This week at Casey the sun is returning and expeditioners are emerging from hibernation to get out and about; and we meet Misty our tractor loving, quad bike riding Aerodrome Manager.

Station Update

This week, our wishes were fulfilled. The weather has suddenly turned and everyone is so excited to see sun and blue skies that they are breaking from hibernation and adventuring out all over the place.

Some have been lucky enough to have to go out during the week to do hut checks, ensuring all the survival equipment in all the field huts is in place and in working order. It brings back to us the importance of the field huts, not just a place to get away for a mini-break on a weekend, but an important safety tool to enable those caught out in wild weather to find shelter and remain in place until conditions allow a safe return to station. Jack’s, Wilkes Hilton, Kenny and Robbos have now been checked and are good to go. Now to take the longer excursion to Browning, a three hour drive in a Hägglunds over a very bumpy route (the sastrugi* is huge at the moment after all the recent wind). Maybe once the Weddell seal pups return to their haul out near Herring Island there’ll be additional reason to venture out that way.

Others have been braving the bright light on their pale skin by walking across O’Briens Bay (see George’s story below), taking a trip down to Browning over the sea-ice, or even just adventuring down to the wharf or out to Reeves Hill. Fresh air, exercise, and vitamin D… no wonder everyone’s sleeping a little better this week.

We also were lucky enough to have a formal dinner on Saturday night, with most of the outdoor adventurers so keen to try Dom’s beef fillet, or was it the call of the tiramisu, that they managed to get back from their excursions for dinner.  This was promptly followed by an extremely funny trivia night. Catz and Jane were our extraordinarily patient quiz hosts. The night can be summarised by a pretty low standard of trivia-ic knowledge but much hilarity. The winning team was only boosted to the dizzy heights of numero uno due to 2 Dogs’ extraordinary musical knowledge… or more likely because he has exactly the same musical taste as Jane, who prepared that round.

The end of the week has been taken over by planning for the filming of the Casey entry into the Antarctic Winter Film Festival, 48hr challenge.  We’re waiting with trepidation for the five items that must be included in the film (a sound, an object, an action, a famous quote, and an Antarctic role) and then frantic filming and editing will ensue over the weekend with no one on station able to escape conscription into the movie. 48hrs after the five items are provided, the film must be uploaded…

Lights, Camera, Action!

Rebecca (Casey SL) 

Mitchell Day Trip

The weather has been quite pointed recently, blizzards and gales neatly coinciding with weekends for the last month, and confining us for the most part to station.

However the short days and gloomy skies of winter are in full abeyance this week.

Dazed expeditioners stumble briefly around in the unfamiliar bright sunlight before seeking the comfortable enclosing shade of the indoors and resuming our accustomed state of semi-hibernation.

Seizing the window of fine weather on Sunday a group of us temporarily held cabin-fever at bay with a day trip across to the Mitchell Peninsular, a few kilometres west of station.

To make the trip more interesting our trip leader Jason arranged a transport swap half way: two of us rode quad bikes out overland, while two walked across O’Brien Bay on the sea ice. Changeover was near Kenny’s hut.

The wind forms the snow into hard irregular ridges called sastrugi that make vehicular travel something of a penance after strong wind; so the ride out can only be described as mercifully brief, but the conditions were excellent for walking.

A key objective for Dom and I was a small frozen lake on the tip of the Mitchell whose entrapped bubbles we were keen to explore the photographic possibilities of, although none of my results quite do justice to the subject.

Sadly our trip was wildlife-free, but otherwise the day did not disappoint.


5 min with the 71st ANARE crew: Misty McCain

Name: Misty McCain

From: Western Australia

Previous seasons? Five

Job title: Wilkins Aerodrome Manager

Describe your role in two sentences:  Keeping the Wilkins boys out of trouble during winter.  Putting together a small station and large runway for summer operations.

What did you do before your joined the AAD 8 years in the beef cattle industry here and overseas, 7 years in resources.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey?  The people.

If you were not an Aerodrome Manager what would be your dream job Station Leader, Voyage Leader, Wife (Tractor Driver).

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?  So much different to last year, I was really work focused and I forgot where I was. This winter has been about rediscovering the joys of being in Antarctica and exploring off station.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Quad biking, reading, exercising.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?  ‘Tripping Billies’, Dave Matthews Band.  Not sure what the song is about but there is a line ‘Eat, drink and be merry’, definitely Casey this year.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? The Mont down jacket. 

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite Usually I play country but I have chosen to avoid the controversy this year and kept the playlists to more moderate tunes; also I can’t play Chicken Fried without missing all my buddies from last year!

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

Sight:  Paint in my hair for the past few months

Smell:  2 Dogs carpet glue

Sound:  Construction noises — banging, sawing, drilling, singing and lots of heckling haha!

Feeling:  The big hug given to you by the wind at 75 knots

Taste: Dom’s homemade peanut butter in an ice cream sundae with nutella, choc ripples, crushed snickers, crunchie and milo, yummo!

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?  ‘Go the Maroons!’ Jane Leggate.  Funniest thing I heard all year.