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Mawson Newsletter - August 1980
Probably the greatest event of the month was the forthcoming announcement of Jumbo's engagement to Melody?? Congratulations Jumbo - condolences Melody. This was brought forward several years by the humane invitation from Melody for Jumbo to fly to the Greek Islands for a romantic interlude.
Compared to the above news the rest of the newsletter may seem ordinary. However we will endeavour to highlight the main events as follows.
Field trips got underway for August with Tom and Drobo "manhauling" to Rumdoodle with two novice Huskies and a third who sense enough to return to Mawson as soon as the first nights camp was pitched. Most of the time was spent recovering from the ten hour trip, but was compensated for by a three hour dash home.
A party of four left Mawson's protective shield on the 7th to travel to Taylor's Rookery with two dog teams. Slk and Raincoat lead the way with Dagur and Drobo in hot pursuit. After camping on the islands along the coast their quest for Emperor penguins was successful and the return journey of 95 kilometres was completed in two and a half days, bad weather forcing a camp a few kilometres short of Mawson on the second day.
August has been a very busy month at Aeronomy, Genie had spent several days work replacing his antenna which had been destroyed in the blizzard, and continues making his 'modifications' and generally worrying about the wind speed. Cosin continues to keep the rest of the base guessing as to whether he has just risen or is about to retire, and finds time somewhere in his schedule to keep several of us in touch with home via the ham bands.
Terrible had his work cut out with his own and raincoats experiments to contend with. A real breakthrough occurred when he observed the first "Airglow" and celebrated accordingly with a few scotches. As if that wasn't enough for one month, the Terrible then had great success with an auroral observation. Consequently many more scotches were guzzled.
Sojo, mild mannered electronics engineer, has amused himself by rebuilding and operating very low frequency and micropulsation experiments, muttering into the night as he slaves over a hot soldering iron. In his other guise as Super-Ham Sojo he has perfected a telex decoder to print messages received on his ham radio.
Brutus, Rusty and Big D felt secure in the hands of the fourth member of the party - Mein Dr 50/50 as they left on a doggy trip to Auster Rookery. However after an exhausting first day our hero, 50/50, decide that his hip was beyond repair and demanded that he be nursed all the next day with all mod cons. After one day of recuperation on an island, some 30 km from Mawson, the weary travellers headed for home.
Our mad Canberra Rovers, Phredd and Cosin together are organising climbing instruction including abseiling on the cliffs of West Bay and our iceberg. Many of us are looking forward to obtaining our Grade 1 abseiling tickets.
On the 9th, Jaygee, who was admirably assisted by the trusty diesos, Siggy and Gnome, as table and wine waiters, when he prepared a superior spread including Truite Glacee au Vin Rouge, Homarde Langouste Thermidor and Peckes Milba. The occasion was a combined birthday party for Big D and Snoopy. He could have fed an army for two weeks on what was consumed that night.
Amongst the celebrators were the mad dancing septuplet including Shakey, Weather, Tuck Friar, Big D, Brutus, Lizard and Tom.
In one of the lighter moments of Mawson, Big D was mistaken for a hot dog and a bottle of tomato sauce was emptied over him. In these lighter moments of Mawson our etiquette and decorum for the homeward journey will have to be "investigated".
Wilkins donga representation at the breakfast table is second only to Dovers, owing to a "wake-up" game called "Mopoke", instigated by Siggo and Rusty. A long handled broom is inverted and applied physically to each of the sleeping members.
Owing to the lack of ailments at Mawson, 50/50 has taken his hand rather skillfully, in welding and dozer operation. Concern is being expressed as to whether he will display equal skill in surgery should the occasion arise. Lizard was seen crying on Brutus's shoulder the other day saying "50/50 won't let me have a turn at the dozer". After the drivers were swapped Lizard also demonstrated his ability as a competent operator.
Steelo has set up shop in the camera repair game, and thinking seriously of continuing this business in Australia. This has been brought about by an unfortunate incident when both of his cameras were damaged when the tripods upon which they stood were blown over whilst in the middle of his star shots.
Whilst on repair work, KCMG and Snoopy excelled themselves in rebuilding the 2 pensioned off Snowcruisers, but it is a bit much when these vehicles are heard running around Mawson at 5 am. Conversely when the power house observations are done in a 60 knot blizzard, a ball of snow, being KCMG is seen still maintaining the machine.
On the entertainment side, Snoopy has organised a pool tournament and one of the favourites to win the competition was Jumbo, but he was eliminated by our unseeded player, Nobby, who was in fine form.
Tom and Shep, our two able gynecologists, are happy report that Vida's and Charlie's litter are doing well, and that they are not aware of any other pregnancies in the camp. Shep assures us that this is so, but is concerned because of the large male population in Mawson??
Chastiv, our Sunday cook, come Glacio, excelled himself when he didn't turn water into wine, but substituted sausages for steaks when the steaks ran out.
Stix, in the meantime is going around all of the half-empty wine bottles trying to uphold his position as wine connoisseur, recently he failed when he was not able to distinguish between water and wine (hic).
A prototype dog sled, manufactured by Father and designed by Slk, has been completed. Father in his quiet and thorough way has excelled himself in this project.
After a trial on the Safety Island mapping trip from the 18th to the 25th it was declared "Super Sledge". Despite weather being a bit unkind and keeping the party - Snoopy, Bear, Steelo and Godfather tied up for two days at Macey Island and one day at Child Rocks, about half way home to Mawson, all enjoyed themselves. Snoopy is singing the praises of the new lead dog Queequeg and can be heard telling anyone who stands still long enough how Queequeg leads the team past a penguin rather than the more usual rush to investigate it.
This month's newsletter which is put together by the nerve-centre of Mawson "The Dramatic Diesos" wish all of our loved ones and others much love and happiness to all concerned and remind them that it shan't be too much longer before we will all be reunited.