The days are getting shorter as we venture out from station

Science work in the field

With the sun getting closer to the horizon every day, this week has seen good progress on the donga renovations, another harvest of delectable greens from hydroponics, Hägglunds training and a hand in science with our weekly measurements of sea ice thickness at four sites. Additionally Trevor, our comms guy and brew-master extraordinaire, has recently started maintenance of the bird cameras. This week Trevor and I headed out to the Rookery Islands, about 15km west of Mawson station and an ASPA (Antarctic Specially Protected Area). We were accompanied by chippy Danny and Met observer Danielle, who ensured we had a beautiful clear day with barely a breath of wind and a nice crisp -20ºC.

On three islands we checked and maintained cameras for Adélie penguins and one for Cape petrels. Icebergs that had once been pushed up against jutting islands are now frozen in the sea ice, creating fantastic icy labyrinths between the islands. With the sun now in perpetual sunrise or sunset, the golden or pink light on these icebergs and the ice cliffs a short distance away, was a breathtaking sight.

With the ASPA cameras done, we continued west past Forbes Glacier to do maintenance on a camera just past the glacier. As the glacier makes its way slowly into the sea, this area is notorious for large cracks which form in the sea ice. At one point, the presence of a seal on the ice alerted us to a crack open to the water which we negotiated without issue. But a mere 1.5km away from the camera, a large crack with open water barred us from going any further. Although we had to turn around here, on our way back to station the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to see a nearly full moon rising from behind Mt Henderson. A truly spectacular finish to an awesome day.

Gemma, Field Training Officer