It’s nice to have some peace and quiet, no ship in the bay, no inter or intra continental flights. So time to concentrate on kicking those big science goals.
Despite being hampered by some unfriendly weather (apparently helicopters and planes don’t like snow or low cloud or strong winds) we've still managed to be busy getting our Casey summer scientists out and about. It’s also been an excellent opportunity for the rest of our Casey team, not usually involved, to join the science teams out in the field and experience with them the beauty of the Antarctic environment and wildlife.
The King project team, David S supported by Mic R, Greg and Clint, has been lucky enough to get to the Bunger Hills (230nm west of Casey), with flying visits to Mt Strathcona and Mt Sandow in order to collect erratic rock samples, to install seismometers, and collect data from seismometers and GPS instruments already insitu.
The base camp of Edgeworth David (ED) at Bunger Hills is also the site of an Automatic Weather Station (AWS), so I was lucky enough to escort Sean, our Met Tech, on the flight (which was scheduled to return the King team to Casey) to undertake the Bunger Hills AWS maintenance for the year. Despite being a little windy on top of the hill, the maintenance was successful and the AWS at Bunger Hills is now transmitting the weather observations across the globe.
Just over the hill from ED the Russian Antarctic Expedition has set up camp for a month-long geological research expedition, supported from a ‘mother’ ship sitting 70nm offshore. Our team dropped in to their camp for cuppa on the way back to ED one evening and diplomatic relations in Antarctica were enhanced over a discussion comparing maps of the area.
Clint, our Supervising Communications Technical Officer (SCTO), and his willing band of helpers has been out to Ardery Island, to the west of the station operating area, to re-install four ‘bird-watching’ cameras for the Southwell project. A long trip requiring three boats for support was an excellent chance for some sightseeing for the land party and competent crew. The penguins and icebergs did not disappoint.
The Jolley team have been out on the water monitoring their sites and entertaining the local wildlife (see 'Penguin pops in' video on the AAD website). Even the Spedding remediation team has had the opportunity to get off station and undertake some ecotox sampling at Wilkes.
All in all a successful and busy week of science. Now we just need to get the Galton-Fenzi TIDE team out onto the Totten Glacier, weather dependent of course…
By Rebecca Jeffcoat, SL Casey