Chef Claire thought she might write a literary masterpiece this year. She didn't. But she had fun anyway.

One Year at Casey - Reflections

It’s been seven months since we’ve last seen them, but the penguins are back and they’re more awesome then ever. You ain’t seen waddling till you’ve seen an Adélie coming at ya.

I see them every day (weather permitting), but the icebergs grounded 10 kms out from Casey Station are still a sight to behold. Especially when the sunlight turns their faces golden or subtle pink at sunset.

Our boys like to wear dresses sometimes. I’m in favour of this libertarianism.

Sitting in a tractor with SMS Nick for 13 hours with visibility down to 10 meters, singing Frank Sinatra and seat jiving in a world of white, is something I never thought I would be doing. But I loved every second.

I wish there were more women on station. I miss the company of a group of women and being able to share a female perspective.

The ocean that skirts the Bailey Peninsula (our little home) was for a long time capped with ice, bordering between flimsy and rock solid. After our 100-knot wind event, all the ice vanished and we got to watch the inky waves smashing about in the wind. Now the water sits in a curious state of both frozen and not frozen, and you just can’t tell if what you’re seeing in the distance is grease ice or rippling water.

When our station mechanical supervisor Nick lost the tip of his finger and was confined to the Red Shed I thought the best way to lift his mood would be to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on repeat for weeks on end. He loved it, no joke.

We went for walks sometimes. It was very cold. We were on the edge of a vast nothingness. I felt intrepid. 

Releasing a weather balloon was a special experience, with BOM tech Bruce at my elbow instructing me on the finer points of the Upper Air Program. I wrote my niece and nephew’s names on the radiosonde, which to flew to 31,785 meters.

We made a great discovery. The traditional woodfired pizza at Wilkes hut is not the deal. Flame-grilled, thick-cut scotch fillet is far superior. Wilkes, you have my heart.

Seeing the same few faces every day, many times each day, is an interesting psychological experience, and has peculiar implications. We know each other’s nuances but do we know each other’s depths? Are we our real selves here?

I’ve made a few very close friends. I feel lucky.

Claire Moser - Winter Chef