This week the majority of our sweat and attention was given to two things…undertaking initial tests of the sea ice within our station recreation limits and Anzac Day planning.
Everyone on station has kept a keen eye on the transformation in front of us, watching what once was our waterfront view, slowly but surely morphing into solid sea ice that will soon support vehicle transport within our operating area and eventually…(dare we say it already!?)…resupply.
Starting off as a thin film known as grease ice around mid-March, it made a few attempts to solidify with each thwarted by any half reasonable wind event. By the end of March however, it had firmed up enough to resist and quickly began to change the landscape — a pretty spectacular process to witness.
This week we conducted two days of drilling to assess thickness, with the initial testing conducted in dry suits, with a range of additional safety equipment on standby at the shoreline. As we hoped, the numbers were good, ranging from 45-51cm in front of station and 38cm approximately 3km off shore, where we would access Gardner Island. A great start and affording some new experiences with the area now open for access by foot, mountain bike (with oversized fat tyres and chains!) and skis.
Anzac Day made this a really special week with three servicemen of our own and many of us experiencing an Antarctic dawn service for the first time. Under a 10am sunrise and perfect weather of light snowfall and negligible wind, with thoughtful reflection we offered respect and gratitude to our service men and women. It was a moving and intimate event for our small team of 19, in the absolute silence only somewhere like Antarctica can create.
On the lighter side of this important national day, we enjoyed amazing food with traditional Anzac touches, some great movies and a loud, hotly contested game of two-up — with the winner happily taking away the prize…passing his Saturday duties to the SL.
It was an honour to share the day with everyone here.
Simon Goninon (Station Leader)