A team travel over to Browning Peninsular to test the sea ice depth, we talk all things weather for May and get to know James while Sealy and Simo share some of their great photos.

Station update

Last week we celebrated National Reconciliation Week on station flying the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island flags. On Wednesday night we screened a selection of aboriginal short films in our cinema, ‘The Odeon'.

The flags were dropped just in time when a blizzard arrived promptly in the middle of smoko on Friday morning. Winds gusting out at 91 knots left us with with a collection of blizz tails all around station on Saturday morning. So the weekend kicked off with snow clearing! It was most hands on deck until smoko, checking infrastructure, digging out doorways and clearing snow in a variety of machines.

Matty and chef Andrew ventured out to drill the sea ice at O’Brien Bay after smoko, and then collected a few more people and set out to spend the night at Wilkes Hut, preparing the hut standard — wood fired pizza.

A team of helpers continued work on the mysterious white monolith growing on the heli pad outside of the red shed.

Early this week Misty, Zac, Matty and I traveled out to Browning Peninsula to measure the sea ice depth in anticipation of commencing work on the Peterson Melon Replacement Project.

While Zac and Matty drilled the sea ice along our intended access route out to the island, Misty and I drilled our way across the channel and then hiked over land to the site of the old melon hut which was destroyed in a blizzard some years ago.  Impressively, despite the winds that lash the island, the stockpile of materials of the old hut waiting to be recovered is in good condition. The island is deserted in winter but there is plenty of evidence of the extent of seal and penguin colonies that form here over summer, to be seen and smelt!

Back on station planning for our upcoming mid-winter celebrations is continuing with most expeditioners busy rehearsing entertainment, or busily crafting secret mid-winters gifts.

Jacque Comery, SL


5 minutes with the Casey 70th ANARE crew: James Cairns

Name: James Cairns

Nicknames: Jim, Jimbo, Big Jim, Broccoli head (In ref to my marvelous hair)

From: Sunshine Coast QLD

Previous seasons? No, first time down.

Job title: Aerodrome Plant Operator (Wilkins)

Describe your role in two sentences:

Good fun, rewarding and character building some days.

Push snow, then more snow and when you think your done push even more snow.

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

Mobile plant operator in civil construction and mining.

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

Id say the variety. I’m not doing the same thing day in day out like I would be in ' the real world'. One day I'll be clearing snow, the next helping trades and the next off to a random location to check on penguin cameras.

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

Id have to say race car driver. Childish dream but that’s what dreams are for right!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Chill out at splinters after work and play terrible games of pool. Weekends, going out for a quad ride or trip to a hut. Sunday movie club is always a highlight of the week.

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

John C Reilly

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

I’d say Wilkes – plenty of space to hang out, cant beat a wood fire or the wood fired pizzas.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Quad bikes, they make getting out and about a bit more fun.

What is your favourite movie and why?

To many to list, but the best one lately has been ‘Over the Top'. A review I read said it was the best 93 minutes of film ever and they were spot on!

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

No ‘typical’ genre, try to keep it random, although anything that makes the BBU hipsters complain is always good.

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

Sight: the red shed in the rocks as you come down off the Plateau.

Smell: the lack of smells when out and about.

Sound: the tranquil hum of the gen–sets at all hours.

Feeling: Of cold when you think you can do a quick job without your gloves on.

Taste: The delicious home brew.

My Casey in pictures: Sealy

This week’s photo gallery is brought to us by Sealy, our Wilkins mechanic.

The thing that keeps me coming back is not only the incredible scenery, but most of all, the people. There is nothing better than sharing a laugh or a pizza at one of the huts here in Antarctica. Sharing photos amongst the field party at the end of an overnight hut trip is a great way to share your experiences when you return home .

Casey monthly weather summary — May 2017

The month that was:


The May monthly maximum average was −9.6°C, which is 1.5°C warmer than the long term average of −11.1°C. The hottest day for the month was the 27th of May at −2.0°C.

The May monthly minimum average was −17.1°C, which is 1.4°C warmer than the long term average of −18.5°C. The coldest day for the month was 15th of May at −28.0°C.

Rainfall / Snowmelt:

The May monthly precipitation (snowmelt) total was 11.8mm, which is below the monthly average precipitation of 25.6mm. There were six precipitation days (average 10) and the highest daily total of 3.4mm was on the 26th of May.

Sunshine hours:

The total sunshine (direct sunlight where the sun is not obscured by cloud) for May was 23.6 hours. The daily average was 0.8 hours, equal to the long term average.

Wind and phenomena

The maximum wind gust for May was 191km/hr or 103 knots from the east northeast on the 18th, the monthly record is 215 km/hr from the east on the 14th of May 1990.

The average daily wind run above 3 metres (that is how far a parcel of air would have traveled in 1 day), was 595 kms. The long term monthly average is 621 kms. The total wind run for the month was 18,173 kms, the highest daily total was 2008 kms on the 19th and the lowest daily total was on the 26th with 223 kms.

May had 14 strong wind (22–33 knots) days (average 13), seven gale force (>34 knots) wind days (average eight), 15 snow days (average 15), two blizzard days (average four), zero fog day (average one), zero frost days, zero mist day and five blowing snow days.

Simo’s Photo Gallery