This week at Davis: 23 June 2017

This week at Davis, Sharky holds a TaeKwon-Do grading on station and we celebrate midwinter's day.

A first in Antarctica – and it happened at Davis!

People often ask me what I do in my spare time down here. There are a lot of things I get up to, but some of them are just like home.

Back home I teach TaeKwon-Do and hold the rank of 4th Dan International Instructor/Examiner with the Unified International TaeKwon-Do Federation. I run my own school and before I left I decided to bring some of my student manuals down just in case anyone wanted to learn.

I got a group of three winterers that decided it would be a good way to pass the time and they were also interested in learning some self defence. So just after the summer crew left on the boat we started training together two nights each week. We found a perfect spot in the upstairs lounge that had just enough room to train and got down to business on the fundamental movements and some basic Korean language.

Around a week before I decided to give the students some notice that they were going to be tested for their next belt. This was received by what I can only describe as shock with everyone saying they didn’t think they were ready and they all started studying their theory each night after work. At the same time we got a new participant which was great so now we have grown to four members.

Around came the 15th of June where I held what I believe to be the first ever TaeKwon-Do grading in Antarctica. I spent a fair amount of time clearing out the lounge and setting up the area in the proper way to conduct a grading. The examiner's table was set up with the national flags behind and a portrait of the founder on the table. At 5pm we held our final training session before the testing and took the opportunity to go through the formalities that are involved in the grading.

Everyone had a good training session and any nerves were hopefully calmed down, we had dinner and cleaned up then headed upstairs to start.

After having everyone do all the basic techniques including blocks, punches and kicks we moved on to their patterns. Once the patterns were complete I called them up to test them on the theory component of the art. There were some nerves but all did quite well.

After a stressful hour of testing I had the honour to promote my first three students here to yellow belt.

Hopefully some continue their training when they get back to Australia and they will all be able to brag that they got their first belts down south which is a fantastic achievement.

Sharky (Sabum Paul Daniels)

Sharky is in his TaeKwon-Do uniform, striking a pose at Bandits. In the background are icebergs and the Antarctic Plateau.
Sharky - Sabum Paul Daniels
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Four expeditioners strike a pose after their TaeKwon-Do grading.
Sharky and his class: Kirsten, Tony and Rhys.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Tony receiving his yellow belt qualification.
Tony receiving his yellow belt qualification.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Rhys receiving his yellow belt qualification.
Rhys receiving his yellow belt qualification.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Kirsten receiving her yellow belt qualification.
Kirsten receiving her yellow belt qualification.

Brunch

On Wednesday June 21st was the winter solstice. We woke to a crisp −35ºC; or −47ºC if you include wind chill. We had a busy morning with a video link with the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston for a memorial, to remember those who have tragically died in Antarctica. Then it was a delicious brunch from Kerryn our chef before another link to Kingston for messages from the Governor General, our departmental minister and our director, Nick Gales. There were live links to all four stations so we got to hear what everyone would be doing to celebrate their day.

Given the strong traditions associated around midwinter in Antarctica, it was great to start the day with connecting to others, both on other stations and back home. Additionally, we have greetings sent to Davis from other stations all around the Antarctic, wishing each other a happy day and support for the rest of the season. This not only creates camaraderie but also celebrates how connected nations are down here, on this continent at the bottom of the planet.

The greetings vary in style reflecting the teams' personality, nationality and sense of occasion. There are some cheeky photos, traditional photos and everything in between. These were put up in our bar as a talking point to start our evening. Our team were unanimous in which nation had the greeting with most impact – congratulations Concordia, you are the winner!

The weather read out for Davis on midwinter's day. It was a crisp -35 degrees with -47 degrees wind chill.
A crisp morning at Davis station for midwinter's day.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Kerryn and Daleen ready for midwinter brunch. They are standing behind the bay maree which is full of beautiful rich food.
Kerryn and Daleen ready for midwinter brunch.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Eggs with hollandaise sauce and either salmon or ham. Bacon, our most popular food on station, is also there of course.
Eggs with hollandaise sauce and either salmon or ham. Bacon, our most…
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Midwinter brunch - the perfect start to our day.
Midwinter brunch - the perfect start to our day.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Kerryn and Tony.
Kerryn and Tony.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Morning slushies: Rhys and Tony.
Morning slushies: Rhys and Tony.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Morning slushies: Barry B1 and Tony.
Morning slushies: Barry B1 and Tony.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)

Hot tub

The cold wintry weather put bit of a dampener on planned outdoor activities for the day, so the only solution was to either help out in the kitchen or visit the hot tub.

The hot tub was well loved over summer but had some issues after the last blizzard. To Bryce's credit and with help from others, he was able to resurrect the hot tub for midwinter's day. Sitting in the hot water, surrounded by snow and an icy landscape is ideal. There was constant debate about the perfect temperature setting however, so snow baths were required to cool down from time to time.

With the cold temperatures, wet hair quickly froze: including beards, eyebrows and eyelashes. This was most entertaining although a little painful at times.

The team in the hot tub.
The team in the hot tub.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Bryce with an icy beard in the hot tub.
Bryce
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Shoey with an icy beard in the hot tub.
Shoey
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Tony and Richard with icy beards in the hot tub.
Tony and Richard
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Rob with icy hair in the hot tub.
Rob
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Ralph looking icy in the hot tub.
Ralph
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Daleen with iced eye lashes in the hot tub.
Daleen
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Lötter with icy eye lashes in the hot tub.
Lötter
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Jock with an icy beard in the hot tub.
Jock
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Fitzy in the hot tub.
Fitzy
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Sharky with an icy beard in the hot tub.
Sharky
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Sharky taking a snow bath to cool down.
Sharky taking a snow bath to cool down.
(Photo: Barry Becker)

Midwinter dinner

The highlight of the day was our midwinter dinner. It was a sumptuous feast that took weeks of preparation. The whole team was involved with this event but special thanks go to Kerryn for producing the divine food, Marc for the time and effort in getting the hydroponics garden up to speed and so productive and for making a special ale for the day, Jock for the ice sculpture and Rhys for making wooden items for the table.

