Day 13, Friday 23/2:
The Polar Bird headed south for Horseshoe Harbour early this morning, passing through Iceberg Alley in mist and snow showers. The radar picture shows the density of the bergs in the area, around the GPS position shown. The visibility was poor.
Eventually, Welch Island appeared through the mist but the weather forecast said that the wind would ease off a little later in the day, so we did a U-turn for several hours at very low speed.
Late in the afternoon the clouds lifted and the mountain ranges along the coast became visible one after the other. The ship moved in slowly waiting for the wind to ease off, the mountains grew larger. Some small dots which were large caravans parked away from the station for the summer were seen on the ice below the Masson Range, then directly below these the radio masts of the station appeared and building silhouetted against the white of the plateau.
Contact with Mawson had been made regularly to receive the weather predictions and current wind speeds so arrangements were made for the small boat to come out and pick up the mail, while the Polar Bird sailed very slowly into West Bay providing the opportunity for the cameras to snap many shots of the station.
My first thoughts were that the outcrop of Horseshoe Harbour was higher than I remembered it, but that was 33 years ago when I left. At that time the aircraft hanger was the largest building on the station, but today it looked almost like a garden shed at the waters edge compared to the size of the colourful structures spread around the station area.
I also learned that if your camera battery light is flashing it doesn’t record, so I missed the mail exchange.