Four expeditioners, Trevor, Kate, Mark G and Mark B, led by Field Training Officer Gemma headed off, hauling packs by sled, across Kista Strait for Bèchervaise Island (Béche) to undergo the first survival training of the year.
There are four huts on Béche, a melon (fibreglass hut shaped like a melon), a traverse van (small caravan on a sled) and two googies (fibreglass hut shaped like an egg on its side). Over the summer on the island, scientists monitor and track penguin numbers and weights (using a weigh bridge). However, over winter it is used as a field hut and this year, the location of our survival training. Luckily the weather was fine with less than 20 knots of wind and a balmy −20°C.
Gemma ran us through the finer points of lying in a bivvy bag, fault-finding Shellite stoves and not getting lost using maps and a compass (pro tip – hold on to the map tightly!). Trevor, our communications officer, was convinced the GPS was a far superior method and ran off for ten metres in some arbitrary direction to prove it.
After a supper of ‘dinner-in-a-bag’ and a good night’s sleep our intrepid team made their way back to station safely, making the training exercise a complete success.