This week at Mawson: 25 May 2018

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.

The training group being talked through the set upr equired to pull a Hagg out of the sea
The training group being talked through the set upr equired to pull a Hagg out of the sea
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
Hagg in the background with the rescue equipment laid out in front with 3 people standing in foreground
Hagg in the background with the rescue equipment laid out in front, as Mark and Nate talk everyone through the process.
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
2 men readying the fire hoses for the exercise
Readying the hoses.
(Photo: E.Rdoewald)
2 people in BA gear prepare to enter the smoked-up building
BA team prepare to enter the building (see the smoke!) whilst Fire Chief Cormac watches technique
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
A group of people on quads depart station
First Quad sea ice training group head out to sea from Horseshoe Harbour
(Photo: Helen Cooley)
A man on a quad in front of an iceberg.
Brett in front of an iceberg currently locked in the ice in the recreational area.
(Photo: Paul Seymour)

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…

A group of people dancing in coloured lights
Nick and Kiwi on the dancefloor
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
A group of people dancing
Mawson goes disco!
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
2 mrn in wigs pointing at camera
Brett and Cormac looking ‘hairband’ 70's
(Photo: Lincoln Mainsbridge)
A man in fancy dress looks at camera
Mal won best dressed for the night, having gone the ‘gangster’ look.
(Photo: Lincoln Mainsbridge)
2 men dance in front of a green light
Nate and Brett dancing in the smoke and lights
(Photo: E.Rodewald)
A group shot of the team in costume
Group shot of everyone in their disco-era glory, taken in a rare moment when the smoke machine was on a break.
(Photo: Nick Cullen)