Fire training and a disco makes for a busy week for the Mawson smoke machine…

Training, training, training

Aside from all the usual work tasks, the last week at Mawson has been very busy with additional training.

We’ve all been put through Hägglunds sea ice rescue training, which is about being able to get the Hägglunds back on the firm ground should you break through the sea ice. Wind chill was about −35°C on the day we did the training, which only increased our thinking that we really don’t want to put ourselves into a situation where we may have to do this for real.

For our monthly fire training session, the teams did a full BA (breathing apparatus) exercise in one of the old buildings down in the old station area. The building was ‘smoked up’ (the smoke machine’s first outing for the week) and then our BA teams had to enter, dragging hose, and locate and rescue 2 ‘missing expeditioners’. Pleased to report, everyone was located and brought out!

Sadly, the weather has just put the scupper on us all completing our Quad sea ice training this week, although the first group managed to get out and complete on Tuesday. This training is required to familiarise everyone with sea ice travel conditions and involved a good circuit of the station Recreational area with a lunch stop at  Bèchervaise Island, so a good opportunity to see more of the local surrounds.

Reviews are in: Biscoe Disco a success!

Fun fact for the week: 12 is too few for a disco party but 15 is more than enough for it to go off!

Sadly, we had to postpone the much-anticipated ‘Biscoe Disco’ on Saturday night when a field party was held over for a second night at Beche Island due to high winds. “12 people just wasn’t enough”, judged Disco Co-ordinator Extraordinaire Nate Payne, (although it may have had something to do with the fact that both the DJ and cocktail barman were part of that stranded field party.)

Consequently, it was decided to move the disco to a ‘Sunday Session’ with a 1700 start, the theory being that we’d all be in bed in time for a normal day’s work on Monday. Fortunately, it’s dark by 1700 so disco lights were able to be turned on, an impressive array of costumes were donned and ‘Disco Fever’ was soon raging. Nate, Nick and assistants had put a huge effort into decorating & lighting the old Biscoe building (one of the buildings on station dating all the way back to 1954 — oh, if those walls could talk!) and the smoke machine was soon in overdrive. Excess energy was danced away as the disco music pumped on past 2100 with DJ Linc keeping the old gems coming. (OK, I know that’s doesn’t sound late, but remember we started at 1700 and it is 4 hours of 15 people dancing in a room.)

An excellent night had by all, although some were a wee bit sore the next morning after getting those dancing muscles out of hiatus. But there’s nowhere to hide on an Antarctic station and no way to ‘chuck a sickie’ so everyone was very grateful to Donna for putting on a “Cure what ails you” smoko Monday morning. Seriously, what can’t bacon fix? 

After such a success, word on the street is we may be seeing ‘Biscoe Disco 2.0’ before the year is out…