Two months to go for most of the team as of today. The countdown has begun and with it the end of season activities and planning. Stocktake is the word of the week with everyone around station counting their supplies; mattresses, doonas, hydroponics equipment, hobby hut tools, VIP gifts, maps, sewing supplies, fuel spill kits… oh and food… to name just a few. The lists seem never ending. Despite being a brain numbing job, it’s a key job; ensuring the stores required to keep the next team going through winter 2019 are ordered, received, consigned, and packed in time to make the Aurora Australis’ voyage to Casey in December. So we keep on counting with all ten fingers and toes and Shane’s abacus out and in use.
The first round of our inter station darts with Macca was a bit of a failure on Friday night, but we’re in training and very confident that we will have a better showing against Davis (historically Casey’s arch nemesis). Despite our sad loss, it was a great evening and lovely to have some friendly inter station banter, across the hundreds of kilometres, over the hour or so that it took for us to be soundly beaten.
Saturday night saw all of the team sitting down to a delicious formal dinner; pork belly with corn puree, eye fillet with cauliflower, asparagus and confit garlic, and then a delicious lemon tart with raspberries and gin and tonic sorbet. Just delicious. We count ourselves very lucky to have Dom as our chef this winter; will look back on our family formal dinners and the great food we’ve been lucky enough to eat with nostalgia, and with a grumbling stomach.
Dinner was held after watching the second Bledisloe Cup match. Once again Allan, our most vocal All Blacks supporter (as you will see from his interview below), was very happy with the results and, luckily for him, he’s learnt when to stop with the banter. (He was quite close to being put outside to contemplate his win with the icebergs.) But he was inside and warm to join us for dinner… even if wearing an All Blacks t-shirt at the dinner table!
The expected windy weather of Sunday did not eventuate and the day was too lovely to stay inside watching television, so a hardy group of expeditioners decided to go for a Sunday stroll.
Now, a Sunday stroll in Antarctica is not quite like a Sunday stroll back home, it was −27C and we were walking on the sea-ice outside station limits; so sea-ice drill kit, LOTS of cold weather gear, radios, and our survival packs were all required. Some decided to drag their gear behind them on sleds, while others shouldered their packs, it made for an interesting group heading out onto the sea-ice from the Casey wharf, around Newcomb Bay, to Shirley Island channel and then back again. We measured the sea-ice thickness as we went. (All over 70cm, so more than safe for travel.) It was smooth and easy going and, despite some cold fingers when trying to take photographs, a great way to spend a Sunday arvo (as the photos will attest).
But, thoughts of walks in the fresh air are not getting stocktakes completed… back to it; I think I have some stationary to count.
Rebecca (Casey SL)