This week we experienced more of the beauty and potential hazards of sea ice travel; we practised for a long walk and discovered a new field hut… is it on Mawson or Mars? And we just couldn’t resist sharing more aurora action.

It’s all about the sea ice

Here at Mawson, it continues to be all about the surrounding sea ice at the moment. Mal and Shane took the quad bikes out to test our sea ice drilling sites as part of the Antarctic Fast Ice Measurements project (measuring sea ice in Antarctica since the 1950’s!). This data is also vital to determine the ice thickness for suitability for sea ice travel on foot, quad bikes and in Hägglunds vehicles.

Even in the depths of winter different surface definitions can cause us to have ‘a bad day’ when we might bog a quad bike in surface slush. So this week Heidi trained us in how to anchor and recover a bogged quad bike and Brian taught us how to recover a Hägglunds that might end up in water (they float!) by simulating a recovery on an ice bank on station.

Weekends away

When our work is done and the weather conditions are right, we like nothing better than to get off station to explore the Framnes Mountains and to visit the field huts located on the plateau behind Mawson station.

This week Pete, Mal, Doug and Benny explored the Central Masson Range and the frozen Patterned Lake which provided an amazing backdrop for icy wind sculptures and Mal’s sunrise singing.

We also had our first opportunity for the season to visit the Béchervaise Island field huts located just three kilometres from station in frozen Holme Bay. And yes, for those of us who saw them for the first time, they do look like they belong on Mars!

By mid-October these islands will be filled with thousands of Adélie penguins, but right now they are being occupied by a few lucky Mawson expeditoners who get to go away for the weekend to our special island huts.

Walking for breast cancer research

The Mother’s Day Classic is a national fun run and walk that raises funds for breast cancer research, held annually on Mother’s Day. Over the last 20 years more than 1.1 million Australians have walked 6.5 million kilometres, far enough to walk to the moon and back eight times. Or maybe to Mawson station and back a few times!

While we can’t join the tens of thousands who will walk in 400 locations across Australia this year, down here at Mawson we will be doing our bit to raise funds for the Mother’s Day Challenge. An important event for Kat, who will be walking for her sisterhood.

This Sunday, on Mother’s Day, if the weather is right, our Mawson team hopes to walk to and from Béchervaise Island on the sea ice — a 7km round trip with a pit stop in the field hut for a warm cuppa. Here we are practising walking on the sea ice… we’ll let you know how we go…

Aurora action continues…

We love sharing our aurora night time action, so while they continue to illuminate our skies, we’ll continue to share our photos.

This week Heidi ventured out to capture the auroras sharing the night skies with the moon over Mawson.

A dusting of snow

Finally we thought we’d share these pictures of the station and our favourite Pioneer with a light dusting of snow, which rarely falls at Mawson.

The powdery soft snow has made our home even more beautiful this week.