30 July 2010

Davis Station, Antarctica 68º35'S 77º58'E

This week at Davis continues the theme of our blockbusting epic and recent entry into the Antarctic Winter Film Festival, "Fitness Month" (available at youtube, see Fitness Month)

A question that isn't asked that often, but should be, is how do we keep our beautiful beach-bodies buffed over the long dark cold winter months, and prevent them from becoming beach ball-esque.

Given that we have a top Australian chef, Kim, providing us with gourmet fare every meal, it is a fierce battle, with the results weighed every month during medicals, to the chagrin of some, and delight of others. Here's some photos showing our fitness conscious expeditioners hard at it.

Davis expeditioner in gym
Rob (Spaggers) Lemme feeling the burn
Photo: Ben O'Leary
Davis expeditioner on bike
Nick (Hellboy) Helmore, one of our hardworking met observers, commutes by bike to work 6 times a day, not only keeping fit and trim, but reducing his carbon footprint at the same time
Photo: Ben O'Leary

Luckily for us all, we've got our own personal trainer/ motivator/ and fitness guru Matt "The party" Azzopardi. Matt has drawn up fitness plans (The Azzopardi Premium Hypertrophy Workout) for half the station, fine tuning them as the season progresses and the weights increase. But wait, there's more. He's been coaching us in the gentle art of boxing, is regularly seen at the climbing wall, and sets us "challenges" weekly that are supposed to increase our VO2 max by 60%, but usually result in collapse on the floor in a sweaty heap, and difficulty ambulating independently for several days afterwards. Apparently it's good for us.

 Nichol on the climbing wall
Nichol on Purple Fantasia, the climbing wall
Photo: Ben O'Leary
Nige on climbing wall
Nige doing his man spreadeagled on wall impression
Photo: Ben O'Leary

But it's not all inside work. Andy Ballinger regularly takes his sled for a walk, Chris George was seen ice skating at Watts Hut last weekend (the triple axle with a backward toe off was an incredible sight) and there's a regular run down Dingle road to Law Cairn, a 12 km round trip, usually in temperatures of -20 degrees C. Cross country skiing, one of the most intensive aerobic activities known to man, also has a keen following.

Andy Ballinger and Ben O'Leary; intrepid explorers and their sleds
Andy Ballinger and Ben O'Leary; intrepid explorers and their sleds
Photo: Ben O'Leary
Davis expeditioner skating
Chris George performing Scotsman on Ice
Photo: Nichol Hill
Nick Roden cross country skiing
Nick Roden cross country skiing, the skis are under the snow there somewhere
Photo: Ben O'Leary
Jeff Cumpston and Nick Roden freestyling
Jeff Cumpston and Nick Roden freestyling
Photo: Ben O'Leary

With the increasing light, not only have our energy levels increased, we've had some incredible sunsets. Nacreous clouds – they're the visually impressive but ozone gobbling ones – form finely-shaded pastel layers (top two thirds of the photo below). You know you've been in Antarctica a while when not only can you recognise nacreous clouds, you get excited by them, but also sad at what they're doing to the ozone layer. Please also note the solar pillar, caused by refraction through a layer of ice crystals. These also gave us a rainbow, or rather an "icebow", which is probably the edge of an enormous sun dog.

Solar pillar and nacreous clouds
Solar pillar and nacreous clouds
Photo: Peter Hargreaves
A rainbow in Antarctica?
A rainbow in Antarctica?
Photo: Michael Zupanc

And finally, some iceberg shots from Pete Hargreaves to share with you all, proving once again that we are in the most beautiful place on earth (and as Sir Attenborough would put it, so spectacular, it can be seen from space). Extra points for naming the face in the iceberg.

Iceberg near Davis
Iceberg near Davis
Photo: Peter Hargreaves
Iceberg and rising moon near Davis
Iceberg and rising moon near Davis
Photo: Peter Hargreaves

This page was last modified on 29 May 2014.