Fostering Antarctic Relations With Some Special Guests

Welcoming the CHINARE to Casey Station

Alongside the influx of new members from the 77th Australian Antarctic Program (AAP), as the last of the 76th AAP prepare to head home, this week Casey station has been hosting members of the Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition (CHINARE), from the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC). Six members from the CHINARE team are in the process of transiting through Casey on their way to Zhongshan station, having recently flown from Hobart to Wilkins on the Skytraders A319. 

However, due to nasty weather in the southern part of South America and adjacent Antarctic peninsula, the aircraft that was to transport them from Casey has been delayed extensively. Consequently, the CHINARE team had to extend their stay at Casey by a few days, and members of the station have thrown themselves into strengthening the China – Australia Antarctic relationship! 

Station Leader Ben dusted off some mandarin for the formal welcome to station, which only required some very minor re-interpreting from the team but was otherwise received extremely positively. 

Chef Jacqui made up a special Chinese breakfast, including steamed buns and congee, which complemented the 10 am smoko wonderfully. 

The two incoming Station Supply Officers, Owen & David, utilised their arts and craft skills to knock-up a makeshift “Xiangqi” board game, a Chinese version of Chess played using tiles (or in this case, Chinese characters drawn on bottle caps and draught pieces). Incoming Engineering Services Supervisor, Mel made quick work with her google translator to break down the language barriers and survived two quite epic rounds of Xiangqi. Impressive stuff given that the entire game is written in Chinese characters. 

The Casey green store also hosted the inaugural China v. Australia trans-Antarctic Badminton tournament. Limited floor space necessitated that the line markings weren’t exactly up to competition standard, and play had to be stopped occasionally when the forklift needed to traverse or the shuttle got stuck in the compactus. However, everyone made sweaty work of what is notoriously one of the colder workplaces on station.  

Patches and postcards were exchanged, and the Casey team wish the CHINARE the best of luck in their onward journey to Zhongshan! 

- Owen Horton - Station Supply Officer

Summer is here!

We’ve been very fortunate with some incredible weather shining down on us over the last week. This stunning weather has enabled many of us to get outside for various walks, kick the footy, and continue hikes out to Shirley Island, home of the amazing Adélie penguin colony. The sea ice will continue to deteriorate as summer approaches, so we’re very fortunate to still have access to this special part of the world.

BOM Technician Shaun and I were lucky enough to be one of the parties to visit these curious creatures and we weren’t disappointed. We approached the inquisitive Adélie’s as we arrived and were quickly surrounded by a welcome party. As we left we had a similar group escort us back off the sea ice as we headed back to station.

Words can’t describe what an amazing place this is as you take it all in. Witnessing penguins waddling around you, coming up to you, watching them jumping out of the water, gliding through the air and sticking the landing before casually waddling onwards is absolutely fantastic!

I’ve tried my best to limit the amount of penguin spam here but that’s not easy!

- Jay Burgers - Electrician