Our first contact for eight months comes with the arrival of a Twin Otter, heralding the end of winter and the beginning of summer. We celebrate with a barbecue outside the Rosella building.

A plane, controversy and a jolly

Pete here for my monthly ramble. This month includes planes, controversy and as is to be expected a jolly.

On our notice board in the mess is written ‘Welcome to summer’, but is it really summer at Mawson yet? This is the controversial question.

Friday we had our first contact with the outside world after eight months of isolation when a Twin Otter flew in from Davis. We had a magic day for its arrival, hardly any wind and lovely sunshine. Shortly before landing only a few km from station out in Kista Strait all those on station who were free headed out onto the sea ice. Vicki and Hendo had to stay behind for hourly weather observations and radio communication with the plane. The Twin Otter had a fly over to check out the ice runway and then came in for a perfect landing using not even a quarter of the available 1.5km long landing strip lovingly prepared by our mechanics on station. The flight brought with it a few supplies from Davis and took with it three expeditioners to meet the ship once it arrives at Davis, plus almost 300kg of cargo.

It left the question though, with no new ‘summerers’ arriving with the plane to spend a few months with us, is this really the start of summer or does summer start when the next flight arrives with some summer passengers? Personally I think summer is here. We’ve had our first contact and just now looking out the window there is 100km/hr winds and blowing snow. How can you not declare summer is here in our frosty little home on the edge of this frozen continent?!
With the question of summer sorted it was decided we would have a BBQ Friday evening outside the carpenters workshop, aptly named the Rosella due to the colour of the building and the big Rosella painted high up on one panel. As our magic day continued into the evening we stood around discussing our winter just gone, taking in the sun’s rays and enjoying steaks, sausages, hamburgers and some marinated prawns on skewers, a meal well done by Anders with some cooking assistance from Hendo, see photo below.
Saturday found Vicki, Chris and I heading up to Rumdoodle for a night where we generally just sat around and pretty much did nothing — just how we like it - a nice restful trip indeed. We did have a little explore close to the hut a few times investigating the melt lakes and some of the incredible ice patterns that form in them. Snow petrels, ever present this time of year, kept us company as they soared around the high peaks behind the hut pretty much 24hrs a day. There were a few lichens to be spotted on the rocks and in the crevasses around the hut, sitting there sucking up the sun after a winter covered in snow and freezing cold temps. It’s amazing how they survive really, hardy little things they are.