, wine, glorious wine.

(ghost written by Linc Mainsbridge)

My Casey in pictures: Misty McCain

My favourite things to take photos of down here are machines, sky and rocks! Luckily I cannot find my rock pictures haha.

I have included the Tag Board pic because it is one of my favourite photos of our wintering aviation team. Every year I look forward to following the artistic developments on the portrait pages and I’m loving the beard I was given. Definitely the best one yet!


Between the bergs with Steve Middleton. #1

Muscles’ guide to Casey pool

Week 1: Ball and pocket names.

In this segment of station news we are going to learn about what it means to play pool on an Antarctic station. Week one will cover ball and pocket names, and in week two we will go over tactics.

Playing pool is no mean feat down here, for one, all of the pockets have names, and the names are either well thought out by us or hard earned by the pocket.

There is the ‘Kiwi drain’ named after Steve ‘Kiwi’ Edwards who was an expeditioner who was here for the winter prior to my season, it’s said that a ball will get right to the edge of this hole then reverse direction and stop just back from the edge. I’m sure there is a hilarious story accompanying this name but I can’t remember how it goes, my group has stuck with this name in honour of the story — even though we can’t remember it.

Moving around the table the next pocket we come to is Newcomb Bay. This pocket got its name for being the closest pocket to…wait for it…Newcomb bay… and also for the fact that way back when Wilkes station was going they used to pile up their waste and push it into Newcomb Bay.

Next is the FOCE hole, named after a science program called ‘FOCE’ which is a study of marine life on the Antarctic sea floor where teams drill large holes through sea ice and send down ROV’s to study corals and sea creatures that (somehow) live down there.

Next up is ‘the pit of Carkoon’ which got its name in a similar manner to the kiwi drain and is interestingly on the diagonally opposite end of the table. Players claim that there is a force–field around this hole that prevents balls going in and sometimes even repels them. Of course the pit of Carkoon is from Star Wars, it is also known as ‘the sarlac pit’ into which Jabba the Hut attempted to throw Luke Skywalker, Hahn Solo, and princess Leia, so the name was a real no brainer for the naming team down here.

The next hole we come to on our tour of the table is ‘The Gap’ which is known for its loosely hanging net (the net the balls fall into), this net has quite a noticeable ‘gap’ in one side where it appears it may be missing a staple or some other means to fasten it to the table… and finally we come to rest at ‘holey moley’ — the pocket that never worked hard for anything, and therefore it was up to us as the naming team to come up with something, and that’s the best we had.

Right so we've got the pockets sorted and now we can do what we came here to do and play some pool, right? Wrong! We will need to know what the balls are called before we can go getting carried away hitting them around the table, so let’s get started. We will start with the 'smalls' or 'solids' first and I will do it in dot form to make it easy.

Green ball — Sweet Pea. Named after a manikin who lives at Casey named sweet pea, and also because the ball looks somewhat like a pea.

Blue ball — Blueberry, because it resembles a giant blueberry

Yellow ball — Lemon ball, its yellow and round like a lemon

Red ball — Cherry because it looks like a cherry (pretty creative so far hey…)

Maroon ball — Ron Burgundy, or Ron for short, because it is burgundy in colour and Ron Burgundy is the legend of the Channel 5 news team

Orange ball — Kenny, ‘cos it looks like Kenny from South Park

Purple ball — Grimace, because its round and purple like grimace from McDonalds

Black ball — Blackfish or ‘the fish’ for short, named after a sorely missed summer sparkie of the same name

OK so that’s got the smalls out of the way, now let’s ‘hit’ the bigs (ha-ha-ha)

Big yellow — Big Bird

Big green — Big Brassik, named after brassica which is stuff like broccoli and brussel sprouts etc.

Big orange — Michelangelo, named after the orange ninja turtle

Big red — Rafael, red ninja turtle

Big blue — Leonardo, blue ninja turtle

Big purple — Donatello, named after the purple ninja turtle

Big maroon — Boney Maroony, a name given to this ball by Jacob ‘Cob’ Taylor, one of the winterers we took over from and the man who we consider the godfather of ball and pocket naming.

OK well that about wraps it up for week one, I hope you've all enjoyed the read so far, and make sure to stay tuned next week to find out about tactics on the table… and let me assure you, you do not want to miss it.