Welcome back to our regular Mawson Station update, with the end of August nearly upon us and the start of spring season.
I say spring season somewhat tongue-in-cheek though, as our weather is still very much winter-like. Last month’s ‘no-blizz July’ was quickly forgotten with a barrage of blizzards across August, taking our season tally to 34. In addition to the blizzards, our average daily temperatures remain in the −20’s, with lows of −29 degrees on a few occasions. Despite the cold temps, we are enjoying more and more daylight each day, with the end of August seeing our day length extended to 9.5 hours.
August also officially marked the halfway point of our season. With that milestone, our operations focus now turns to summer season planning, which is now less than 3-months away. As such, each different work area is busy actioning key work tasks as we prepare for our station population to double when summer expeditioners arrive in November via intercontinental flights from Davis Station.
One of August’s highlights has been recreational field trips to the Auster Emperor penguin rookery. Located 60-kilometres east of Mawson Station across the sea ice, visits to Auster Rookery are a traditional highlight of Mawson winters. The trip to Auster generally takes 4–5 hours in a Hägglunds, with expedition teams staying overnight in nearby Macey Hut (approximately 7-kilometres from Auster). The happy smiling faces and amazing photographs each team returns with confirm how amazing this experience continues to be for the winter team.
On the social front, another August highlight was Mawson winning the annual interstation darts competition. The competition saw some fun and hard-fought matches against the other Australian stations (Macquarie Island, Casey and Davis).
I'll end this update by highlighting the exciting refit work being undertaken on Rumdoodle Hut. Rumdoodle is arguably the most iconic field hut at Mawson, having been a feature of expeditions in the Framnes Mountains since 1986. Back in May this year, a combined infrastructure and mechanical team returned Rumdoodle to station for a well-deserved refit. Led by our Carpenter Chris ‘Scottish’ George, the refit has included a full cabinetry, electrical, and painting make-over. ‘Rumdoodle Hut 2.0’ is due for a return to the field in September — stay tuned for that story in coming updates.
Kyle (Station Leader)