Get to know an expeditioner

Meet Alana, our Meteorological Observer

Name: Alana-Jayne Moore

Nicknames: Lans, Lana

From: Perth, WA. (Born in Chch, NZ, Grew up in Adelaide, SA)

Previous seasons? Macquarie Island 2019/2020 (winterer)

Job title: Meteorological Observer

Describe your role in two sentences: Sky watcher, ensemble interpreter, coffee drinker with a big chunk of admin and study thrown in this year.

What did you do before you joined the AAD? I have been working for the Bureau of Meteorology for over 10 years now at different locations within Western Australia, including Cocos Islands, Albany, Esperance, Learmonth/Exmouth, Halls Creek and Perth Airport.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Mawson? Being in Antarctica... An amazing experience that so few get the chance to do.

If you were not a Meteorological Observer what would be your dream job? Food and travel photographer. Although, I’ve always been fascinated by past climate and climate shifts, so Palaeoclimatologist has always been on the list.

How does this season at Mawson compare to your previous seasons down south? Far less wildlife around. No greenery (except for Hydro). Blizzards. The temperature is 20-30 degrees colder. Incredibly different scenery – feels like being on another planet. Ice, icebergs, sea ice.. ice, ice baby.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Photography, drawing, paint pouring, cooking, watching TV/movies or getting out and about.

What song sums up your Mawson experience so far? Under the Water by Aurora. Ran through my head constantly in the lead up to the Midwinter swim.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 75th ANARE season here at Mawson? Scarlett Johansson. It's a height thing.

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why? Every hut has it’s charms and beautiful views. Macey for proximity to the Auster emperor penguin colony. Béche because I love the googy huts.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? Carhartt overalls. I feel like a 2-year-old toddler waddling around in them, but they are so comfortable and warm.

What is your favourite movie and why? What We Do In The Shadows – classic. Hunt For The Wilderpeople a close second.

What is your typical 'Slushy FM' genre? Something for everyone. A lot of Pearl Jam, Florence, Teskey Brothers, Aurora, Midnight Oil, Opshop, Linkin Park, Crowded House, Meg Mac, MØ.. I just keep adding to it all the time.

Describe your Mawson experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

Sight: Ice. The shapes and colours are so beautiful.

Smell: Eucalyptus for cleaning. Eye watering - but better than the Orange Power toilet spray.

Sound: Chunks of ice under my feet, kicking it around.

Feeling: Painfully cold hands.

Taste: Donna’s Cajun popcorn. Addictive.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with? You lose a lot of heat in the neck. (Wayne from Letterkenny)

The amazing Bécherviase Island field camp

Just five kilometres off Mawson, across the sea ice, lies Béchervaise Island.

A fabulous little getaway from station in the winter months and, usually, in the summer months the location of incredible scientific program which has been running for 30 years.

The field camp has been established as part of the Béchervaise penguin monitoring program, a long-standing scientific program which aims to monitor and assess the Adélie penguins that call Béche home, in order to determine population status and trends and to identify and understand current, potential or emerging threats to their species so long-term conservation needs can be identified.

So when we, the wintering team, are lucky enough to visit on a little mini-break from station - it’s incredible to see the infrastructure that has been built in order to monitor all things Adélie – for example to be able to monitor breeding successes by understanding population size or fishing successes by monitoring the weight of the birds when they head out to fish and then when the return, so working out how well each fishing expedition has gone.

So, we find infrastructure set up around the penguin colonies (or where they’ll be when they return in late October, at the moment just marked out by lots of guano) – such as the bird hide, weigh bridges, solar panels and mini penguin-sized fences.

In addition, are four huts – a Melon, a Transverse Van, and two Googies – and these are where the science team live and work throughout the summer – or where we on station can have our winter getaway. The “Living Googie” seems almost luxurious by Antarctic field hut standards with lots of space to move around, a large central table, three beds (each with their own window) and plenty of bench space for preparing meals on the gas stove. It also heats up pretty well with a very efficient gas heater (most important during an Antarctic winter!).

This recent visit was the first trip to Béche for the four lucky enough to go; and we were awed by the lunar landscape as we walked around the field camp and amazed by the ingenuity of the science teams who have develop such incredible systems over the many years they have been on site to be able to effectively monitor our Adélie neighbours. We were also blessed by a beautiful aurora shining above the spacecraft like Googies later into the evening – braving the cold in spurts to attempt to take photos.

All in all, a great location for a mini-break. But also an extremely important field site for one of the incredible science programs that is part of the Australian Antarctic Program. We can’t wait to return and see it in action once the Adélie penguins join us for the summer.

Bec J, SL