This week at Mawson we celebrate Oktoberfest, get ready for Adélie penguins and prepare the kitchen for the summer expeditioners due in about four weeks time.


The annual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich is a homage to craft beers, food and community, three important factors in a successful winter season in Antarctica. So we decided to have an Oktoberfest night on Saturday to celebrate the end of the annual Munich festival.

Hilly the brew master made some special small brews for the occasion, as well as the usual Larger and Drafts.

Shane decorated the mess and bar and wore his traditional lederhosen for the evening.

Gav cooked up a storm, with schnitzels, pork belly, sauerkraut and roast apple slice topped off with an apple strudel. Thank you to Hilly, Shane and Gav for a yummy Saturday night.

Getting ready for the Adélie influx

Every year over 3500 Adélie penguins arrive at Bécherveise Island in mid October to breed throughout the spring and summer. They have spent the winter out at sea and on the pack ice feeding, some ranging more then 1200 kilometres away. They have been recorded diving to depths of 175 metres but generally feed above 70 metres in depth.

The Adélies are only 70 centimetres tall and weigh between three to six kilograms, they are amongst the smallest of the Antarctic penguins. If possible, they return to the same colony, nest site and mate every year.

As Adélie penguins feed predominantly on krill, a long term study on their population can provide valuable information on fishery stocks in the east Antarctic region. Kingston based researchers are part of the long term international monitoring effort that involves closely observing the penguin numbers on Bécherveise Island. Every summer a team of two researchers arrive from Hobart to count, weigh and monitor the population. Before the researchers get here the whole station gets involved in recording the arrival of the Adélies. Every second day a pair of expeditioners goes to the island to count the arrivals and report back to Kingston.

This week we spent the day getting our bearings and locating the various different colonies that are scattered around the island, making sure that we are all going to be counting the same groups each visit.

Kitchen clean up

One of the station jobs that we wanted to get done before the summer crew arrive in four weeks was to give the kitchen a scrub down.

So when a fairly ordinary day of weather was predicted, we decided to take advantage of it and have an inside day. At 0800 we assembled in the mess and started removing everything from the shelves. Then all the walls, shelves and fridges got washed down and the floors got high pressure cleaned.

Finally everything was put back on the shelves in sort of the same order as it was taken off. We had some good finds as well, lots of mushroom floss, tinned tofu, yeast flakes and a stash of mint slices!