Travelling out to sea over ice

Monitoring sea ice

Like the other Australian research stations, Casey has the opportunity to travel on the sea ice during winter and conduct monitoring of changes in the sea ice in support of science.

For Casey, sea ice assessment and travel differs from Davis and Mawson as the growth and deterioration of sea ice across the travel area can vary significantly. It also can dramatically change after a weather event, be it a blizzard or high tide combined with an increase in wind.

The sea ice monitoring science project has no dedicated personnel and relies on station-based volunteers to conduct year-round measurements of the date of formation, rate of growth, and other physical properties of sea-ice. These measurements have been carried out intermittently since the mid to late 1950s.

Sea ice travel also provides the unique opportunity to see the Antarctic continent from the sea side. The changing ice features, cliff faces and colours make for some beautiful viewing and “wow” moments.

Getting to know a Casey expeditioner — James Cairns


James Cairns


Jim, Jimbo, Jimmy


Sunshine Coast QLD

Previous seasons?

Summer/Winter 2016/17

Job title:

Aerodrome Plant Operator (Wilkins)

Describe your role in two sentences:

Good fun, rewarding, character-building some days.

Push snow, then more snow, and when you think you're done, push even more snow.

What did you do before your joined the AAD

Mobile plant operator in civil construction and mining.

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

I’d say the variety.  I’m not doing the same thing day-in day-out like I would be in ‘the real world'. One day I’ll be clearing snow, the next helping trades, the next in the kitchen cooking.

If you were not a plant operator, what would be your dream job?

I’d have to say race car driver.

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

Very different, yet very similar. Same place and job, with a new bunch of people!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Chill out at Splinters and play a game of darts. Gym. Movies or TV shows.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 72nd ANARE season here at Casey?

John C Reilly

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

Wilkes, plenty of space to hang out, can’t beat a wood fire or the wood-fired pizzas.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Quad bikes, they make getting out and about a bit more fun. Also the water bottle parka!

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

No ‘typical’ genre, try to keep it random. No country!

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

Sight : the red shed in the rocks as you come down off the plateau.

Smell: the lack of smells when out and about.

Sound: the tranquil hum of the gen-sets at all hours.

Feeling : of cold when you think you can do a quick job without your gloves on.

Taste: fresh-baked bread at smoko.