The Pete Report — Issue #2 in which Pete explains ‘blizz’ and gives us an overview of his second month at Mawson.

The Pete Report

Issue 2

Pete here again at the end of our second month. After doing a rundown of my first month I decided I would try to do one each month, with some station facts thrown in along the way. So we’ll see how I’m going by the end of the year? Only 10 more articles to write!

This month started with some magic weather, sunny and NO wind which is quite unusual at Mawson and at the start of the month when we still had plenty of daylight. Our daylight is fast vanishing with the sun rising at 9:30am and setting by 4pm. In a little over a month the sun won’t rise at all for a few weeks.
On the work front we took the opportunity to lift the last 3 of the 4 containers in situ for the new ARPANSA building, a job well done by the building and mechanical trades teams, and with the weather since pretty much being wind, wind and more wind we haven’t had another day where we could have operated the crane anyway, so a job done just in time.

While the weather was still good we also sealed up between the containers where the doors join to prevent any snow (blizz) getting in during the frequent blizzards we get here. Blizzard means average wind speed of greater than or equal to 34kt’s, temperature below zero and less than 100m visibility for a period of 1hr or more, as quoted by one of our friendly Met Team). Anything down here that has a small gap, or a vehicle window left slightly down will fill up with blizz in no time. It looks quite amusing to see a truck looking normal except for the cabin full of snow. It really does get in everywhere and even manages to get in under the bonnet of the Chef’s ute if not parked up nice and safe in the Green Store.

Other work has carried on as usual with plenty to be done every month, there is always preventative maintenance being done down here, identifying and fixing things before we have a problem, a good thing too as you don’t want to be out fixing things when it’s −20C and windy, and if there’s a bad enough blizzard then it’s quite a job just to get from the Red Shed where we live to whatever other building might be having a problem, so best stop the problem from arising in the first place.

Apart from work there has been the usual routine of yoga, keeping fit, playing darts and Aurora spotting, which was giving some good results earlier in the month, not to mention one of my favourite past times on clear evenings: sunset gazing. We certainly get some magic sunset and sunrises here that’s for sure.

We are still having our delicious Saturday night dinners and our ‘Tuesday Talkfest’ where each week somebody gives a presentation on a topic of choice, fact or fiction, has continued to be very well attended with such varied topics as ANZAC, The Block and My Real Job to name a few.

I also managed to get out in the field for a couple of nights for a jolly, picking some perfect weather up on the plateau just to top off the weekend.

Until next month.