The news came over the radio that the Aurora had blitzed across the Southern Ocean and was making speedy headway through the sea ice, due to arrive in the Newcombe Bay on Friday night. Weather permitting the resupply was to begin 24hrs earlier than expected. Unlike other stations Casey cannot be directly accessed by the Ship, therefore she had to moore out in the bay where 500 tonnes of cargo including a 27 tonne Excavator where to be carried in by Barge.
The Weather plays the major factor during this period, winds over 30 knots stop all Barge work and a forecast of unsteady weather prevents the Bulk fuel transfer of 840,000L of Antarctic Blend Diesel (non-freeze) from being undertaken. This process consists of a high pressure floating hose pumping Diesel across the water and up the hill to both of the stations Fuel Farms, the line is constantly monitored for the 30hr refuelling period by IRB (rubber ducky) or on foot. This is a very crucial and sensitive operation as a burst pipe could result in a catastrophic disaster, so all precautions and safety measures are taken to make sure not a drop is spilled. This diesel will supply the station for the entire year.
Rising for work at 3am each morning I was greeted by luminescent pink Icebergs glowing on the Horizon while we drove down the dirt track towards the Wharf, such a perfect way to start to the day. We where on shift and I was assigned to the Wharf Crew. In between card games and Coffees whilst waiting for the Barge to run its round trips, we unloaded containers of supplies and machinery off the Barge.
Sunday brought Day 9 and the end of Resupply. As the Aurora powered out of Newcombe Bay that afternoon we stood on the Helipad out front of the Redshed and let off handfuls of Flares into the air in Celebration of a successful resupply. In previous years this process has taken over 2 weeks due to poor weather so we where all pretty happy it had run so smoothy. The Ship now turns its focus to research, its currently sitting off a large Glacier up the coast where a team of Scientists on board will carry out experiments before returning home next month.
Monday was announced a Station Lay-day and Berg Cruises in the IRB’s where on offer. The weather was sunny and perfectly still at 7pm when we motored out to ‘Iceberg Alley’ where there are hundreds of Bergs that have become beached on shallow reefs after breaking off a nearly Glacier, some of them standing over 30m tall (these are just baby’s).
All around Parcels of Penguins where fishing and lazing on chunks of floating ice enjoying the calm afternoon. Some of these Bergs had been there for years stuck in the same spot slowly weathering away producing incredible shapes and colours, one of the most popular is called the Cathedral Berg which surely lived up to its name.
Yesterday I enjoyed my first White Christmas Day and it shaped up to be an awesome one! Santa arrived on his Sleigh and handed out all the gifts for everyone, then we dug into an amazing Aussie Christmas feast scoffing down mountains of Prawns, Oysters and Crays, it really felt like home.Today Im lazing around station before 8 of us head out to Wilkes station for the night, an abandoned American Base nearby.
From Casey Station Antarctica have a fun and safe festive season! Ill be keeping you posted on life down South and some insight into the reasons why we are actually here? Merry Christmas!!..