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Mt King Newsletter December - January

A big hello from the boys at Mt King - R and R centre for '79 Mawson winterers, but a scene of bustling activity for the Summer personnel.

Field activities in Enderby land got under way very shortly after the arrival of the first Nella Dan in late November. Mike Sandiford and Ed Grew have been out in the field continuously since then (as was Chris Wilson before his return to Mawson). They even declined an invitation to return to Base Camp for Christmas dinner (- keen!) and it seems that Ed is as fond as ever of sledgies and apples.

The musical trio of Lance 'McGirty' Black, Pat 'McGaldy' James and Simon Harley (the Scarlet Ayatollah) operated mainly out of Mt King doing day trips to places of geological interest. Since Lance and Pat have left Simon has been out in the field and been entertaining us all over the evening radio sked. Drew Clarke, Graeme Akerman and Steve Scherl have also been operating out of camp. Their ice radar programme has been concluded and this will leave more time for JMR work and dyke sampling.

There was great excitement on the 2nd January with the arrival of the tractor train from Mawson and our numbers swelled to over thirty for a while. Gary Hardie, Fred Humphries, Robert Yost (Rusty) and Shane Rollins are still with us dividing their time between supporting the geologists in the field and looking after the camp. The other members of the traverse team have subsequently returned to Mawson or sailed for home.

All these comings and goings would have been impossible without John Marsden and Holger Nimz and their Pilatus Porter Aeroplane. John likes spending his weekends in the bright lights of Mawson but always comes back to us with goodies that make life more enjoyable in 'the bush'.

For transport in the field our three helicopters come into their own with Vic Barkell, Leigh Hornsby and Bruce Cameron at the controls. Bruce had Lance as a slightly reluctant passenger on field trips, Lance only stepping aboard if Bruce promised not to do any 'aerorotations'. Helicopter engineers Ashley Lewis and Gavin Cochead have spent all their time at base - Gavin is our movie projectionist and Ashley our News-In-Charades reader. A news reading is the highlight of life at Mt King though we're not sure if Ash's charades would pass on the ABC.

The radio parcol is the nerve centre of Mt King with Syd Kirkby, Mike Knox-Little, John Caswell (who took over from Adrian Blake) Ian Anderson and Bob Schahinger (who took over from Mike Holmes) looking after the programmes, radio communications and the weather. During the recent blizzard it looked as though Ian would be spending quite some time in this building (owing to its doorway blocking up with drift) but for the timely intervention of Rusty in a D5 tractor.

Many pastimes have been employed to while away the hours when the weather has not been good enough for flying - these have included Marjong, chess, patience, kite and balloon flying, and snow sliding over Siever's Ridge and we're all getting fat on the delectable meals that emanate from Dave Hardy's tiny kitchen van (Dave has been taking the new hands for runs with the dogs to overcome some of the damage to the waistline) - but the highlight of the summer has undoubtably been the visit of ten of us to Molodezhnaya where we were royally entertained by our Russian colleagues, the helicopter staying for two nights and the porter for three.

As the summer wears on the pile of rocks waiting for the return to Mawson grows steadily larger. It is only rumour that they are going to be used as filling for the foundations for the new powerhouse.

Operations will be winding down over the next few weeks so we're all looking forward to returning to Mawson to sail for home or settle in for the year.

Best wishes to all you folks at home.

N.B. Mike Sexton has also sailed for home after five weeks in the field doing magnetic readings so Brian Gaull has come out from Mawson to continue this work and is currently at Proclamation Island with Barry Sloane from National Mapping.

Lloyd Fletcher and Andy Lark the medico's provided this months newsletter.

Love to all at home Cheers Blundell.