July is traditionally a bit of a ‘flat’ month for the station. The skies are still dark, it is cold and the excitement of midwinter is over. We have been away from home long enough to be missing our families and potentially getting a bit miserable. So we decided to try and organise a community event to get us through July, a challenge…
Then Gav the chef said ‘Why not walk to the South Pole?'
We all said ‘OK, that sounds like a great idea!'
It is 2500 kilometres from Mawson station to the South Pole, which is marked on a map by the US Amundsen-Scott Base. Obviously, much to the disappointment of some in the group, we can’t actually walk to the South Pole from Mawson… but we can do anything with a good imagination. So we decided on a virtual walk, which is going to need slightly less training but plenty of dedication and commitment.
2500 kilometres in a month means that we need to cover about 80 kilometres a day as a group. We decided that we would count the kilometres that we cover riding the bikes, walking, running or rowing. The only catch is that we don’t have pedometers down here so the kilometres have to be covered in the gym or in an exercise session. Incidental exercise doesn’t count.
To make sure that we complete the journey we decided to challenge other teams to join us and also raise money for some charities. So far we have been joined by Team Remediation Rampage from head office and Team Macca from Macquarie Island.
We have chosen to support two charities that are close to our hearts, Headspace and Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC).
AMRRIC is a organisation that provides veterinary and education programs in remote Indigenous communities. Through providing local communities with skills in parasite control, basic animal welfare and providing veterinary programs to help with desexing, AMRRIC works with communities in partnership to improve both canine and human health. Before coming to Antarctica many of the team had worked in remote parts of Australia. I worked as a nurse in remote Indigneous communities for a number of years and I have two desert dogs in my life — Harry the Hairy Hound and Mistress Johnson. So supporting an organisation like AMRRIC provides an important connection for me back to the communities that have given so much to me.
The importance of good mental health, strong support systems and team and individual resilience has been becoming increasingly important to us as a community during the year. Headspace provides early intervention mental health services to young people aged 12 to 25 all over Australia. Headspace provides help across a variety of topics including drug and alcohol, physical health including sexual health, work or study support and mental health issues.
We are all in training and people have been seen going to the gym anywhere between 0430 and 2000. We will report back on all the teams progress once we start off on the first of July!