I am writing this segment at 9am Thursday 7 February, Day two of the annual Mawson resupply. The wind is blowing at 40 knots (74kph) and the Aurora Australis is riding out the storm at sea. Horseshoe Harbour is free of ice. The last section of sea ice drifted away at 10pm last night. The 56 people on Station which includes the 2012 and 2013 winter teams, summer team, aircrew, water craft operators, plant operator, beachmaster, project people, communication operator, chefs and slushies are performing their handovers and the major projects to be conducted during this allocated eight day period.
There was a hive of activity on station before the ship arrived on schedule on Tuesday. Some of these jobs included the carpenters making the footings for the ARPANSA steps, the plumbers checking the melt bell (the creator of our water supply) and the mechanics clearing snow in the wharf area and using the excavator to break up the very thick sea ice attached to the land. Chef Ray produced another of his excellent Saturday night dinners.
The fine weather saw many walking out along West Arm taking photographs of the penguins swimming in the crystal clear water, minke whales blowing and orcas checking out the ice floes for sleepy Weddell seals. We witnessed some amazing sunsets and a magnificent solar pillar one evening.
The current storm is predicted to abate on Friday and following this the Aurora Australis will be moored in Horseshoe Harbour on Saturday ready to continue cargo operations and the refuelling of the station.