Our expeditioners get a taste of the season ahead, and reflect on the season that was.

The Walk to Shirley Island

After receiving a warm welcome by the team at Wilkins upon our arrival, we headed down the hill to Casey station to mark the introduction to our summer season.

We were all very excited as we heard that our Field Training Officers (FTO’s) were taking the time each evening to host walks out to Shirley Island - where the local Adélie penguin colony is - to check out some of the favourite birds here.

As our FTO “Psycho” explained the finer details of crossing over the sea ice bridge to the island, we basked in the beauty of the stunning ice cliffs. Even more exciting though was seeing the penguins waddling in the distance as they gathered some forward momentum, before laying down and sliding forward on their bellies so it looked like they were swimming over the ice.

It's magic to watch these animals in the wild.  

- Jay Burgers - Electrician 

Survival Training

An amazing part of coming down to work in Antarctica is being able to see the stunning scenery and landscape. This can be made even more beautiful when it takes us outside Station limits.

In order to make these opportunities possible, we have to complete “Survival Training”. This essentially involves being trained by one of the Field Training Officers (FTO’s) - in our case, Mic - and learning about the logistical & operational requirements involved in getting off station; including how to survive in worst case scenarios. We are taught how to use a compass, map and GPS (especially important with the True North and Magnetic North variation being vastly different so close to the South Geomagnetic Pole), how to operate the camping stove gear, and the intricacies of “camping” on the ice, as we build little ice windbreakers for protection before trying to get some zzz’s in our bright yellow bivvy bags.

A highlight for us was being on the sea ice and checking its depth before being met by a welcoming party of Adélie penguins waddling towards us, seemingly just as curious about us as we were about them.

The big day concluded with a relatively rare sunset that had a beautiful Sun Pillar, which only occurs when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of millions of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds. 

- Jay Burgers - Electrician 

From the Other Side ...

At first, a fleeting sensation of change imminent.

With time, you feel dragged towards it: the inevitable re-adjustment and return to a world left behind.

Cautious are the first steps, all senses are inundated with almost exotic memories, now very real and refreshed.

Sudden exposure to the maelstrom releases a torrent of emotions.

Time in isolation results in a perspective that are somewhat different now, words to describe these emotions are abstract but fiercely strong.

Very little external change is discernible, the world has not stopped moving yet it feels to have not moved at all: unchanged and imperishable.

I remove myself from civilization and slow the cadence down amongst the trees and all things wild, it is now time to ponder. To question the reasons, to scrutinize one furtherance - one’s purpose as an individual and as part of a collective.

Any profound answers only result in furthermore questions. To what end? How deep does one travel down the rabbit hole?

It is up to individual to find purpose.

Pleasure and purpose are the desired outcomes.

Deliberate attention to building and maintaining relationships is the only path to fulfillment, all other wishes will arise subsequently.

Time is the rarest of resources.

As you continue moving forward; treasure it as such.

- Tim Harris - Winter Traverse Mechanic/Operator