Some thoughts on the winter experience and future uncertainties this week from Casey

The Carnival (Midwinter) is over

It is now apparent that I now am one of the few people that have experienced a midwinter on the Antarctic continent and one of the very few to be privileged to experience it at Casey Station.

As an epilogue to my last article, I continue to confirm and expand upon my pre winter and summer experiences with continued appreciation of my inclusion as part of AAD's 73rd ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition).

Without forgetting the amazing experiences, awesome scenery and extraordinary landscapes, it seems it is now time that a lot of us start to think about heading “home”.

It is now a time for transition. In that, instead of just thinking on local activities such as (as well as work of course) planning a Hägg trip to Browning and the Vanderford Glacier, or a walk across the sea ice to the Wilkes Hilton, a ski/bike ride down the hill from ski-way, preparations for a “road trip” to the tank house for “Splendour in the Snow”, our attentions are now looking to other priorities.

Discussions on arranging trips to Wilkins for start-up of the Aviation season for example is an early warning to our eminent departure.

Discussions now include future plans such as (apart from work of course) what we will all do when we return back to Australia, when will we return to Australia, how long will it take us to get back home, will we have to quarantine, will I get a job, do I want a job, will I be able to get a job, shall I just buy a “troopy” and “go bush”, and multiple variations of the above.

With the complication this season of the COVID-19 virus, the answers to most of these questions would normally be predetermined for most of us, now, for some of us it may prove to be more of a conundrum.

Regardless of what we have done (and still have to do) while down on the Icy Continent, what we will do when we get back, and what becomes of us in the future, I am sure there will always be some contact with fellow expeditioners and shared memories of our 2019/20 season.

Rumour has it that I’ll have one more article to write before the end of our excursion so, until then, continued thanks to all that have been a part of my experience of a lifetime.

Peter Mackle, Casey Electrician

Expectations met

Go to Antarctica they said. You will have a ball they said.

Well guess what.

They were right.

Regardless of who they are, my experience this winter has been one of wonderment and awe at my surroundings. Yes, the hands and feet get bloody cold and hurt like buggery sometimes, but that takes little away from my experiences.

The monthly maintenance and various repairs bring me back to the reality that there is work to do. Can’t stand around gob smacked by the sun rise or sun set.

This month we had a wander to Wilkes dragging sleds. Very surreal to have the group walking in silence, each contemplating their own random thoughts while absorbing the wonder of the event.

Some of the crew did a ski/ride from the skiway to the station. Once again smiles all round.

So, to those that said “Go to Antarctica,” I say thank you.

Duncan Logan, Casey Plumber