This week one of our diesel mechanics, Alex, shares a few of his favourite photographs. Meanwhile, the station spends a long weekend confined to quarters as the weather decides to ignore the modelling and treat us to 150km/h winds!

A week at Mawson in photos

Alex McPartland is a diesel mechanic at Mawson and has shared some of his favourite photos. There's been plenty of time to choose them, with the station locked down for the best of a week due to wild weather!

Alex (Mawson Diesel Mechanic)

A Long Weekend Thwarted by Blizzard

Due to the nature of operations on station, there can be times throughout the year when we must work through a normal public holiday. When this happens, as a team, we can decide when to take another day off in lieu to catch our breath and hopefully enjoy some of the fantastic experiences to be had here at Mawson (i.e. see the penguins!!) With this in mind, we had designated Monday as a day off to give us just such a long weekend.

Plans were made, and names and destinations were put up on the field hut and vehicle booking board. A group would head out to Béchervaise Island and just relax in the Googies (have a read about these amazing huts at ). Another two groups planned to drive the Hägglunds out to the Auster emperor penguin colony, knowing that the chicks have just started to walk on their own.

However, despite our fantastic weather forecast models provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, the weather had other plans. After a beautiful calm Friday (well, it was still gusting to 50km/h, but that is great for Mawson), the weekend came, and so did the wind. Saturday saw clouds and a steadily increasing breeze up to about 70km/h, and then on Sunday, we were hit. Travel conditions became red as the wind exceeded 110km/h, and visibility dropped to only a metre or two. Red conditions mean no leaving our living quarter building unless essential, and even then, only in pairs and radioing in for safety before departure and upon reaching the next building. On Sunday, the wind hit gusts of 150km/h. Monday was a little calmer; however, strong winds continued to blow snow down from the plateau, making any vehicle travel too unsafe to consider.

So, what do nineteen people do when they can’t go outside? We still saw a big benefit of the long weekend: catching up on reading, watching movies, playing darts and pool, crochet projects, or even just sleeping. With the day also designated as a ‘catch and kill’ day where we each make our own meals from the left-over fridge, it was easy to graze for food as we desired.

Although the chance to see the emperor penguin chicks will have to wait until next weekend, we at least renewed our batteries. This proved to be exceptionally fortuitous as the weather, with something of a sense of irony, decided that enough was enough and gave us clear skies for the rest of the week. This allowed us to brave the cold -30°C night and get some amazing photographs of the Aurora Australis. Oh well, sleep will have to wait until the next blizzard!

Cat (Mawson Station Leader)

Aurora Australis over the wind turbine