This week at Davis: 1 December 2017

This week at Davis we have trained for emergency response and field survival, commenced fieldwork, prepared Woop Woop skiway, started work on infrastructure projects and maintenance and visited the penguins.

Station update

Our week since the ship left Davis has kept us all busy but not before we had a rest day in between ship departure and starting work again.

There are now 81 of us on station and it was great to get the team who had been working beside the ship on the ice managing cargo on and off the vessel ashore and settled into the station to bring us up to full complement.

First on our agenda this week was exercising our search and rescue and medical capability and making sure we were ready to commence field operations.

Under the guidance of our doctor, Kate, and senior field training officer Marty, we practiced deploying a search and rescue team, recovering a patient from the field by helicopter and returning them to the station medical facility. Included in the exercise was our incident control and communications systems. At the end we had learnt lots and felt well prepared to start field work.

The trade team have been busy with maintenance and also commenced work on getting our reverse osmosis plant running so we can make water later in the summer. Here at Davis we currently have 3 x 3 minute showers a week each to conserve our water as best we can. Given where we are on the planet, and the energy cost of making water, it's pretty good really.

The aviation team have spent time up at Woop Woop skiway getting the camp and skiway prepared for us to move flying operations there once the fast ice disappears.

We deployed three survival training groups this week by Hägglunds and helicopters to get our high priority projects up and running to start fieldwork.

It hasn't been all work for us, as many managed to get out for a walk to Gardner Island to see the penguins. Check out the story below from Sam.

Robb (station leader).

A group remove a patient on a stretcher from a helicopter.
The search and rescue team remove the 'patient' from the helicopter.
(Photo: Derryn Harvie)
A medical team and patient on stretcher.
Our doctor and medical assistants go through their paces in the training…
(Photo: Derryn Harvie)
A group of workers pose in front of the ship parked in ice.
The ship side cargo team.
(Photo: Graeme Freeman)
A man stands on the sea ice holding a fluro sea ice drilling kit.
Sea Ice Man!
(Photo: Marcus Salton)
A group in the field standing behind a big rock.
Survival training group out in the field.
(Photo: Marcus Salton)
A group in an orange field shelter.
Cozy group in a mega bivvy.
(Photo: Brandon Owen)
Five yellow bivvy bags on the ground with people inside them.
Expeditioners sleep in their bivvy bags out in the field.
(Photo: Ben Munro)

A trip to Gardner Island

With the previous winter team departing station last week, we have been getting into full swing of our summer season, and what better way to kick off the first weekend than with a trip to our local penguin colony.

For some, this was their first trip to Gardner Island to see the Adèlie penguins. For others, it was a chance to get out and stretch the legs and marvel at the beauty that is Antarctica. We had beautiful conditions, blue sky and no wind!

Setting off from station, we walked across the sea ice which is an experience in itself, one of my party members commented on how great the sound of crunching ice is with each step you take.

Approaching the island we were greeted by Adèlie penguins running towards us to check out all the new faces. We arrived on the island and spent time wandering around watching the Adèlie penguins in full nesting mode, looking after their eggs, whilst their companion collects rocks for them and returned to their place of nesting.

We were aware that the leucistic penguin had been sighted at the island a few weeks prior to our arrival so we were eager to catch a glimpse! Kudos to Rod for sighting him/her, which allowed us all to get a few photos. Comments were made that this penguin had to be the most photographed penguin getting around!

Sam (comms operator).

A group walk across the sea ice.
Sea ice walk to Gardner Island.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
A person stands looking at sea ice and small icebergs.
Local scenery.
(Photo: Sam Siddins)
A penguin colony on an island with ice in the background.
The Adèlie penguin colony.
(Photo: Jason Burgers)
A white leucistic penguin sits amongst other penguins
The leucistic penguin.
(Photo: Sam Siddins)
A black and white penguin carries a rock in its beak to build a nest.
Nest building!
(Photo: Marcus Salton)