The sun returns

On 18 July after a long and grueling 48 days, the sun finally made a return to Davis station. For 37 of those days the sun was below the horizon, and the other days we were clouded in with no chance of seeing the sun. When the sun decided to return it was slightly obscured by some cloud but that didn’t deter us from stopping to gaze at this almost foreign thing that we all take for granted. While the sun provided some well needed rays it was only one degree above the horizon at its highest. Sunrise to sunset: a whole 2 hours 50 minutes. I was so fixated on the sun that two emperor penguins snuck past on the sea ice wondering what all the fuss was about. That would make it eight emperor penguins we’ve seen near the station over the last few days. For the official 37 days without the sun Vas, Dave, Paul and I decided to grow beards for fun. The end result, a group of scruffy looking blokes, some of us who couldn’t wait to finally shave off the beards!

It’s been a week of cleaning up since our first blizzard here at Davis station. Unlike Casey and Mawson we don’t get blizzards all that often as we are protected somewhat by the Vestfold Hills between us and the plateau. We had a maximum wind gust of 124 km/hr and steady winds of around 80 km/hr at one stage. Wherever snow could build up it did, around buildings, doorways, and machines. Shoveling snow is not easy and needs to be done relatively quickly after a blizzard before it starts to turn into ice. Just when we thought we’d finished cleaning up, our weather forecast indicated that we’ll possibly have another blizzard this week.

With a lot of work going on around the station it’s good to be able to relax afterwards, and one of those ways is in our outdoor spa. We haven’t seen an aurora for about two weeks due to the persisting cloud, however back on 2 July we were treated to a nice show. Some of us were outside taking photos when Chris thought it would be an awesome idea to hop in the spa and watch the show. So at 11 pm with the outside air temperature a cool −27°C we hopped in the spa. It was fantastic to sit outside and watch the aurora display overhead. Did I forget to mention the wind chill was −40°C? Yes that’s our hair frozen! You would think we’d gone crazy? No way. Great idea Chris!

Aaron Stanley 

The sun hovering one degree above the horizon
The sun hovering one degree above the horizon
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
The sun has returned to our Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder
The sun has returned to our Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
The golden glow in the sky, reflections in the window of the old living quarters
The golden glow in the sky, reflections in the window of the…
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
Paul Bright, Vas Georgiou, Dave Davies & Aaron Stanley on the 37th day growing beards
Paul, Vas, Dave & Aaron on the 37th day growing beards
(Photo: Jen Proudfoot)
Snow in front of the Met building at Davis with shovels ready to move it
The shoveling begins
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
The Stevenson screen which houses our temperature and humidity sensors lined with snow
The Stevenson screen which houses our temperature and humidity sensors lined with…
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
Chris Burns & Aaron Stanley in the Davis spa under the Aurora Australis
Chris & Aaron in the Davis spa under the Aurora Australis
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)
One of the amazing wave like snow sculptures formed during a blizzard at Davis
One of the amazing wave like snow sculptures formed during the blizzard
(Photo: Aaron Stanley)