Just two days until Christmas on station and we able to slow down a little for a few days of R&R before we commence the mad rush that is the countdown until the end of our time here on station.
Christmas is looking to be a wonderful celebration here at Mawson; Donna has been cooking up a storm already (Christmas cakes have been soaking in brandy for the last month!), the decorations were put up on Sunday and the Red Shed now looks like someone vomited tinsel everywhere (the tree is beautiful standing in front of the windows with the spectacular view of the ice plateau in the distance – a true white Christmas), and the Kris Kringle present preparation is underway. We’re even decorating gingerbread men on Friday night and organising a movie marathon (with everyone’s favourite Christmas movies) for Christmas Eve. So, there will be no shortage of celebrations at Mawson!
This week we are happy to report the successful hatching of the first Adélie penguin chicks of the summer. They are currently so new and little that they hardly have the strength to hold up their heads on their little skinny necks. They have just enough spunk to chirp very loudly to be fed and then, once the ‘whole of body experience’ is complete, they are so tuckered out that it’s suddenly nap time. Where they hunker down once again in their mother or father’s warm brood pouch for a restorative rest. Other eggs are still incubating under the watchful eye of the adults… and the skuas who are looking for a tasty meal. The circle of life on full display in front of our eyes.
With the 24-hours of daylight and warmer weather everyone is busy finishing up jobs – fuel transfers, wind turbine works, preparations for the MPH shut-down, completing science support out in the field, preparing Christmas feasts, and starting to think about resupply and packing of the cargo which is to return to Australia (along with us). Amongst all that, our newest three arrivals on station finally got the opportunity to complete their survival and field travel training this last week. So, after a night in their trusty bivvy AKA ‘chip packet’ they are now officially signed off and able get out into the field and make the most of the beautiful Mawson surrounds. They will join the winterers as they plan those trips up onto the plateau to discover the views from on top the Framnes Mountains, visit the ice lakes and wind scours, and luxuriate in the field huts with a cheese platter, perhaps a nice glass of vino and partake in a furiously competitive game of cards or two.
How is it that we’ve had a year here, and yet we are still rushing towards the finish line, working hard to get everything completed and to ensure we get those last trips to our favourite field huts? Still so much to see and the time is evaporating before our eyes.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.