Vonna Keller arriving at Davis station, 2008

Expeditioner painting on canvas, outdoors.
Nick painting in the Vestfold Hills. (Photo: Vonna Keller)

My Arts Fellows and I were on the first barge off the Aurora today and no sooner had we got on station then we were whisked away in two helicopters to Brookes Hut in the Vestfold Hills. It is situated on a beautiful fjord with fingers of land jutting out all along its shores.

As I didn't pack any of our gear (it was already done for us) a few necessities were missing, like water, Nicks drawing board and personal bags. So the helicopter made a special trip to drop it off to us.
The winds were already quite strong and the forecast was for it to pick up even more over the next couple of days, which it did. But we didn't let that get in the way of some serious sight seeing, and we walked all around the surrounding area.

The lakes were beautiful turquoise and some were frozen solid while others gathered large waves at the beach with the strong winds.

We discovered mummified seals and birds, and sun-bleached bones throughout the hills. Navigation was tricky as the Vestfold Hills all look the same. Luckily it was easy to get your direction by simply walking to the top of a peak and looking for the water. We didn't even need to pull out the compass.

The winds made for a bit of entertainment as you would step off a rock and be suspended in mid air.

We were supposed to go to Platcha Hut the next day but helicopters couldn't fly due to the strong winds. Not that day or the next day till late. We played numerous card games but no one could quite agree on the rules for any of them, so we abandoned the card games and told stories, ate food and joked around after many walks.

Finally the last day the helicopters were coming and we busily packed up and flew out to Davis station where the elephant seals hung out on the beach and were smelly and noisy—farting and gurgling sounds heavy in the air. We had to stay at Davis station that night as the ship had to pull up anchor and go off shore because it was too windy to hang in the harbour where it could get pushed up on the rocks. So, I slept on the floor that night as did many others because no beds were available. We departed the next day at midday. Quickly saying goodbye, we turned and headed for Mawson station.