A quiet week at Casey, but we keep busy with traverse planning and inter-station darts, and meet Bretto our sunglasses-wearing, sawdust-coated, good humoured old-hand on station.

Station Update

A quiet week all round on station this week. All of the team just working hard and getting on with their September work lists.

We’ve had some magical spring weather, with Mother Nature lulling us into a false sense of security… then bam, a blizzard to finish off the week. Can’t have us believing that it’s all sunshine and rainbows here on the ice. Luckily the weekend field trip to Browning Peninsula had the best of the weather for their long quad bike ride on the sea-ice and back.

Planning and training for our winter traverse to Law Dome to undertake the annual Automatic Weather Station (AWS) maintenance has taken up a large amount of our time and effort. This week the traverse team has undertaken field refresher training, AWS maintenance familiarisation, medical refreshers (including suturing training), and set up the accommodation van and tested the generators. It’s such a lot of planning and preparation for a journey that is just a little over 100km. It just goes to show how tough the environment can be. Just a final overnight test on Friday night, and then they’ll be as ready to go as we can possibly make them.

Our big social event of the week was our inter-station darts match against Davis. 2 Dogs gives a gripping outline of the competition and our preparation for the big night in the report below.

When we see the intrigue and in-fighting that can occur over a darts team, it does make one concerned over what might happen with the station leadership team. Perhaps we're in for a spill.

Well, ‘til next week. Unless the vote goes against me and you’ll be hearing from the new leader of the Casey party.

Rebecca, Casey Station Leader

Inter-station Darts

Throughout the year on all of the Australian Antarctic stations, one of the most popular social activities to get involved with is a game of darts. The go-to version of the game used here is mostly a variance called Shanghai. Basic play requires you to shoot for certain numbers around the board in a hope of scoring three of these. Once three of the same number has been scored before your opponent this enables you to accumulate points for every additional score on the same number. First player that scores three of every number plus has the highest number of points wins.

During the winter months an inter-station darts competition is held between all four of the Australian Antarctic research stations. This is completed using a video conference camera setup. Our local darts (and homebrew) guru Scotty “2 Dogs” Clifford was appointed the Casey team captain, coach and selector. This is understandable since some on station like to compare his skill with the darts to that of the great man, Phil “The Power” Taylor.

With the first match booked in with Macquarie Island, a tryout and practice session was completed enabling the first side of six to be selected. There was a buzz within the team and confidence was flowing. The match is determined by best of three games of Shanghai pairs. Unfortunately the night was not meant to be for Casey, defeated narrowly in all three games.

The buzz within the team had now disappeared. What was once confidence was now self-doubt. Team leadership had been questioned along with team selection. How could we win the next match? With a failed leadership spill attempt the Casey darts team now resembled something similar to that of recent parliament developments.

With the next game just around the corner with Davis, another tryout and practice session was completed with the hope of reforming team belief and bringing new, fresh up and coming players into the mix. The team was selected with two new players and the match began. It was neck and neck, dart for dart the whole way but in the end Casey came out victorious in all three games. We now had our buzz and belief back.

There’s only one game remaining against Mawson. We must give them warning. Casey is coming for you…

Casey Team vs Macquarie Island

Scotty “2 Dogs” & George

Bec & Jane

Patty & Catz

Casey Team vs Davis

Bec & Jane

George & Shane “Macca”

Patty & Ben “Señor”

5 min with the 71st ANARE crew: Brett Sambrooks

Name: Brett Sambrooks

Nicknames: Bretto

From: Koondrook, a small Victorian town on the banks of the Murray River, not far north of Echuca

Previous seasons?

Casey 93–94-95 (summer winter summer)

Davis 09 (short winter)

Macca 15 (medi vac round trip)

Davis 15–16 (summer winter)

Mawson 16–17 (summer)

Job title: Carpenter

Describe your role in two sentences:

My job, with the help of a talented bunch of tradesmen is to maintain the ageing Antarctic stations infrastructure on a vegemite sandwich budget… no smashed avos here!

The fixer of busted stuff.

What did you do before you joined the AAD?

Before I joined the AAD I had a life! Yep I did.

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

The variety of work that this place offers is great and I love it, but the people you get to work, live with and know, that has to be the best part of this job.

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

A highly-paid overworked surf rider instructor would be my dream job.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?

This season has the most station crew over winter that I have wintered with which is great, you can almost lose yourself in the crowd.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At Casey funnily enough I enjoy making stuff out of timber and rolling around in sawdust, love a good read and a good movie, even an average movie… sometimes.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

‘Rescue me’ by The Alarm 1988… not really!

Nick Caves’ classic song ‘More news from nowhere’ would be it, smooth sublime lyrics and beat that has you from the moment you press play.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey?

That would have to be Toby Kebbell, in Guy Ritchies’ film “ROCKNROLLA”, He played Johnny Quid, a Joey Strummer/The Clash fan, likes art, can’t sing and ends up a ciggie smoking reformed drug addict… Perfect!

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

Has to be without a doubt Browning over sea ice by quad bikes, just beautiful with the glacier by its side.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

No brainer… prescription sunnies!

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?

It changes almost monthly, ATM it would be ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce, couldn’t put this one down, it takes you with it.

ATM that movie has to be ‘SNATCH’, it’s just one hell of a fun ride.

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

Triple J all the way

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

Lights still on, Diesel fume from the MPH, the heartbeat like thump of the Gen sets, splinters in fingers from bone dry timbers, so cathartic!  And sawdust ingested through the nasal passage… only in Antarctica is this is heightened to an almost sensory overload.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?

Stuff’s still breaking and we’re still fixing it!