Last week you heard of the inundation of snow at Casey, well this week it’s finally stopped and we have for the first time, in what seems weeks, seen the night sky. And what a night sky! A bright green aurora shimmering and writhing like a snake just above the distant horizon sending up pillars of light and tempting all expeditioners out into the cold to try and capture that perfect photo. I’ve heard that aurorae at Casey aren’t as spectacular as at other stations, but they seem pretty good to me. Judge for yourself, I think George should be pretty happy with his shot.
The clearing of the night sky has bought with it other magnificent sights… the Milky Way and stars so big and bright you could almost reach out and touch them. Trying to recognise those constellations we know so well from our home skies is an interesting task, until the cold sends us scurrying back inside.
But, enough of the pontificating on the beauty of this place; what have we been up to?
Well, the Red Shed project is moving along at a swift pace. The new bar doesn’t seem too far off (plans are that it will be open for our midwinter celebrations which are only five weeks away) and we now have a floor where once there was an atrium over the wallow. The balustrade around and down the stairs has made a noisy and smelly appearance this week (thanks to welder Al who loves to make a noise, and make smells). And, although not as visible, Scotty T and Ben are making great inroads into the electrical and plumbing works.
The maintenance and mechanical teams just get on and do their never-ending list of tasks, fixin’ things and undertaking preventative maintenance.
We’ve also been turning our hands to maintaining the routes out to the field huts, making sure the cane lines are in place to safely guide us home in a blizzard (or at least every few kilometres to give us the reassurance that we’re on the right path).
We continue our training too. As the sea-ice travel season opens this week, we’ve revised our sea ice procedures to ensure all our expeditions out on the ice will be as safe as possible. We’ve also been learning new search procedures; the sound and light search technique which will help us find someone lost in the dark (quite useful as our dark hours are now so much longer than our light). Look out for next week’s news to see how our night time practice of this technique goes.
With a slight improvement of the weather we’ve had field trips out to the Wilkes Hilton and to Jack’s Donga. One to cook pizza over the fire and the other with the hopes of getting some great photos of the night sky away from the big lights of the station.
And then, in our spare time. What to do to break the monotony, when you can’t just go to the movies, out to a restaurant, watch or play a footy or hockey game? Well, someone decided we should turn to murder! See Catz’ story below.
My heart-rate is only just returning to normal now!
Rebecca (Casey Station Leader)