This week at Davis: 29 September 2017

This week at Davis we're getting out to the field huts, processing cargo and experiencing more blizzards.

Station update

This week at Davis we’ve been processing cargo from the airdrop last Tuesday. Primarily peeling and freezing vegetables, and sorting through mechanical and medical equipment. We’ve also been getting ready for our traverse to the Rauer Islands. We are planning to leave this week but the trip is weather dependent. All going well we hope to leave on Wednesday and return on the weekend.

Unfortunately we had another two days of blizzard conditions this past weekend. This makes 22 for the year (a new record). As a result our snow dune/blizz tail is once again blocking access to the LQ basement and deck. Wind speed got up to 88 knots on Saturday night, peaking around midnight and then returning for most of Sunday. It’s also been a whiteout for two days. Consequently, we’re feeling very happy to have had such a successful airdrop last week. It would have been unachievable over the last five days or so.

Other things that have been going on of late include another Taekwon-Do grading conducted by Sharky for his students Tony and Kirsten. They have now attained 7th Gup – a yellow belt with a green stripe. There have also been quite a few trips out into the field late last week in an effort to get out before the blizzard conditions hit. It’s also been a week of birthdays, so lots of celebration and lots of birthday cake.

Kirsten (Station Leader)

One of the great things about working down in Antarctica is the variety of roles you find yourself filling. One of my extra roles here is as the winter store person, and with the new expeditioners about to head down shortly things here are really picking up in intensity. The last few weeks has seen me digging out containers on the wharf that didn’t get sent home on V3 and trying to ascertain their contents. I also get to operate the 966 front end loader which is something I normally wouldn’t do back home.

As has been the theme this season at Davis we just had blizz day 22 so all the work I have done clearing the wharf and digging out containers has been undone by the elements but that is part of the fun and challenges of working in a remote place such as this. I can only cross my fingers and hope that we won’t have any more blizzards before this season ends but with the 'A' factor a major contributor anything is possible. 

Sharky (Electrician)

A building in a blizzard, very limited vision.
Blizzard number 22 whips around the living quaters building.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Blizzard number 22 whips around the living quarters building.
Another view of the living quarters during the blizzard.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Blizzard number 22 creating blizz tails around the operations building.
Blizzard number 22 creating blizz tails around the operations building.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
A window in the mess, being covered in with blizz.
A window in the mess, being covered in with blizz.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
The Return To Australia cargo on the wharf. It consists of shipping containers piled quite high and still under a bit of snow.
The 'return to Australia' cargo on the wharf.
(Photo: Paul Daniels)
Sharky driving the 966, moving shipping containers around station.
Sharky driving the 966, moving shipping containers around station.
(Photo: Paul Daniels)

A quick trip to Platcha

With the Davis station air drop occurring early in the week and the forecast predicting an incoming blizzard for the weekend, some of the lads decided to take a quick break from station and head out to Platcha Hut for the night.

The plan was to go for a nice iceberg cruise on the Thursday and our first destination was Lucas Island which would provide us with a great view to spot the biggest bergs. Unfortunately, a light snow obstructed our view so our plans changed and we headed straight to Platcha Hut for a few cuppas followed by a bottle of homebrew. The hot topic of conversation: the AFL finals. With me being a mad Tigers fan and Barry being a one-sided Geelong supporter, a lot of heated discussion ensued. By the end of the night, it had been confirmed. We both should be on the coaching panels of either team!

Waking up Friday morning to another overcast day was a tad disappointing. But luckily for us, it wasn’t as bad as the previous day and a little bit of sun was pushing through the cloud. We embarked for a walk to Stalker Hill which sits roughly 3.5 kilometres away from Platcha Hut and offers spectacular 360-degree views of the Vestfold Hills. Driving back to station in the afternoon, we came upon some Weddell seals which were happily basking in the limited sun with happy smiles upon their faces.

Bryce (Electrician)

Quad tyre tracks are seen in the snow on the frozen fjord. The Vestfold Hills are in the background.
Quad tracks leading down Long Fjord towards Platcha.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
A Weddell seal resting on the sea ice. You can see its face and dapple coloured chest.
A Weddell seal resting on the sea ice.
(Photo: Bryce Daniel)
Shoey and Bryce having a cuppa on the bench outside Platcha hut.
Shoey and Bryce having a cuppa at Platcha.
(Photo: Barry Becker)
The view of Platcha Hut with Breid Basin in the background.
The view of Platcha Hut with Breid Basin in the background.
(Photo: Bryce Daniel)
Shoey, Bryce and Barry B2 on Stalker Hill.
Shoey, Bryce and Barry B2 on Stalker Hill.
(Photo: Bryce Daniel)
A majestic emperor penguin standing on the ice.
A majestic emperor penguin.
(Photo: Bryce Daniel)