Expeditioner Kylea shares her recent training experience

Surviving your first survival training!

With the summer season well and truly underway, this week expeditioners commenced their survival training – an integral part of ensuring safety out in the field. As a first time expeditioner, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had spent a few nights out under the stars throughout my military career, but had never slept under the sun in below freezing temperatures!

The day started with kitting and learning how to pack all of our gear, before stopping in to the communications department to cover radio communications and keeping the station informed. Next up, we visited the meteorological team and discussed the local weather effects and recognising the signs that the weather conditions are about to change. Before we set off we visited the waste water treatment plant and garbage disposal building to learn about responsible disposal of waste on station and how to bring everything back with you from the field.

Finally, it was time to get going on foot down to Shirley Island, where we were taught how to drill and test sea ice before crossing. We also practiced techniques to get out of the water in the unlikely event that we should fall in. We were pretty lucky in that while we were practicing, we had a friendly visitor from the local penguin colony come to check out our technique.

After Shirley Island we trekked back to the Survival Camp area where we practiced utilising and assembling all of the equipment in the survival caches. After digging a human sized pit in the snow, we settled in for a ration-pack dinner and a cup of tea before climbing into our bivvy bags to sleep. A somewhat restless, but surprisingly warm, nights sleep ensued, and just like that we had all survived the night!

Completion of survival training gives expeditioners the necessary knowledge to conduct trips off station with designated trip leaders. This allows for both field work and recreation trips. All of the newly trained expeditioners are now looking forward to the opportunities to see more of the region surrounding Casey – including me!

– Kylea Jones
Met Forecaster