Australia Day at an Australian Antarctic research station is one of the most anticipated days of the season. Casey this year was no different. With a small group of passionate people to help organise the day so that all the activities ran smoothly, our morning kicked off with our summer station photo. The phrase “like herding cats” gets thrown around when you are trying to assemble everybody on station to stand still in one place… at the same time. We nearly achieved perfection this year with only a few people not present. The end result is an amazing picture taken by Stu, one of the expeditioners that have truly made Casey their home this summer.
Next item on the agenda was the traditional Australia Day swim. We call it a swim but it’s mostly a splash and dash of adrenaline fuelled excitement and it tends to be over in the blink of an eye. But none the less all the brave souls willing to participate had passed a pre–swim medical check and were eager and ready to go.
The water temperature was a pleasant 0°C and the air temperature not too much higher, but with no wind and a perfect blue sky day we couldn’t have asked for better conditions to go for an icy Antarctic dip. Some Adélie penguins briefly came over to check out what all the fuss was about but soon retreated to the safety of a nearby ice floe.
After the feeling returned to our extremities, and still buzzing from the icy dip, it was time for a delicious Aussie Day brunch prepared by our amazing chefs. The mood in the mess was jubilant and with the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown streaming live around station the day was taking shape.
It’s not Australia Day without some sport being played in the afternoon and after a warm up of Frisbee and footy kicking, a cricket game erupted. The Aussies vs The Internationals.
Backyard cricket rules — loosely adhered too by the umpire (who did an awesome job I might add!). The Internationals won the toss and chose to bat first. Their team consisted of Canadians, Scots, English, Kiwis and people who seemed confused as to where they were born…
After a few quick tips on the finer points of cricket were handed out to some of the players, like how to hold the bat, it was game on. The Internationals did quite well given the relentless pace of the Aussie bowling attack and that most of them had never seen a cricket match before. All out for somewhere around 100.
Team Australia were up to bat next after the drinks break. All I will say is that one ball ended up on top of the Red Shed and the display of batting was something Bradman would've been proud of. The Internationals didn’t quite come to grips with once you have a bat you need to field to complete the game. So as a result many boundaries were struck with the field having more holes in it than a colander.
A special treat was organised in the mid afternoon with a Qantas flight flying low overhead. Quite the site to see a Boeing 747–400 flying over the icebergs.
What many are calling the highlight of the day was the premiere screening of Luke’s short film about why you should never pick a snowball fight with someone nicknamed “Blackfish”. Some critics are calling the 17 and a half minute film a ‘masterpiece of cinematography’ and ‘Oscar worthy'. Hopefully when a fast internet connection becomes available it will make its way to YouTube for all to see. Five stars!
Last of the formalities was the Australia Day BBQ dinner which featured a beautifully cooked roast lamb on the spit. The night then kicked on till the wee hours for the die–hards but quite a few retired early after such a big day.
A big thank you to everyone at Casey and Head Office for making this an Australia Day that will not be soon forgotten.
Ferret – Plumber