Good weather allowed lots of activity this week — both on and off station.

Of SAR, Haggs, and Auster

Better weather this week has seen people heading off in various directions to make the most of favourable conditions.

On Thursday FTO Mark ran a search-and-rescue (SAR) exercise on rigging a SARINZ system (mainline and belay) as part of our preparation for our upcoming LAST exercise. Making the most of the blizz tail by the Red Shed and the ‘cliff’ edge created by road clearing, everyone on station participated to rescue an ‘injured’ Nate from the bottom of the ‘cliff'.

With the sun out and the wind low, we were able to use our fingers to complete complicated moves and built the system in good time — much better than the last time we were on this blizz tail learning Hägg recovery!

Fine weather on Friday saw a group return to the plateau for the first time since May to check cane lines, field huts, hut comms and the repeater at Mt Henderson which has been down. Whilst conditions at Mt Henderson managed to be miserable due to an extremely localised snow storm, the repeater was repaired and the group moved on to check Rumdoodle and Fang Huts.

Numerous canes (which are used as route markers on the GPS line) haven’t managed to stay upright after the harsh winter winds and will need to be replaced. Aside from some limited snow ingress through doors and vents, all huts were in good condition and are now all ready for the summer jolly season.

Sadly, on return to extended station limits, Blue Hägg decided it didn’t want to go anymore which required a rescue and for the Hägg to be towed back on to station: it’s out of action until we get a new bit from Kingston via V1. Luckily it happened close to station which made recovery much easier.

Auster Rookery had visitors again over the weekend and during the week: the chicks are growing and Weddell seals have been spotted en route. Some of the trades team have been out to Béchervaise Island to make summer season preparations for the seabird research team before the Adélies come home. Won’t be long and we'll have Adélie penguin photos to share here as the seasons change and more wildlife returns!