This week at Mawson we celebrate with new friends and old, visit the Rookery Islands and prepare for a plane – farewelling some and welcoming one.

24 hour day

This week at Mawson we took a break from our work and celebrated two birthdays, enjoying each other’s company, good conversation, a glass of wine and Gav’s fantastic cuisine.

As we talked on into the evening the sun just continued to shine. From Wednesday the sun does not set again for several weeks.

Rookery Islands Visit

With the sea ice deteriorating fast, the sea bird researchers this week visited the only one of the Rookery Islands still accessible to re-install a repaired camera and to do a census of the Adélie penguin colonies there.

Ripping the track

Getting up the steep incline from Mawson station to the ice plateau when there is no snow cover can be dangerous. To mitigate any danger of slippage, Jose, one of our diesel mechanics, ‘ripped’ the track.

Using the dozer with spiked tracks and curved tines the slippery ice track was shattered to give traction to quads and Häggs that frequently use this route.

Rumdoodle domestic airport open

With the impending arrival of the Basler at the Rumdoodle ski landing area this week some of the projects at Mawson were completed and the expeditioners carrying out this work packed their bags ready to depart on their journey back to Davis and beyond.

We waved farewell to Kingston visitors, Sandra Hodgson, Andy Sharman and Cameron Frost who were here to check out the state of the station and plan future works; ARPANSA pair Jane Courtier and David Hardman were here to calibrate and carry out the annual maintenance on the detector; University of Newcastle researcher Rhea Barnett here to calibrate the three magnetometers installed on West Arm and Rowan Quinn from the Hobart office of the Bureau of Meteorology here to carry out an inspection of the Mawson Met facilities.

Several hours prior to the plane’s departure from Davis, the blue Hägg towing the windsock and the quad towing the fire response sled made the trip to the landing area near Rumdoodle Hut: a relatively flat area of wind sculpted milky blue ice. The windsock was assembled and regular 30 minute weather forecasts relayed to the pilot.

The yellow and orange Häggs transported the remaining passengers to the plateau just before the planes arrival. It was amazing to see the Basler land effortlessly ‘off piste’ and then taxi close to where our vehicles were parked.

A small amount of cargo was offloaded plus (more importantly) Nick Johnson, our station mechanical supervisor for the summer. Then it was all aboard for those departing and up and away.

Once gone we packed up the sleds and departed for station, nothing marking the ice to indicate anything at all had happened at that locality.