Another busy week at Casey! An impressive new addition to the team, busy trades and we meet long serving Casey comms operator, Narelle!

Station Update

In fear of repeating ourselves… another busy week had by all at Casey.

The station has successfully completed two more sessions of survival training, a field travel training session, support to a C-17A flight which, to much excitement, bought our terra bus to the great white continent (see Jason’s article below), and has just finished a huge effort supporting the 'Name our Icebreaker’ prize flight. (Photos to be put up next week, and as seen on the Today Show yesterday).

The JKB Basler has arrived at the ski way, entering the Australian Antarctic Program, after a long hop south from Canada. They'll soon hop across to Davis to work with the team there for a month before returning to us in later December to work on the ICECAP II project.

Our infrastructure and mechanical team have continued to kick goals, with building in the east wing of the red shed (living quarters) proceeding apace. We're hopeful the first people may be able to take residence by early December.  We've also had the plumbers engaged in some unpleasant sewage treatment work in the red shed — for which we give them a huge public word of thanks!

With all that work, we've also had some time for some recreation…taking last opportunities before closure of the ‘sea-ice season’ to get out and experience the amazing ice landscape (and visit the penguins). A group of expos ventured from the Casey wharf to Shirley Island and back to see the station and Reeves Hill from a different perspective on Saturday. They were lucky enough to have some penguins to guide them and a couple Weddell seals to chat with on the way.  

The Casey ski loop inductions also commenced on Saturday, with many taking advantage of the nice weather to try out the cross country skis(some for the first time, which may have resulted in some aching muscles the next day).   

Next week…no flights for a change…what will be do with ourselves? 

Rebecca (station leader). 

Our terra bus arrives

Finally the much anticipated terra bus has arrived on a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A flight from the mainland, arriving at Wilkins Aerodrome on Thursday, 16 November.

The bus is one of only 24 in the world, and one of two modified to withstand Antarctic conditions; the other being ‘Ivan the Terra Bus’ at the USA Antarctic base, McMurdo. There are also 22 buses in the Columbia Ice Field and Jasper National Park, both in Canada. The previous bus, Priscilla (god bless her soul) will be decommissioned (to most people’s delight) and returned to Australia during the December 2018 resupply.

The terra bus, weighing in at 22 tonnes, stretching 11 metres long, 4 metres high, and 3.7 metres wide, was a challenge to transport for the Division, as well as the RAAF, as such a load had never been moved via air to Antarctica. Specialised tie down lugs were engineered and fitted to the $1.3 million monster. The C-17A flight, which would usually be full of cargo and general station supplies, was all but reserved for the bus, six large 66’ × 44’ R25 tyres and some specialised tooling.

The bus is powered by a 260 HP Cummins QSB 6.7L in conjunction with a 3000 series Allison transmission, which is a larger set up of what is used in the Hägglunds (a smaller over snow vehicle), allowing for new parts to be interchanged between machines. The 36 big comfy seats and large heating system are just some of the creature comforts which will allow expeditioners to arrive on station fresh and ready to start work immediately.

The bus has been a three year project for the Division. Antarctica is home to other Foremost equipment, with the Foremost Pioneer at Mawson station and Noddy (another Foremost machine) at Casey, which are both over snow vehicles. A Foremost product representative will arrive this week from Canada and he, along with the team of Casey Diesos, will assist with the commissioning of the terra bus.

By Jason Cagnola

5 mins with the 71st ANARE crew: Narelle Rawnsley

Name: Narelle Rawnsley

Nicknames: Nazz

From: Adelaide

Previous seasons? Yes — worked at Casey over Summer 6 times since 2007 — back for a 7th trip this Summer.

Job title: Communications Operator

Describe your role in two sentences: Safety net for anyone flying, walking, skiing, driving, working, boating in the wilds of Antarctica.  Best job in the world.

What did you do before your joined the AAD? I was an officer in the fire service — run my own company for the last 10 years providing leadership and intelligence training for fire fighters/incident manager as well as research analysis and investigation on major fires (ie 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission)

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey? The stunning views from our office window — icebergs and Newcomb Bay.

If you were not a Comms Operators what would be your dream job? Even though working at casey is my dream job -  I would like to be a tea merchant, travelling the world to sample and buy tea. Alternatively I would be an audio engineer.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south? Each Summer is different due to the people and varying operations.  This one has been good so far!

What do you like to do in your spare time? Horse riding, travelling, reading, spending time with friends.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far? ‘Summer’ (from the Four Seasons)– By Antonio Vivalidi.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey? Sandra Bullock — sense of humour and tries to make sure her hair always looks good.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? Mini Spikes (for my boots) — saved me from many slips and spills on the ice.

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?  Into Thin Air — Jon Krakauer.  (Also a B grade movie available on DVD for around $4.99).  Poses many questions about leadership and team failures in harsh and remote environments.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite?I like some good 80’s and Australian rock in the morning to get me through the dishes,  and then a mix of chill out tunes, opera and jazz in the afternoon — especially on a Sunday.

Describe your Casey experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.
Sight — Edge of the continent as we fly across

Sound — Listening to the distant waves crashing onto the ice cliffs  — while sitting at the wharf

Feeling — that no one may have stepped on the same piece of ground/snow ever before

Taste — the watery puff as you stick out your tongue to taste a snowflake

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?

'The trouble is, you think you have time'. Buddha.