After a great 12 month season over 2016/17 at Casey the wintering team finalised their preparations for the new expeditioners arriving for the 2017/18 season. The Wilkins aerodrome crew put the finishing touches on the ice runway up and back on station the outgoing wintering team spring cleaned the living and work areas in readiness for the new arrivals.
The first flight of the season landed at the Wilkins runway on Thursday (after a 24 hour weather delay) bringing in a fresh set of excited faces. For some it was a completely new experience and for others it was like returning home. It was a beautiful sunny day and a brisk −27° degrees. After disembarking from the plane and taking in the scenery and few photos, the new expeditioners bundled into the waiting Häggs and Priscilla to be taken to their new home. On station they were greeted warmly by the outgoing station leader Jacque Comery and her team.
With only a couple of days to handover it was straight to work to get trained up on how to run the station. The outgoing wintering team had put a lot of preparation into their handovers, allowing the new team to hit the ground running and with confidence. They were extremely welcoming and very willing to pass on their collective knowledge of the station operations.
With workplace handovers complete it was time to give the keys to the station to incoming station leader Rebecca Jeffcoat and her team. Following Antarctic tradition this event was a formal affair; a chance to throw of the work clothes and dress up for the occasion.
The schedule of events included the hanging of the 70th ANARE plaque by Scottish (who dressed very elegantly for the evening) and wintering team’s photo by Ashleigh (who may have required some assistance to reach the hook) and then the outgoing wintering team received their Antarctic medallions; Jacque sharing a few anecdotes about each expeditioner with each presentation. This was at times an emotional experience; with no doubt many of the newcomers thinking forward to when it would be their turn next year. With the formal ceremonies over it was time to kick back with a drink, catch up with old mates and make new friends.
It was then time (after another weather delay) to say goodbye to the outgoing team. With great memories from the year they head home, no doubt looking forward to seeing their friends and loved ones after such a long time absent. We wish them all a fond farewell and promise we will keep their station in the good condition in which we received it.
The incoming team are now settling in, getting familiar with their surroundings and looking forward to what the next few weeks, or year, will bring. Now… where are those penguins…
Lorrienne Lyte, Deputy Station Leader/BSS (Projects)