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Mawson Newsletter May 80

This month's newsletter was compiled by the occupants of the "hole on the hill", the night sky-watchers of Mawson at Aeronomy. We reckon it's a "hole", due to a phenomena that causes the wind speed to be at least 15 knots higher than the rest of the station. To verify the severity of the case, your special reporter went to Mawson's meteorological dept. for some official figures: April's windrun was 36810 km (take note Macquarie Island) second highest since 1955, after 1978's record of 37242 km for April. "Gennie" (Eugene Poltev) reckons that in winds over 40 knots, his little Russian radar hut shakes like a railway wagon at the same speed.

Apart from the cold outside, most of us were shivering inside as well, while a group headed by George Seidl, "Brutus" (Dave Blaby) and "Jumbo" (Graham Pryde) were modifying the powerhouse. This caused slight confusion for the night watchers, finding their good old powerhouse checklist all messed up, and this is only the beginning, they tell us, left and right lights and heaters were switched off to emphasize the power shortage.

One Saturday, the diesos also modified their workshop into a festive hall to celebrate Brutus's and Jumbo's birthdays, including the all Australian Bar-b-q of course. Liberty (Jim Vallance) went out of his way to prepare a delicious looking birthday cake. Just like everyone else, Brutus and Jumbo could hardly wait to have a taste, so they picked up a wood saw and started cutting it up. Only a sharp eye could have noticed Rusty (Robert Yost) sneaking away to a power point ready to ignite a balloon of gas stuffed in the cake. Alas, only a small spark popped up, where a big bang was expected. To make sure Jumbo had his part of the cake, Liberty decided to store a big piece in Jumbo's facial hair, or whatever remnants were landing; naturally he collected a few pieces also.

Fortunately 50/50 (Lloyd Fletcher) used finer instruments to cut a ligament which was compressing a nerve in Godfather's (Syd Kirkby's) wrist, causing pain and cramps during the night. As we could verify in a slide show provided by our station photographer (Tony Everett), the operation was smooth and bloodless. The results are very encouraging, although, combined with a bandage around an elbow bursitis, Godfather shows a close resemblance to a mummy. To indicate this victory, 50/50 has been promoted to 51/49.

Not so victorious is our TNT expert, Chas Tivendale, for the fourth time we heard him blowing a chip off our pet iceberg in the harbour. This time he tried to determine how much effort 4 ounces of explosives has on the roughly 280,000 kg weight ice cube. Rumours go that the first Nella Dan next year will be filled solely with explosives.

Talking about icebergs, another feature of this month's activities was a trip east along the sea ice to look for a large ice fall that Big Daddy (Brian Gaull) had detected on his seismographs. He obtained approval for the trip and the GT sno-trak roared out of the harbour one day with Big D, Gnome and Terrible aboard. When it returned exactly two hours later a crowd soon collected to find out what had gone wrong to curtail the trip. However, the reason for the swift return was the fact that the ice fall was only about 16 km away instead of the predicted 25 km away and it had only taken 30 minutes to reach it. The rest of the station found it hard to accept the tale of widespread destruction the travelers brought back, until a sightseeing trip the next weekend by more trustworthy members of the expedition (consisting of Jumbo, Snoopy (Garry Hardie), Sojo (Sjoerd Jongens) and the VW buggy, together with Rusty, Steelo (David Steele) and Shakey (Steve Harris) in the GT proved the truth of the matter. A large block of ice had broken from the coast and slid down the steeply sloping sea floor until it came to rest about 800 metres from the new shore, smashing the sea ice and pieces of the breakaway 'berg were strewn in an enormous field of wreckage that had Big D jumping with delight at the vindication of his interpretation of the tremors that had reached Mawson. However, as the weather appeared to be turning bad, the party only stayed long enough to take photographs and a few quick ice-thickness measurements before gunning the vehicles back to base and safety.

The first Mawson meteorite excursion to the local mountain ranges returned early due to predicted bad weather and faulty radio. Dagwood (Dagur Vilhjalmsson) and Gnome lead the white dog team, white Cosin (Kevin Campbell) and Colin McIntosh drove the black team. The quest for meteorites proved fruitless but we will keep trying.

