This week we road test our equipment, welcome back the Aurora Australis (just briefly), our comms tech goes to East Arm to check the tide gauges and it appears that the Weddell seals appreciate the sunset as much as we do.

Road testing our equipment

The new winter team is getting to know all of the machinery and equipment at Mawson. This week Brian the station mechanical supervisor made the most of good driving conditions to test run the big red Foremost Pioneer up to the big red shed.

Since the early 1980s the Pioneer has been used as an over snow vehicle for a variety of uses across Australian Antarctic stations including deep field traverses and water haulage. According to Brian, the Pioneer sadly doesn’t sound quite as good as it did when he last drove it in 1986 — since that time the 6–71 Detroit engine has been replaced with a 3306 CAT.

With big blue skies and sunny days at Mawson this week, we have had the perfect conditions for some self timed group photos to mark the start of our season. With the Pioneer parked near our living quarters on this sunny day we took the opportunity for it to be a great back drop to our team photo.

The Aurora Australis welcomed back (briefly) to Mawson

This week the Mawson team welcomed the Aurora Australis back to the Kista Strait to deliver additional priority cargo for the winter. During a brief operation, two watercraft operators expertly delivered the priority cargo to the wharf and were welcomed by members of the Mawson team with hand made signs and well wishes for a safe journey back to Hobart.

Measuring the tide

Doug the station communications technical officer is kept very busy inspecting and maintaining the myriad of technical equipment we have on this research station.

This week Doug inspected one of the tide gauges near the East Arm at Mawson to ensure it continues to provide tidal data critical to Southern Ocean sea level studies. While Doug was busy inspecting and testing the tide gauge, Adélie penguins appeared to keep a watchful eye on his work.

Summer sunsets and Weddell seals

With an average of 8.9 hours of sunshine per day in February we have had some spectacular sunsets and opportunities for photos of Weddell seals snoozing on the ice.