As the countdown hits under 75 days to go until most of us depart this beautiful place, we persist with our fairly benign lives on station. Except that…nothing around here is actually benign! We still pinch ourselves to confirm we’re really here as we step out the door each morning and look out across Newcomb Bay to the icebergs in the distance. The view never gets boring, and many of us are taking the time to have it firmly etched into our memory so when we return to the streetscapes of home we can easily recall the incredible Antarctic landscape.
We’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather this past couple of weeks; perhaps being lulled into a false sense of security. So, the team is getting out at every opportunity to relish the beautiful clear blue skies, calm days, and lengthening hours of sunlight (even if that brings with it the cold temperatures).
With these cold temperatures and calm winds we see the sea-ice firming and thickening before our eyes. This allows us to travel further and in more comfort out onto the ice. Teams have been making their way quickly south to the Browning Peninsula for weekend hut visits, taking in the spectacular views as they cross along the base of the Peterson Glacier and look across Eyres Bay to the Vanderford Glacier. (See the photos from the weekend’s visit with Greg’s interview below.)
Blue skies during the day, mean clear skies at night… which makes for perfect aurora viewing conditions. And for once the usual Casey positioning of the aurora on the distant horizon was adjusted to an aurora wafting and ghosting directly above the station. Time to put our photography classes with Dom and Will to good use; and before we knew it a photographic possie was heading out to get away from the lights and try to get the perfect Aurora shot. From the evidence below, I think we did pretty well. The very keen photographers have also been out trying to get the money shot of the ice lakes on the Mitchell Peninsula. Again, I think they did pretty well.
Over the weekend, the races came to Casey. We partook of the Flemington and Toowoomba Races (from a distance) with sweeps, a few having a flutter with remarkably constrained betting, a fabulous lunch buffet from Dom, and some quite respectable fashions in the field that would not be out of place at Oaks Day during the spring racing carnival. All in all, very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Next week the Wilkins team leave us as they head back up the hill to start building the Wilkins Aerodrome over the next two months in preparation for the program of flights for the Australian Antarctic Program’s summer season 18/19. The station will seem a whole lot quieter with four less people here.
We wish them well… as our return home is quite dependent on their success.
Rebecca (Casey SL)