The last Thursday in October 2013 saw a little station in east Antarctica awaken from its winter hibernation. An enrichment of knowledge and kinship were then woven into the fabric of Mawson station and into lives of those who called it home for the month of November. Our morning around station looked like any other, we all went about our duties as usual but with an anxiousness keeping us preoccupied with the imminent future. As the Kenn Borek crew flew in with supplies and equipment for our summer season four weeks ago, sixteen soon to be friends also stepped out of a Bassler DC3 and onto the sun cupped and wind polished ice.
Not only did we see new faces on this day , but we also said goodbye to old ones. Faces that made the dinner table at night feel complete, faces that made jokes funnier than they should be, faces that showed compassion and understanding during hard times. The day of October 31st was one of mixed emotions.
Just as an ant colony moves with purpose and vigour, so too did a bunch of enthusiastic summerites who easily integrated with the equally enthusiastic Mawsonites. Work trust and friendships soon developed. I will always remember the first few days of our summer programme. Blue skys, low winds and warm temperatures encased our region for four days. Since our winter season started in early March, we had never experienced such beautiful weather, and unfortunately we haven’t since. So survival training and field preparations were completed unhindered. From those early days our weather patterns became inconsistent and somewhat gloomy. Although some good science was completed, some projects unfortunately had to be abandoned for this year. Our fingers are crossed for these programmes to find fruition in the future.
For a month 29 people worked, played and motivated one another around a very busy station. Our very quick summer science season has come to an end now, but thankfully not the friendships that evolved. To our departed wintering crew, you are missed and in our hearts, we’ll catch up on the mainland very soon. And to our recently departed summer crew, the same holds true.