This week at Davis: 21 July 2017

This week at Davis we're enjoying another blizzard and visiting Wilkin's and Mikkelsen's Cairn in Tryne Bay.

Station update

Saturday feast

Did you know that ramen is a Japanese dish and consists of noodles served in a meat or fish–based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed and green onions?

Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen but at Davis station on the weekend we were treated to our very own version of ramen proudly concocted by our chef Kerryn and our events coordinator Daleen as we all sat or kneeled to a sumptuous Japanese themed night. Our ramen consisted of many flavours including chicken, duck, prawns, shitake mushrooms and combinations of noodles which were skilfully, some more than others, consumed by the use of chopsticks. Of course a meal like this can’t go without a complimentary sake taster and finished off with tapioca pearls and mango cheeks for dessert. It really is amazing the facilities we have and the creativity that can make a mealtime a little bit special for us as expeditioners.

Blizzard

One of the things we have all been waiting for as we head into the winter months is snow and wind and on Monday this week we were treated to both in what was a record making day of extremes and number synergies.

The wind on Monday 17/07/2017 at Davis local time 21.57 hrs peaked at 107 knots (198 km/hr) whilst we all enjoyed a balmy −7.4°C. Interesting facts regarding this weather event is that this is the second highest wind for any month at Davis and also happens to be the windiest July day on record. The previous July record was 105 knots (194 km/hr) recorded 26/07/1971 with the highest wind recorded at 111 knots (206 km/hr) on 18/04/1972. It’s been a fascinating year for weather extremes and we are all looking forward to the changes in the landscape that events like this deliver.

Tony D’Amico (Deputy Station Leader)

Delicious Japanese ramen dinner, in a bowl on a red table cloth.
Delicious Japanese ramen dinner.
(Photo: Robert Bonney)
Sitting on the floor, eating our delicious Japanese dinner.
Sitting around the dinner table.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Our weather screen showing the 107 kt gusts (198 km/hr or 123 mi/hr).
Our weather screen showing the 107 kt gusts (198 km/hr or 123…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Watching the blizzard from the warmth of the living quarters. Lots of swirling snow in darkness.
Watching the blizzard from the warmth of the living quarters.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
The snow accumulation outside the living quaters building following the blizzard. Note the snow dunes are as high as the deck!
The snow accumulation outside the living quarters building following the blizzard. Note…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Nature's latest art sculpture outside the living quarters. There are curvy dunes of snow everywhere!
Nature's latest art sculpture outside the living quarters.
(Photo: Barry Becker)

The secrets of Tryne Bay

Last weekend Tony, Lötter, Richard and myself decided to explore the edge of our Davis universe. This meant going as far to the north–east as we possibly can, whilst staying inside station operating limits. Our goal for the day was simple: reach Wilkins Cairn and Mikkelsen Cairn, take photos of icebergs, and make some pizza at Bandits Hut.

Our exploration turned into a journey of discovery when we arrived at Wilkins Cairn to find a piece of history hidden in away in a steel box. We were treated to the proclamation left by Sir Hubert Wilkins, when he set foot on the Antarctic continent on 11 January 1939, a Walkabout magazine from 1938, as well as a letter from a field party who set out to find Sir Hubert Wilkins’ letter in 1977. We were surprised by the sun that gave us a sneak peek of orange happiness a day before the light returned to Davis. Our field party raised the old Australian flag the best we could, with a bit drifting snow and slight winds reminding us where we were. 

Our next stop was at Mikkelsen’s Cairn. We explored the island and discovered a white, wind–weathered wooden mast on the largest island that forms part of the Tryne Islands group. Inside a cairn we found documents that treated us to more history, where the land we were standing on was the same site where Caroline Mikkelsen, one of the first women to set foot in Antarctica, raised the Norwegian flag on 20 February 1935.

After an eventful day we arrived at our home for the night, Bandits Hut, with a full moon illuminating the majestic icebergs that decorated Tryne Sound. It took a bit of digging to get the door of the hut open, but the four explorers got the hut heated and cosy, with at least one of them reminiscing about the walking in the footsteps of the great explorers of the past. After an evening of pizza and good company, we departed in the morning for our next adventure: The hunt for Platcha Hut.

Daleen (Engineering Officer – Bureau of Meteorology)

A letter from Sir Hubert Wilkins, framed and able to be seen as his cairn at Davis.
A letter from Sir Hubert Wilkins.
(Photo: Daleen Koch)
Daleen and Richard raise the historical Australian flag.
Daleen and Richard raising the historical Australian flag.
(Photo: Lotter Kock)
The sunrise in Tryne Fjord, two days earlier than on station. The sun is on the horizon. The hagg sits out on the seaice in front of Bandits Hut.
The return of the sun on the 8th of July.
(Photo: Daleen Koch)
Daleen, Tony and Lötter explore history at Mikkelsen's Cairn.
Daleen, Lötter and Tony exploring history at Mikkelsen's Cairn.
(Photo: Richard Coleman)
Bandits hut in full moon.
Bandits Hut in full moon.
(Photo: Daleen Koch)
Platcha hut in twilight with the plateau behind it.
The hunt for Platcha.
(Photo: Daleen Koch)