8. Saturday 23 December 2017, Hello Casey, Goodbye Casey
On Thursday we sailed through sunny, calm pack ice to Casey, arriving at 11am. Someone asked me if I felt homesick but I replied that with the old station I spent 1984 at now having gone completely, it looked like a new place altogether which I didnâ€™t recognise.
We lost our Italian and French meteorite hunters who went ashore to fly out the next day in the excellent weather. The four of them were to go on to the French-Italian Concordia Station and then into the field to collect meteorites. One of them gave two excellent presentations during the voyage, firstly on how meteorites get concentrated in places where the ice sheet brings them to the surface in ablation zones against mountains, and secondly about the iron dagger found in King Tutankhamenâ€™s coffin being of meteoric origin.
As fast ice is blocking access to the Casey wharf and because it is too unstable to put the refuelling hose over, the decision was made to sail from Casey and both recover the whale sounds recorder and do the krill fishing programme. In the meantime it is hoped that the bad weather that Casey is expecting will break up the decaying fast ice before our return.
We left Casey on Friday afternoon around 2:30pm and sailed through the pack ice in glorious weather. Little wind, bright sun, brilliant white pack ice and icebergs, blue water, occasional penguins, seals and whales confirmed the well-worn phrase, â€œthe magic of the packâ€. It was my best experience of travelling in pack ice and it was difficult to make the decision to go to bed that night – which of course isnâ€™t at all dark.