This week get to know Leon, our Bureau of Meteorology technician (and postman!) and we were reminded that mid winter is approaching — our days are shorter, temperatures are changing and blizzards are more common…

Half way there!

As the sun rose on a beautiful pink dawn at Mawson, we sent a team out to start proving the sea ice travel route to the Macey Islands and Auster Rookery, home to an emperor penguin colony and Macey Hut, a popular recreation hut for Mawson expeditioners.

Each winter the team must ‘prove the route’ by measuring the depth of the sea ice and identifying any hazards such as tide cracks, leads and icebergs to confirm the route, and to lock it in to our GPS units. On this day trip, the team mapped the route half way to the Auster Rookery and found solid, consistent and smooth sea ice.

We were starting to imagine our recreation weekends at Auster…

And then this happened…

And then this happened.

A blizzard blew at Mawson on Friday night with the winds averaging approximately 90 knots / 166 kms per hour. By Saturday morning the wind peaked at 114 knots / 211 kms per hour which had us bunking down in the Red Shed for 24 hours, listening to the howling winds. On Sunday we had the opportunity to inspect the impact — fortunately there was no damage to the station. But the impact on our solid sea ice was obvious — a lot of it was gone.

With the sea ice in Kista Strait blown out, large masses of open water can now be seen from the station again, which means our sea ice travel has come to a halt and we now wait for the sea to freeze again. Like penguins, we huddle and wait patiently…

Bet you didn’t know…

Bet you didn’t know about Leon Hamilton, Bureau of Meteorology Technician

Q1 Where were you born? Sydney N.S.W.

Q2 Why were you called Leon? From my maternal fathers name, an Anglicisation of Leone (Italian for Lion).

Q3 What’s your middle name and why? Edward, from my paternal grandfathers name.

Q4 If you had to choose between country and western and folk which would you choose and why?

I prefer folk because I don’t like the twang of country and folk is more upbeat.

Q5 The first concert you attended? I saw Red Hot Chilli Peppers on their ‘One Hot Minute Tour’ at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1996 at age 14.

Q6 If you were a brand what would your motto be? 'Why the Hell Not?'

Q7 What do you do on holidays? It depends on the holiday. Sometimes it’s bush walking or scuba diving, bar hopping or just immersing oneself in the destinations culture.

Q8 What would you like to ask ‘God'? 'Why is everyone so interested in whether you exist?'

Q9 If you were another animal what would it be and why? A Blue whale because they are top of the food chain and have no significant predators.

Q10 If you had a dinner party and invited three guests who would you invite? Stevie Wonder, Catherine The Great and Karen Gillan.