Expeditioner Mark Austin describes how a week of intensive search and rescue training was balanced by a station darts competition, a visit from the Easter bunny and a menagerie of animals at the dinner table…

Mawson darts competition

This week saw the conclusion of the inaugural 2017 Mawson station darts competition.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks with reluctant last minute entrant Brian ‘Bruiser’ Jury making it all the way to the final. However he was just pipped at the post by Mawson darts maestro Mark Baker who is now the undisputed best player on station.

We will need to concentrate now on our doubles game in prep for the upcoming inter–station championships.

Search and rescue training

On a more serious note, the ability to keep each other safe in this remote and extreme environment involves some of the most critical skills and capability we develop during our time in Antarctica.

This week the first round of search and rescue training was completed focusing on technical cliff rescue including rock, ice and snow anchors and knot tying. Using these techniques to then abseil off a vertical cliff face with a stretcher and ‘rescue’ a fellow expeditioner was challenging and incredibly rewarding.

It was a privilege to be trained by such an experienced and competent field training officer in Heidi.

Easter traditions at Mawson

The Easter long weekend was a welcome break from the recent intense period of training. Many on station appreciated the chance to sleep in –however a couple of little Easter bunnies were busy making up luscious hand-made liqueur chocolates, painted eggs and traditional Easter cookies to deliver outside our doors on Sunday morning — yum!

It was also great to have chef Benny join us at the Saturday night table to take a break from the kitchen and sample some home cooking from Leon and Kat. The spicy fish balls and beef and polenta pie were delicious. Benny followed up on Easter Sunday with an afternoon lamb spit roast.

Others took the opportunity to head off station to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Framnes Mountains and recharge their batteries.

A mouse, a zebra and a unicorn come to dinner…

On a less serious note, ‘when the Kat’s away’ (Kat being our station leader) the mouse and frog, zebra, crocodile, unicorn will play, with an impromptu onesies dress up party.

Wouldn’t you if you had no TV, and access to a room full of animal costumes? …maybe?

Until next time, Mark Austin