Monday, June 20, 2016

75 - Mid Winters and cool clouds.....

Hello friends

well mid winters is upon us, and back in the real world mid winters celebrations have started this weekend with a ANARE club (Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition) dinner in Hobart on the weekend. To many this time of the year means nothing at all but to us it's a special time. Special as it means the winter solstice has passed and the sun that has been missing from our skies will now slowly start to show itself again.

Ive actually been surprised how easily it's been to get use to the fact that the most we get as far as sunlight is concerned is twilight for 3-4 hours a day. Maybe it's because of all the shift work I did when I was involved in the bakeries but it's been easy. Its also a time for me to be a little nostalgic on the traditions and footsteps i'm following.

Im part of a relatively rare club now only approximately 5060 people before me have joined in the 69 years as part of the ANARE and Australian Antarctic Division. The 69th ANARE totals 72 people this year with 16 wintering here at Davis, 15 wintering at Mawson and Macquarie Island and 26 wintering at Casey Station. We do have it much easier than they did back in the day.

1898 was the first time anyone wintered over here in Antarctica with 10 men and 75 sledging dogs. With many hardships and near death experiences. Fire and asphyxiation caused a couple close calls which still to this day are dangers we face. Some interesting reading HERE on Carsten Borchrevink a Norwegian born Australian who was part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

The first 10 to winter in Antarctica as part of the British Antarctic Expedition 1989-1900 included the names below and if your interested in knowing more have a look HERE.

Bernacchi, Louis Charles - Astronomer and Physicist -
Borchgrevink, Carsten E. - Expedition leader - 
Colbeck, William - Magnetic observer and cartographer - W
Ellifsen, Kolbein - Cook - W
Evans, Hugh - Assistant zoologist - W
Fougner, Anton - Scientific Assistant - W
Hanson, Nicolai - Zoologist - W

Klovstad, Herlof - Medical Officer - W
Must, Ole - a Norwegian Laplander - W
Savio, Persen - a Norwegian Laplander - W
 One thing that did interest me when I was reading about the these guys was the name of the ship they sailed down on.  The SS Southern Cross maybe because all the talk about the new ice breaker we are currently building but really does sum up both Australia and also with the Antarctic history you never know. Have a look at that ship HERE.

So 1913 Midwinters in Commonwealth Bay winter had all the more famous names like:

Dr. D. Mawson          Commander of the Expedition
Lt. R. Bage            Astronomer, Assistant Magnetician & Recorder of Tides
C.T. Madigan           Meteorologist
Lt. B.E.S. Ninnis      In charge of Greenland dogs
Dr. X. Mertz           In charge of Greenland dogs
A.L. McLean            Chief Medical Officer, Bacteriologist
F.H. Bickerton         In charge of air-tractor sledge
A.J. Hodgeman          Cartographer and Sketch Artist
J.F. Hurley            Official Photographer
E.N. Webb              Chief Magnetician
P.E. Correll           Mechanic and Assistant Physicist
J.G. Hunter            Biologist
C.F. Laseron           Taxidermist & Biological Collector
F.L. Stillwell         Geologist
H.D. Murphy            In charge of Expedition stores
W. H. Hannam           Wireless Operator and Mechanic
J.H. Close             Assistant Collector
L.A. Whetter           Surgeon

more about their story HERE.

And for their midwinters they produced this 

The Pic is obviously one of Hurleys more famous pics but it was pit together for the AAE 
(Australian Antarctic Expedition).  

So basically I guess im trying to say how honoured I feel to be part of it. So as is tradition to send out invitations to loved one im going to extend one to you. Fire up the tardis, dust off the magic carpet and get yourselves down here its going to be fun.

 Your now invited so better hurry and get yourself here only a little over 24 hours to get here!!

If you can make it dont worry ill be doing another blog later this week to fill you all in on the days events.

Last weekend (L/R in pic below)Ladge, Jen, Vas, Chris, Scott and Aaron decided we were going to have a Ice bar and this is what they knocked up. Like the ice bars back home but outside not in a freezer!

Pic : Aaron Stanley
 On grand opening night hawaiian shirts all round for a quick pic as the drinks were beginning to freeze, i guess that one downfall.

Pic : Aaron Stanley
Last Friday we had the coolest we have had so fat this did get down to -38c but only managed to get a screenshot

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures from outside as I was madly working on food for mid winters but the exhaust from the main power house (MPH) was hanging in the air. Really was spectacular but yea it was coolish thats for sure. 

A little earlier we did have some Noctilucent clouds show up. Amazing clouds these pics don't do them justice. There was only a little patch but you can imagine a sky full is mind blowing.  

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
SO these particular clouds are around 80km above the ground and can only be seen when the sun is below the horizon. Have a look HERE for the technical stuff about them but you could also have a look at the video below which is pretty cool!!

So tomorrow we will be getting the swimming hole ready for our swim. Its going to be great, i've done it once before when I was living in Canada with my good friend Mary. She suggested it and I told her I would only if she did. I did let her wear a short sleeved and short legged wetsuit but she did it and i don't think she has ever fully forgiven me for that. It was -27c that day and within minutes of getting out my hair was frozen. Not going to have that problem this time as well.........I don't have ANYWHERE as much hair. 

Anyhoo think its a good time to wrap this one up as you'll be getting another soon enough. 

Wishing everyone a Happy Mid Winters!! 

Take Care


P.S..........."Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish miracles." 
Og Mandino