Family, blizzards, and midwinter approaches

We are family

Mawson station, 12+ months: people think you’re crazy for even suggesting the thought of leaving your loved ones for more than a year. This is my second trip to the most southern continent after doing a summer at Casey in 2019, however this time I’m here for a winter at Mawson.

So, why are we here? There are lots of reasons whether it be just to work, or supporting the science, or for a sense of adventure. Everyone here has their own reasons but there’s one thing we all share - it is an experience of a life time!

Yes, we are here working, however, one thing I have learnt over time is that “You’ll never work a day in your life if you love your job!”. I truly believe in this statement as I really enjoy what I do and the experience I’m having.

Early on in our journey to the deep south that is known as Antarctica, we sat down as a team and developed our 'station charter'. This captured our collective beliefs, our mission statement for how we would live and work together for the year as a cohesive unit. We came up with the moto #Be Best, Don’t Die, and linked to that, we chose a few guiding words to live by:-

  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Good human, be best
  • Stewardship
  • Adventurous Spirit


Recently I looked back at this work, completed before we departed Hobart and I truly feel that this represents our small team here at Mawson. We each show a high standard of professionalism in our particular roles, we all contribute collectively showing great teamwork, we behave as good humans, we all actively display Antarctic stewardship and our adventurous spirit - getting out to experience something of a life time… and it’s all tied in with #awesomemawson.

If I could add one more word it would be “family”. I have come to know this Brady Bunch collection of people over the last few months. We all have our quirks, but I’d be there for any of them in a heartbeat, by holding up the other end of the new fuel line, to walking in threes to work in a blizzard, or chatting about the “Hollow Earth Theory” (it’s real, they made a movie!).

Next week is a big occasion for us all as we celebrate a most auspicious date in the Antarctic calendar, midwinter day (winter solstice). And it wouldn’t be right without celebrating with a winter solstice swim. So it's time to show great courage as we take to the icy waters of Antarctica. I’m first off, so this will be interesting, with an expectation that I’ll be setting the bar for everyone. Wish me luck!

Cheers, Tyson Langer

P.S Just a couple of pictures to share…

All quiet in Eastern Antarctica

In fear of being repetitious, we’ve had another blizzard this week. From Thursday to Monday, high winds generally confined us to living quarters and work spaces. The saddest thing about this - Monday was our last glimpse of the sun until 30th June, but that glimpse just wasn’t possible. It was obscured by blowing snow. I can’t tell you what the winds were (exactly) as our anemometer broke right at the onset of the blizzard. So, we’ve been estimating using the anemometer on top of the wind turbine (but at 30 m up, we’re approximating those readings were about 10 to 15 kts higher than at ground level). We need to wait until the winds drop to be able to fix our anemometer… will that ever happen at Mawson?

Being confined is a great opportunity to finish up our preparations for midwinter celebrations. The work on gifts – we do a Kris Kringle with homemade gifts – has been frantic (for those less organised or less skilled trying to finish up and spending many hours working away over the weekend). So many hours spent. Will your gift stand up to the competition? Especially as we want to make sure that every Mawson family member gets a great present that they love – so there’s a huge amount of pressure.

Meanwhile, Donna (our chef) has been working away on the midwinter feast. The planning and preparation of this gastronomic extravaganza has been a key focus of her attentions for weeks. My mouth is watering just thinking about our wonderful meal that is to come next Tuesday!

So, with blizz, loss of the sun, and frantic preparations for midwinter – we have been generally hibernating this week. Lots of indoor time.

But today the skies cleared, the wind dropped somewhat and we had the most extraordinary twilight sending an orange glow across the station buildings and ice plateau. It’s good to know that every storm must come to an end eventually… and just in time for a dip in the icy Antarctic waters.

Bec J