“A year like no other”: new Station Leader heads south

Australian Antarctic Division

The 2020-21 Station Leader for Casey research station is Kyle Williams.

It’s the third deployment south in a leadership position for the former public servant, originally from Canberra, and his first to Casey.

Kyle has previously spent seasons at Macquarie Island and Mawson with the Australian Antarctic Division.

He’s due to travel to Australia’s Wilkins Aerodrome on the first flight of the summer season and said there was no doubt it would feel a little different this time around.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic this will be a year like no other,” he said.

“Our top priority this season is to make sure all of our expeditioners are safe and that we prevent COVID from getting to our Antarctic stations.”

Kyle said expeditioners were spending two-weeks in isolation prior to heading south and would undertake COVID testing before departure and on arrival at Casey, as well as another period of enhanced social distancing on station.

He said he was confident they were up to the added challenge.

“People who go to Antarctica, who head south, have a very adventurous spirit and two of the very key qualities for all of those that I’ve seen is resilience and adaptability,” he said.

“That’s what you need in spades when you go to Antarctica. Things always change, there’s always a different challenge and even in a COVID world ‘new normal’, I think everyone will have a really good season.”

While expeditioner numbers will be roughly half of the usual quota this season, Kyle said his team would be busy with environmental remediation works and a capital works program at Casey – and he was looking forward as always, to the next adventure.

“Antarctica in my opinion is the most beautiful yet challenging workplace on the planet,” he said.

“It has everything you have in Australia bar none and at the same time has these amazing landscapes and wildlife and an unbelievable environment that is simply unmatched.”

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