Get to know our building services supervisor Mitch, and we start sea-ice training.

Meet an expeditioner: Mitch, our Building Services Supervisor and Electrician

Name: Mitch Britton

Nicknames: Mitch, Loki

From: Lithgow NSW

Previous seasons: Casey 18/19 & 21/22

Job title: BSS/Electrician & Postie

Describe your role in two sentences: Work with each of the trades to help organise and get stuff done and jump on the tools in between.

What did you do before your joined the AAD? Underground coal mine sparkie.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Mawson? Working in with everyone around station and the added challenges the environment makes.

If you were not a electrician what would be your dream job? Aid worker.

How does this season at Mawson compare to your previous seasons down south? Windier, but good people each time is the common denominator.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Sit in the dog room with a cup of tea and enjoy the view.

What song sums up your Mawson experience so far? Sandstorm by Darude.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 76th ANARE season here at Mawson? Animal from the Muppets.

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why? Rum Doodle, for its creature comforts.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? My wristlets.

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why? The Alchemist and Forrest Gump, story telling at its finest.

What is your typical 'Slushy FM' genre? Do you have a particular favourite? Anything and everything. Upbeat just before knock off to lure the helpers in for a hand at the end of the night.

Describe your Mawson experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste. The sun setting over Horseshoe Harbour, Nick's cooking permeating the red shed, the lunch bell over the radio, feeling puffed walking up from the workshop, the delicious fare Nick provides as Chef.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with? The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. - Pierre de Coubertin

Mitch (Mawson BSS)

Horseshoe Harbour sea-ice open!

This week has been relatively subdued on station, with the shorter days made even shorter by heavily overcast skies and strong winds that have kept us mostly huddled up inside. While the winds were strong, they nonetheless were well short of blizzard level, and thankfully the temperatures have also remained below minus 10 degrees, allowing the sea ice in the harbour and further afield to set nicely. We did manage to get a short break in the weather to film a Mother's Day message from some of the team, which was well received by those missing us back home.

Since our drilling at the end of last week showed us that the ice was over 60 cm thick throughout the harbour, we have now received approval to officially open the sea ice season for Mawson with access to the ice in Horseshoe Harbour! Practically this means that we need to train all of our team in both the theory and practice of sea ice travel. This includes checking for tide cracks before moving from the land onto the ice, regularly drilling as we travel, what equipment we need to always have with us, and most importantly - what to do if you find yourself or one of the team breaking through the ice and into the water below.

The weather has only just started to provide the opportunity to start the practical side of this training. So we wait with bated breath for the forecast to hold true and the winds to die down over the next few days. (It is at these times we do remind ourselves of the saying - 'welcome to Antarctica, where the seasons don't matter and the forecast is made up'...however, we can still hope and plan!) In preparation though, we can learn the theory, and so Dave, our Field Training Officer, delivered a comprehensive lesson in the cinema for the whole team.

The end of the week also brought around our monthly medical checkups with our station doctor, Marissa. In what can only be presumed to be a completely intentional move designed to add on the kilograms before our weigh-ins, Nick, our chef, outdid himself with desserts throughout the week, with choc-chip bread and butter pudding, sourdough doughnuts, and some fantastic double-chocolate macadamia nut brownies! I am just hoping that my time spent on the climbing wall, playing badminton, and quite a few kilometres on the treadmill have been enough to work such delights off.

Cat (Mawson SL)

Keeping fit on the climbing wall - time-lapse by Ben John