This month's "pick of the pops" for Mawson residents:

  1. Syd "Godfather" Kirkby - "Hair" because he hasn't got much left since "Brutus" attacked it with the clippers.

  2. Chas Tivendale - "It Had To Be You" for managing to wrench the tap off the full coffee percolator, delivering the contents onto the mess floor.

  3. Rob "Friar Tuck" Taylor - "Call Me" for being the only person with a private phone.

  4. Alf "Phredd" Humphries - "I'm At The Top Of The World" for performance above the call of duty in installing a floodlight at the top of a 50 metre mast.

  5. Dagur "Dagwood" Vilhjalmsson - "Fools Rush In" for offering his knee as bait to break up a dog fight.

  6. Andy "Angry Gnome" Crook - "Baby I'm Yours" for being the most available man on the base.

  7. Peter "Stix" Stickland - "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" for already planning his trip back on Nella Dan.

  8. Jim "Liberty" Vallance - "Little Brown Jug, How I Love Thee" for his periodic (i.e. daily) vows of abstenance.

  9. Steve "Shaky" Harris - "Catch The Wind" for his superb performance on his ice-yacht.

  10. Robert "Nobby" Petrini - "Up, Up and Away In My Beautiful Balloon" for all his weather balloons.

Now you're more or less up to date with nicknames too.

Davis might beat us with the heavyweights, but the linguists are surely found at Mawson: We have six non-Australian born expeditioners. Excluding the two English born, but including the educated brains, we were able to collect ten different languages. Sorry, Mrs Rob, but here we go: Genie in Russian, Nobby in Italian, Magus (Tom Maggs) in French, Dagwood in Icelandic, George in Czech, Stix in Indonesian and Cantonese and Sojo in Dutch, Esperanto and German.

RUSSIAN:
W MAE NASH RUSSKIY INZHENER EUYENE ZAKONCHIL REBOTY PO SBORKE SWOEGO RADARA USTANOWLENNOGO NA NOWOM MESTE I ANTENNA RADARA OPJATX NACHALA WRASHATXSJA. PERWYE ZHI ISPYTANIJA RADARA POKAZALI CHO WSE NORMALXNO I NABLJUDENIJA RADIOAWRORY BUDUT PRODOLZHENY W TECHNIE 1980 GODA.

ITALIAN:
A TUTI NOSTRI FAMIGLIA E AMICI. NOI SIAMO MOLTO BENE QUI A MAWSON. META LIANNO A PASSATO PRESTO E TUTTI QUI PREGANNO QUE IL RESTO DELLE ANNO VA PRESTO ANCHE, NON SI VEDE IL TEMPO "QUANO" IL PICCOLO ROSSO BATTELO ARRIVERA E NOI RITORNIAMO A CASA.

FRENCH:
C'EST CAR IL N'Y A PERSONNE FRANCAIS ICI A MAWSON QUE VOTRE ECRIVAIN COMPOSE CETTE PIECE AVEC L'AIDE D'UN LIVRE. MAIS NE REDOUTEZ PAS - C'EST TOUTE DANS UN ESPRIT DU CAMERADERIE ET BONHOMIE, ET SEULEMENT POUR MONTE AUX HABITANTS DU RIVIERA DU SUD (DAVIS) QU'ON NE DOIT PAS JOUER AVEC LA CREME DE LA CREME DU JEUNNES HOMMES D'AUSTRLIA - LES HOMMES DUE MAWSON. "UN FOIS LE GANT EST JETE, UN FOIS LES HEROS VONT L'APPRENDRE". A BIENTOT.

ICELANDIC:
SAELT VERI POLKID. ALLT GOTT AD FRETTA HEDAN. ARID NAESTUM HALFNAD NUNA. MIDVETRAR HATID 21 JHNI. DIMMT 20 TIMA A DAG, VINDASAMT OG KALT. VONA AS ALLIR HEIMA HAFI THAD GOTT. KAER KVEDJA.

