Alana shows us the colours of Mawson, and they're not just outside on the ice

Mawson really is awesome

As the days are getting shorter, the temperature is falling and the wildlife has left us, the station has changed gears and is now settling into the next phase. Winter.

You can really see the changes around us every day. The colours of the sky and ice, the auroras and the number of clothing layers we need to wear outside. I still don’t know who I’m talking to sometimes under the balaclavas, and any warmth or sensation in my hands is lost to me at least twice a day.

Every day it changes and every day we say the same thing to each other, ‘How lucky are we to be HERE? '.

It’s so hard to describe the colours of the sunrises and sunsets, going from bright oranges and reds, to soft pastel pinks and purples. The plateau and the ice cliffs take on these hues that look almost unreal. When the snow drifts and swirls through station on the wind, you start to feel a little like you’re on another planet… and you have to pinch yourself sometimes when you’re lying in bed and there is a bright aurora dancing in the sky right above you. Surreal.

The landscape of ice has changed so much too. From open ocean to solid ice in just a few weeks. It morphs from liquid to solid in various ways I didn’t even know existed. Grease, pancake, frazil, needle ice just to name a few. After a blizzard it’s quite amazing where snow and ice ends up, and what patterns it can make. There are a few expeditioners here with creative sides - including myself - that have already been busy snapping away with our cameras capturing some of nature's artworks. Sometimes it doesn’t really compare to what we see with our own eyes though.

It’s my second trip south - first to the continent - and I can’t compare this to any other station… but every time I look out the window, I do feel so incredibly lucky to be here.

by Alana-Jayne Moore

Senior Met Observer

80s fabulousness and our sea-ice is open

Returning to a five-day week would usually have been a little difficult, but we’ve been so busy here at Mawson that the week has flown by.

The second of our large Search and Rescue exercises – concentrating on station search – was conducted on Friday. With the station broken into search zones, the team was sent out to find clues that Mark, our sneaky Senior Field Training Officer, had hidden (the clues a replacement for looking for a lost person). Exercising the search zones proved to all that we have an excellent system in place, ensuring a well-coordinated search of the full station, including in all the buildings, can be undertaken in approximately 45 minutes.

Successful search completed we then decorated the bar (and ourselves) in our lairiest fluoro 80s memorabilia (Walkman, Swatch watches, brick mobile phones, Atari, and Care Bears to name a few), in preparation for Tyson’s 40th birthday celebrations. After a pub meal of chicky parma and onion rings it was 80s karaoke time and everyone made an effort to look their sartorial 80s best. Mullets, fluoro, fanny packs and shoulder pads galore. A stark reminder of why we moved on from those fashions, and hopefully will never go back! And then there was the karaoke. Let’s just say the night was a perfect recreation of the horror, or is it the perfection (?), of the 80s.

After Friday night's big celebration it was a relatively quiet weekend, with many people spending time in the hobby hut working on their midwinter gift creations, or alternatively exercising, sleeping-in or watching movies. We may also have a surprise for our mums that we worked on in preparation for Mother's Day.

Colder temperatures and shorter days have made for perfect sea-ice growing weather. Testing around the station in East Bay, West Bay and Kista Straight have proven our ice thicknesses, allowing for the opening of the winter sea-ice operating area for Mawson.

First step, sea-ice training, conducted on Tuesday. The station population is now fully au fait with how to correctly drill and measure the ice for science projects, ensure thickness for travel purposes, and save ourselves (or someone else) should there be a break-through when walking across the ice. Heaven forbid as it would be a little cold!

Next stop, Hagg recovery training after which we’ll be one more step closer to making our way to the emperor penguins.

Wishing our mums a very happy Mother's Day. We'll be thinking of you.

Bec J, SL