After a massive effort from all Mawson station is spick’n'span and ready for resupply: AA due Feb 1. Project updates from the Navy hydrography team and our Arts Fellow this week.

Arts Fellow roundup

The summer is ending rapidly and my working days are tinged with the sadness of leaving mixed with a growing excitement about imminent reunions. The world seems clearer and brighter under the scrutiny of departure; preparing to go brings everything I am about to leave into a sharper focus.

My time here has been truly remarkable. I’ve walked on the frozen ocean; driven Hägglunds across the ice cap; climbed ancient Nunataks; eaten Fray Bentos in Hendo Hut, and been gilded by the midnight sun at new years on Mt Hordern. All this shared with the wonderful Mawson crew; my deepest thanks to every one of you.

Meanwhile, my two time-lapse camera installations have been ticking along like a bass-line to all this variety and activity. Taking an image every 150 seconds they have documented the station, its people and its surrounds since early December, continuously recording the blizzards, the grey days and the katabatic mornings without missing a beat. Each striped image represents a duration of 26 hours and 40 minutes. Thousands of these will be combined to produce a time-slice animation of December 2017 and January 2018 at Mawson research station.

By Martin Walch, Arts Fellow 2017/18.

Hydrographic survey project

Conducting hydrographic survey operations in Antarctica can be a tricky and unpredictable prospect at the best of times and the deployment of the Deployable Geospatial Support Team (DGST) on Operation Southern Discovery has proven that to be true once again. Flying from Hobart we leap frogged our way to Mawson research station via Casey and Davis stations, taking a week to do so while we waited for an appropriate weather window to make each leg of the journey.

At the time of writing (30 Jan 18), I have been peering hopefully out the window of the red shed — the accommodation and mess block — for the last three days and watching as the constant 90-120km/h winds fail to remove the stubbornly fixed sea ice in Horseshoe Harbour. With the RSV Aurora Australis due to arrive sometime in the next few days to conduct a resupply of the station before taking us all home, and as everything begins to refreeze as ‘summer’ rides off into the sunset, it is now unlikely that we will get much done in the way of boat work.

However, all is not lost! Over the past few weeks the team has been busy conducting terrestrial survey operations to update the accuracies of established survey marks and established new marks in useful areas on the station. We have spent time mapping out buildings and infrastructure on station, taking the opportunity to both collect spatial data on navigable features ashore and conduct in-depth terrestrial survey training.

Whilst we’ve been here some issues with the local tidal model were discovered and so the team has deployed temporary tide gauges and conducted tide pole observations. We have also surveyed in a permanent tide gauge located on station to help enhance the accuracy of predicted tides for the area. This work will prove valuable in assuring the accuracy of the tidal model for future hydrographic surveys.

For the period that we have been here we have been lucky to have been so well accommodated and looked after in all respects. On behalf of DGST I would like to pass on our sincerest thanks and a ‘Bravo Zulu’ to the AAD and all the staff here at Mawson, who have helped to make this an incredible, unique and worthwhile experience.

We will be back!

By Petty Officer Cameron Rea, Royal Australian Navy