TAMIL:
SLAMET SIUMG, UPAR KABAR? MAWSON MUKAR BAIK BAIK. TERIMA KASIH, SLAMET BERKERJA. INI LAH, RADIO VLV.

CANTONESE:
JO SUN, NEI HO MAR? NGOH HAI YOU SOM. DIK SEE GWAI, HUNG LEUNG BO. MO DEEN SEE HAI MAWSON. YANG YONG DO JUNG KWOOK YUNG, DUK LUK. YOW SOM. MAUSON MM YOU YIT YAT. NGOH JUNG TEE YIT YAT, YUM SING. JOY GIN.

DUTCH:
HALLO LUITJES, IK GELOOF DAT WE DE ELF-STEDEN-TOCHT EN HET OLYMPISCHI SCHAARSTOURNOOI VOORTAAN MAAR IN MAWSON MOETEN HOUDEN. YS EN SNEEUW OENOEG. HET WORDT NATUURLYK WAY MOEILYK OM ELF STEDEN TE VINDEN, DUS WE MAKEN HET DE ELF-BASES-TOCHT.

ESPERANTO:
BONAN TAGON, EREDUCUILOJ, CI SUBE SUR ANTARKTO MALAPERI LA ESPERANTISTO EN LA NENIECO INTER CIU TIU ALIAJ EKSTERLANDANOJ. LA PERFEKTA LOKO POR PROGANDI CI TIU LINGVO.

GERMAN:
GUTEN TAG. DEUTSCHSPRECHENDE FREUNDI, ICH HABE DIESE SPRACHE SHON ZWEIMAL ANWENDEN KUNNEN: ZUERST ZUM DIRCHTELEGRAFIEREN EINER SWEIZER BRIEF NACH DAVIS, FEHLERWEISE HIER ABGELIEFERT, UND ZWEITENS ZUM CONVERSIEREN MIT ZWEI OST-BERLINER IM RUSSISCHER LANDUNGSGRUP VOM MYKHAIL SOMOV.

As a bonus, greetings come in Hebrew: SHALOM, MAZEL TOV WEH LEHITRAOT.

TRANSLATIONS:

RUSSIAN:
In May our Russian Engineer Eugene finished work on the assembly of his radar installed in a new position, and the radar antenna again began to rotate. The first trials of the radar showed that everything is normal, and observations of the radio aurora will be continued during 1980.

ITALIAN:
To all our family and friends. We are all well here at Mawson. Half of the year has passed quickly and we hope the other half will pass just as quick. We can wait for the time "when" the little red ship arrives and we will be returning home.

FRENCH:
Since I'm the only French person here at Mawson writing this, I am writing it with the aid of a book - but don't worry - It's all in a spirit of comradeship and good humour, and only to show the inhabitants of the Riviera of the South (Davis) that one must not play with the cream of Australia's young men at Mawson. Once the glove has been thrown, the heroes have got to learn. Till later!

ICELANDIC:
Hello folks. Everything is good here. Half the year is already gone. Midwinter celebrations are on 21 June. Dark 20 hours a day, windy and cold. I hope that everyone at home is well. Greetings.

CZECH:
A lot of greetings from all 31 of us. Here it is very fine but we are really looking forward to seeing you dear ones at home.

Yours, George.

DUTCH:
Hello folks, I believe that we could yet hold the 11 towns tour* and the Olympic skating competition at Mawson. Ice and snow enough. Naturally it would be difficult to find 11 towns, but we will make the 11 bases tour.

ESPERANTO:
Gooday. Greetings scholars, down here the Esperantist becomes lost in the nothingness amongst all these other foreigners! The perfect place to promote this language.

GERMAN:
Good day, German speaking friends. I've already been able to use this language twice. First for telegraphing through a Swiss letter to Davis which had been delivered here by mistake, and secondly to chat with two East Berliners in the Russian landing group from Mykhail Somov.

HEBREW:
Hello, congratulations and see you again.

* A regular and popular event in Holland, where people skate along the canals on a course through 11 towns in Friesland.