Sunday, April 26, 2009


Temperature: -61.3C
Wind Chill: -84.2C
Wind Speed: 12.9 kts

This past Saturday, we had a unique treat! We celebrated ANZAC Day down here. The ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) fought during WWI, and on the 25th of April, they are remembered and honored in various ways. Some people actually pay their respects in Gallipoli, where the ANZACs fought alongside British troops against Turkey. Others will have tributes in their own home towns, remembering those who fought during that war.

On station this year, our population includes one Australian and one New Zealander (also affectionately called a Kiwi). They decided to celebrate ANZAC Day down here, and we combined the winter retiring of the station’s ceremonial flags with their dawn tradition!

Our PA took the lead, printed up literature on the history behind the day,

had paper poppies available for folks who showed up for the tribute,

and spent a couple hours in the galley working on Anzac biscuits to have with our tea or coffee after the flags were brought in.

Saturday morning came, and around 6am, people gathered in the Galley, waiting to grab poppies, hand warmers, cameras…whatever they wanted to bring with them. At 7am, we bundled up, and went outside…to be greeted by a fantastic aurora!

Once everyone made it to the Ceremonial Pole, we recited the verse from Laurence Binyon's ‘For the Fallen’

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

This was followed by a minute of silence,

then we took the flags from the Pole and brought them indoors, where biscuits and hot drinks waited for everyone! A couple days earlier, the biscuits were made…there were a couple different recipes,

and by the end of the day, all the biscuits were devoured…so I guess they were really good!

The day continued like any other Saturday, with the exception of the evening, with a screening of “Gallipoli”.

It was awesome to be a part of someone else’s traditions and ceremonies this weekend, and I think a lot more people showed up for the ceremony than anticipated, but that’s the great thing about this community!

I will leave you all with an awesome shot that Cully took of the sky following the ceremony…hope everyone is staying warm up there!!

Capt. Splash

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Auroras, Looney Tunes and Ping Pong

Temperature: -53.4C
Wind Chill: -74.6C
Wind Speed: 13.6 kts

Okay, so not quite the week in, week out I thought it was going to be...sorry, I have to play a little catch up here!

Let's go back a couple weekends. Sunday morning, around 830, about eight grown men and women actually got up on their day off, and proceeded into one of the lounges to watch some DVDs. Everybody had a yearning for Bugs Bunny there we were for about three straight hours watching old classics, from "The Barber of Seville" to "The Scarlet P-P-P-Pimpernel". It was awesome!! I think the LepreKhan would have been pleased!

Now we are up to about a week ago...last Sunday, where we had a ping pong tournament, and any and all could participate. It was a knock down, drag out tournament that lasted all morning.

There were plenty of upsets, a few Cinderella stories, and by the time it was all said and done, Bill Stiner walked away with a good chunk of the purse. The morning was full of pancakes, ping pong, and fudge that was made by our PA. It was a combination of light and dark chocolate that was tasty enough to get me to change my all around opinion of fudge!

So that was a weekend ago. Later on in the week, Cully and I launched the first of our plastic balloons to collect ozone data. This was a fun one, was still a dual launch with the meteorological department, but it was a dual balloon. Two plastic balloons tethered together.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the actual launch, but hopefully there will be some this week when we do the same type of launch again.

The past couple weeks have been good opportunities to take pictures of some auroras,

so I will leave you with some shots that I have been taking, to try and get the optimum settings when the really spectacular nights skies show themselves....