A walk to Welch Island, a drive to Colbeck Archipelago and staying indoors, all in a week at Mawson.

A walk to Welch Island

View from the top

Welch Island is a very prominent fixture on the Mawson landscape. It’s about 6km from station about 1.5km long and 130 meters high. Although it seems a lot higher when you’re climbing up it.

Welch Island was discovered in February 1931 by the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Sir Douglas Mawson, who named it for B. F. Welch, Second Engineer on the Discovery.

When we were first allowed on to the ice most of the station took a stroll out to Welch Is. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday. The view from the top is amazing.

A trip to Colbeck

After much preparation 2 Quads, 1 Hagg left Mawson 28/5 for Colbeck hut, Taylor glacier towing temporary accommodation, the RMIT van as prior reports had mentioned the hut was engulfed in ice; spot on as photo shows. After approx 6 hours through spectacular scenery and a kind weather window reached our destination and proceeded to chip away at the ice to gain entry to hut; amazing an ice floor (interior decorators/architects would kill for this); turn on the gas and start the heater, instant rain forest/steam bath (what more could you wish for), Keldyn and Cookie immediately lay claim to their waterlogged bunks, whilst a sumptuous meal was prepared by various chefs shuffling around the ice floor with the assistance of micro spiked boots. Nice meal, good company and an icy sleep (got better as the RMIT warmed up over the next few days and the hut dried out).

Planned work carried out and time to check out Taylor and Cape Bruce, photographers’ paradise along with an obliging low moon and sunsets plus the occasional lost Emperor penguin and very rare Keldyn jade berg.

Trip back equally as good despite kilometres of rafted/broken ice, bonus was very strange shaped Jade berg, to me looked like squid, then a Snapper, Cookie said a Cod! By then was confused so settled for a whale.

What a great few days away from station — thatsss all folks.

Staying indoors, more on darts

It’s getting close to the middle of winter and we are tending to do more inside activities — especially now the outside temperature is nudging −30 degrees. One really needs to be well dressed to spend time outside.

Back inside, many of the boys have settled into playing darts over the dark and cooler months. For those that don’t know, there is currently a darts competition going on between all four Australian stations. The finals are coming up this weekend.

As a team it would be fair to say that we were not the best dart players when we first arrived at Mawson, but with lots of practice we did improve, as shown in the accompanying photographs.

Our favourite dart game is Shanghai — where one attempts to score on various number sets, but there is a 100 point bonus if one gets a “shanghai” — and that is when a player hits a single, double and triple of the one number, with three darts. Again the pictures tell the story of those who were able to get a “Shang”, as we call it.