This week at Davis: 17 November 2017

This week at Davis we're farewelling the penguins and commencing resupply and changeover.

Station update

This week at Davis we came to the end of our season and commenced resupply.

In the last week there have been a lot of final visits to the local penguin colony on Gardner Island as we say farewell. This was especially the case after a rare leukistic Adélie was spotted recently.

Leucism in birds is a genetic mutation where they lack some pigmentation, particularly in dark feathers, so feathers that should be brown or black are pale or white. This is unlike albinoism, which is where the animal lacks all pigmentation so the eye and skin colour is also affected. Our local leucistic penguin is creamy coloured with some brown patches around its face. It doesn’t appear to have paired up with a mate this season, but they have been known to breed successfully at other sites, so there is hope yet.

Recently we also successfully conducted a low light recce flight to Mount Brown in preparation of a project commencing this summer. This involved Heidi, our Field Training Officer on loan from Mawson, and Kerryn (who won the lottery on station to be the photographer on the trip), going for a scenic flight out to the Western Ice Shelf. Aside from the nauseating spirals conducted during the search for crevasses, they thoroughly enjoyed seeing views of the plateau ice out to the horizon.

Then on late Monday night, the Aurora Australis appeared offshore, breaking in through the fast ice. By morning the ship had worked her way to the anchorage point where she is now parked for the duration of resupply. Yesterday we flew our priority people ashore by helicopter – those who have key roles during resupply, eg. station management, chefs, comms operators, field training officers, aircraft ground support, plant operators, forecasters and some trades personnel. We also groomed the lay down area in front of the ship and commenced cargo operations.

A good weather window also meant we were able to fly the Mawson summerers over to Mawson, which was a massive achievement.

Today cargo operations will cease temporarily as we switch over to refuelling and taking on water. Things are going well and the incoming and outgoing winterers have commenced their handovers. We also hope to start flying our CHINARE guests and their cargo over to the Chinese station, Zhong Shan, in the Larsemann Hills today. So a lot is happening! It’s exciting but it is also becoming a firm realisation that it’s not long now and we’ll be leaving.

Kirsten (Station Leader)

Four people standing outside next to a sign holding a taekwondo class
The final Taekwondo class for the year: Rhys, Sharky, Kirsten and Tony.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
View of ice with blue sky above, and a small section of a plane wing in the top right hand corner.
View of the Antarctic plateau from the Twin Otter on a recce…
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
Smiling lady sitting on a plane wearing a beanie, headset and sunglasses holding a notebbok.
Heidi on the recce flight, looking for crevasses.
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
Photo taken of Mountain with blue sky and part of the air wing showing.
Mt Brown during a low light recce flight, looking for crevassed terrain.
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
Photo of Antarctic station with lots of colourful building and melting snow revealing brown patches of dirt.
Davis at the end of winter as our snow starts to melt.
(Photo: Kerryn Oates)
A big group of penguins with sea ice and grounded icebergs in the background.
Adélie penguins on Gardner Island, surrounded by grounded icebergs.
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Photo of landscape with rocks in foreground with mountains in the background.
View from Gardner penguin colony out to the islands.
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
A white penguin surrounded by black and white penguins.
A leucistic penguin, lacking pigment in its feathers.
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Two legs with boots on poking out onto the photo with penguins, ice and blue sky in the background
Having a moment with the penguins; enjoying their company for a final…
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Distant icebergs in icy landscape.
Looking out onto the icebergs, taking in their beauty and feeling grateful…
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
A red ship in sea ice with rocks and a communications pole in the foreground.
The Aurora Australis arrives with the first expeditioners flown ashore by helicopter.…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Buildings surrounded by snow with a red ship in the sea ice in the background.
The Aurora Australis breaks ice as she moves towards her anchorage position.…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
A red and white plane in a blue sky.
The CHINARE Basler flies into Davis.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Red ship in sea ice with a small fixed wing plane flying above it.
The groomer clears the snow in front of the ship as the…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
People in a red helicopter.
The first group of new exeditioners is flown into station.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
People standing in front of stacked shipping containers with a welcome sign.
Rhys, Tony, Sharky, Kirsten, Robb, Dean, Trevor and Jenn.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
A man and a women standing outside talking.
Robb, the incoming station leader, and Kirsten the current station leader, catch…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Front of ship with a crane holding a pallet hanging over the front of the ship.
View of the ship offloading cargo from the bow.
(Photo: Sarah Laverick)
Ship in sea ice with cargo operations taking place.
Cargo operations continue.
(Photo: Sarah Laverick)