This week at Davis station 12 February 2010
"Davis News, Davis News, Davis News... this is VLZ Davis" on Channel 7, Over.
This week Davis has been another hive of activity. The Aurora Australis pulled into Prydz Bay again last Friday bringing with it fresh faces, fruit and much awaited mail and packages from back home.
We have a new team of people from both the Navy and Geoscience Australia who are doing a hydrographical survey of the ocean floor around Davis from a second boat Howard Burton.
A flock (is that what you call them?) of new divers and researchers also arrived to work on the various science projects.
Chris Wilkinson, our new wintering mechanic, and Dr. Philip Samartzis, who is here on the Arts Fellowship program to collect sound recordings until V4, also walked of the ship.
The down side of the ship being in town is that friends will leave, and this was no exception as we waved goodbye to twelve of them.
Our senior IOAC (ice, ocean, atmosphere and climate) scientist and resident LIDAR expert Klucky (Andrew K) has departed and left Jeff Cumpston, LIDAR operator, to fend for himself. Jeff was very excited as on his first solo night observation, he got some great data and observed some long-lasting noctilucent clouds, which appeared at about 9 pm and lasted for almost 7 hours. Klucky was viewing the same clouds from the Aurora Australis, then at Mawson station, and probably hoping that the LIDAR (also known as the Giant Laser) was on at the time.
These clouds occur at around 85 km altitude and are a measurable indicator of climate change. They occur only at the poles during the summer months and can be seen with the naked eye for only about two weeks in the year. These sightings are so rare that previous LIDAR operators have spent their entire year down here without seeing them. Let's hope these great results prove to be typical of the observation season ahead!
Klucky was also one of the seven "Andrews" on station. Having seven Andrews out of a total of eighty people seems a bit high to me. Coincidence or not?
Sewerage has also seen a bit of interest this week at Davis, with Pete, one of our plumbing team, having to enter the sewerage 'VAT' to fix a faulty pump and Margaret (the scientist who drew the short straw) donning her suit to sample the sewerage outfall in the name of science. Micro gastropods and amphipods where also collected for the sewage treatment ecotox experiments.
On top of all this our usual station antics continued unabated with the Davis Band appearing on Thursday night for a live rock performance.
An unscheduled appearance of the Davis Celtic Quartet "Numb Fingers" was also appreciated on Friday night.
Hellboy (Nick Helmore) bought an expensive set of darts with precision flight control, designed by NASA and guaranteed to improve your play, only to find he was much worse with them and promptly offloaded them to Matt Azzopardi for a bargain.
Finally it is starting to feel more like Antarctica with temperatures now dropping to -7 at night. We are seeing more and more windy days now and darkness actually starting to appear for an hour or two at night.
"Over and Out" from Nichol @VLZ Davis.