This week at the station

This week at Davis: 26 July 2013

Wind gusts exceed 70 knots!

Many times, we at Davis (the Riviera of the south) have heard the distant rumours of cyclonic winds and ferocious gusts that are meant to normally be associated with this vast distant isolated continent dwelling at the bottom of the Earth. Mawson is renowned for it. The Casey crew have just spent days huddled in their hove’s.

Until now only the occasional tepid fall of snow and weary feeble breezes have braced our walks around our adventure playground at Davis.

It certainly remains firmly cemented in the psyche when you can’t see out of your goggles, let alone spot the person standing not even a meter away. Dragging every foot, one in front of the other, just focused on the retreat and warmth of the Living Quarters waiting for our return from the torture of this Antarctic blast.

For 24 hours or more we were confined to the haven of the Living Quarters and Sleeping Medical Quarters while the winds howled their discontent at our safety. It was an opportune time to catch up on computer work, stock reorders and research on the 48-hour Antarctic film competition that will soon be upon us in August.

Attempt to capture the minimal visibility in a blizzard with the front door of the Living Quarters only two metres away
Blizz

(Photo: Paul K)

Snow builds up due to the blizzard on the outdoor setting that is bolted to the front deck
Blizzed Living Quarters entry

(Photo: Jason A)

A large mound of blown snow from the blizzard that is covering the back door to the Sleeping Medical Quarters
Snow covered door

(Photo: Rich Y)

The wind lifting snow of a large Blizz tail at the back of the Sleeping and Medical Quarters
Blowing snow

(Photo: Rich Y)

The Table

There is no doubt that the dining table is one of the sacrosanct holy places that everyone comes to worship multiple times a day.

Here the table is described by our very own Colin - Yoda expeditioner electrician extraordinaire, now on his sixth Antarctic mission:

'The 10 am smoko is like a market where time and services are traded, work is planned.

It is true... apart from the delights of cooked breakfast on Wednesday and Saturday, the opulence of Saturday nights feasting and gorging, the guilt of timid tasting, catch and kill cool room adventures after the weekend of indulgence.

The dining table serves many needs, many desires, many hours, temptations, enquiries and delightful dictations.

Crossword wars at smoko where intellectual giants can fall and diminutive orators surprisingly come out with a one-liner and ensuing fits of laughter from whoever heard.

Plans are hatched here for weekends of exploration into the hills of the Vestfolds or Jollies as they are called.

Slushy shifts and duty rosters are bartered in exchange for time away.

Often it is relatively quiet with only the sounds of Rocket our Chef le fantastic culinary creations being hummed down throats with wordless delight.

It is a place that is enjoyed and shared and no doubt will be remembered as part of the Davis Antarctic experience, our table.'

A fisheye view of the busy dinner table in the Living Quarters
Dinner table

(Photo: Paul K)

Reading the frozen glass

Deeply submerged deeply withdrawn

Only the present for lost forlorn

Bubbles arise through the treacle depths

Of the thickening water melt of the best

Water from the plateau above our domain

Running toward a frozen sea again

To be delayed this natural mead

The Vestfolds lakes are a delight to see

In the darkness of winter amidst the permanent dawn

The frozen bubbles for lost forlorn

Etching their tales their journey at last

To the atmosphere through the frozen glass.

Paul Keutmann

Air bubbles trapped in the frozen waters of a freshwater lake in the Vestfold Hills
Frozen bubbles

(Photo: Paul K)

Air bubbles trapped in the frozen waters of a freshwater lake in the Vestfold
Frozen Bubbles 2

(Photo: Paul K)

This page was last modified on 16 December 2010.