A great time was had by all, in the true fashion of an Antarctic midwinter celebration.

Marc's rum infused midwinter ale, made especially for the day. Behind the team check out the other station's greeting cards.
Marc's rum infused midwinter ale, made especially for the day. Behind the…
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Kerryn making beef wellington for midwinter's dinner.
Kerryn making beef wellington for midwinter's dinner.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Jock helping make fruit tarts for dessert.
Jock helping make fruit tarts for dessert.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Shoey and Jock helping out in the kitchen.
Shoey and Jock helping out in the kitchen.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Marc with the hydroponics harvest grown especially for the Midwinter dinner. He has three bowls of salad in front of him.
Marc with the hydroponics harvest grown especially for the midwinter dinner.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
The table set for dinner. Richard's sculpture provides the artwork, while the flags of other nations are hung around the room in the Midwinter tradition going back to Scott's time.
The table set for dinner. Richard's sculpture provides the artwork, while the…
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
The midwinter dinner menu sitting on a plate on the table.
Our midwinter dinner menu.
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
Jock's ice sculpture penguin, lit up with LED lights were a feature of the evening.
Jock's ice sculpture penguin, lit up with LED lights were a feature…
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Barry B1, Tony, Lotter and Bryce. The boys are strutting their stuff in their winter finery.
Barry B1, Tony, Lötter and Bryce. The boys are strutting their stuff…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Daleen and Tony
Daleen and Tony
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Barry B2 shaved for the occasion, making everyone do a double take.
Barry B2 shaved for the occasion, making everyone do a double take.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Kirsten and Tony
Kirsten and Tony
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Rob and Tony
Rob and Tony
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Fitzy and Tony
Fitzy and Tony
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Almost ready to begin our formal dinner.
Almost ready to begin our formal dinner.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Everyone sitting at a table ready to eat entrees.
Entrees have arrived.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Plates full of entree food ready to share.
Entrees to share.
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)
A mixture of mains: lobster, duck, lamb, pork belly and vegetables.
A mixture of mains: lobster, duck, lamb, pork belly and vegetables.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
The dessert table with petite fours: macaroons, handmade chocolates and truffles, chocolate mousse and shortbread.
The dessert table with petite fours: macaroons, handmade chocolates and truffles, chocolate…
(Photo: Daleen Koch)
A fruit cake with our team's logo on it, surrounded by penguin shortbread, all individually named.
A fruit cake with our team's logo on it, surrounded by penguin…
(Photo: Kirsten le Mar)

Cinderfella

Our main entertainment for the evening was a performance of 'Cinderfella', a variation on the traditional Cinderella play. Given our team's passion for football, the story line included Cinderfella and her two horrible stepsisters participating in a football game in front of AFL selectors. Cinderfella was the star player and of course got selected and whisked away by 'Prince Charming' to the great dismay of her two very upset sisters.

Only a couple of our team members weren't involved in the play and acted as the audience. As they hadn't seen the script it was all rather hilarious and much laughter ensued. As they say, men wearing dresses is an Antarctic tradition and the boys did it well.

A big thanks to our artistic director Rhys for the inspired idea, time and effort he put into writing and then wrangling the play and cast into action.

Tony in a pink tutu and awful makeup, as Cinderfella's Farty Godmother.
Tony as Cinderfella's farty godmother.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Jock in a dress and apron, as Cinderfella.
Jock as Cinderfella.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Shoey in a dress, as a nasty stepsister (Shoester).
Shoey as a nasty stepsister (Shoester).
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Bryce as Brucester, Cinderfella's other nasty stepsister.
Bryce as Brucester, Cinderfella's other nasty stepsister.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Fitzy as Prince Charming. Steals Cinderfella's heart.
Fitzy as Prince Charming, steals Cinderfella's heart.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Richard as King.
Richard as King.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Rhys, Artistic Director, takes a bow at the end of the night.
Rhys, Artistic Director, takes a bow at the end of the night.
(Photo: Barry Becker)

The band: 'Seven Quads and a Hägg'

The finale of the evening's entertainment came from our band: 'Seven Quads and a Hägg'.

As you know a lot of effort goes into the name and branding of a band. This was by far the most politically correct name on offer, with most other suggestions being a play on words of local lake names.

There was also a photo shoot to produce a poster for the night's performance. Lötter's glacier travel skills came in handy as he was strapped to the front of the Hägg while the other band members looked suitably cool yet disinterested. On the night things ran a bit late as they are prone to do on such occasions. However, the band proved highly entertaining in their performance. 

 
Photo shoot for the band's poster. Lotter is tied onto the front of the Hagg.
Photo shoot for the band's poster.
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Tony with Lötter  who is roped to the front of the Hägg, at the band's photo shoot.
Tony with Lötter (roped to the front of the Hägg) at the…
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Seven Quads and a Hägg's final band poster for their Midwinter performance.
The final poster for 'Seven Quads and a Hägg' ready for their…
(Photo: Tony D'Amico)
Seven Quads and a Hägg's performance at the midwinter dinner.
'Seven Quads and a Hägg' performing at the midwinter dinner.
(Photo: Barry Becker)