This week at the station

This week at Davis: 13 September 2013

Another Davis blizz

This weekend saw another of the rare Davis blizzards blowing through, with plenty of snow being dumped all around station. It started out fairly calm on Saturday, but all day Sunday through to Monday night saw average wind speeds of 54 knots (100km/hr) with a maximum gust of 83 knots (154km/hr). As you can expect, this kept most people indoors for the weekend providing a great excuse to catch up on some TV/ movies, organizing pictures or just sitting around chatting.

At certain times though, some expeditioners are required to get out to the other buildings and take observations, e.g. Team Dieso and the Bureau of Meteorology guys. Just a simple task of getting from one building to another can be difficult and time consuming due to the high winds, blowing snow and very low visibility during a blizz.

Once the blizz settles, it’s time to start clearing snow from the doors, decks and roads. This is mostly done with machinery, but there are times when the surgical precision of a shovel is required.

The stations communication satellite dome and operations building in poor weather conditions
ANARESAT dome and OPS during tail end of blizz
(Photo: Mark K)
Foot prints going up and over the massive pile of snow in front of the living quarters
The mountain in front of the living quarters deck
(Photo: Rich Y)
Snow piled up on the living quarters front deck after the blizzard
LQ deck with blizz
(Photo: Mark K)
Dr Malcolm digging the snow away from the back door with a shovel
Doc Mal digging out cold porch door
(Photo: Rich Y)
The mountain of snow dumped on the back landing that covered the door completely
Station Medical Quarters deck buried
(Photo: Rich Y)
The back deck completely buried under the snow
Alternate view of the SMQ deck
(Photo: Rich Y)
The station excavator being used to clear away the snow from the building
Tim pulling the snow away from the buildings
(Photo: Rich Y)
One of the station loaders moving snow away from the buildings
Jeff taking the snow away
(Photo: Rich Y)

Comms life

The life of a communications technician is varied and challenging from the time you get here until it’s time to leave. The cold can make any small task such a repairing an antenna cable go from half an hour to three hours. There were many attempts to get to one site due to the weather and the amount of light was another challenge.

One thing is for sure; working here is the opportunity to get out and about and take in the views. Platcha is a great place to go in summer or winter while Tarbuck Crag presents a challenge during the winter, to say the least. It’s always much easier to get there in summer, with a helicopter, as some of the crew found out a few weekends ago when they walked up the snow covered peak. The remote repeater needed to be checked after it failed so with plenty of snow covered rocks over a couple of kilometres up the hill the view was worth their troubles.

A view of Platcher hut with Long Fjord and the Plato in the background
Looking down from tower mast at Platcha
(Photo: Nick N)
Two expeditioners working on a antenna in the field with a lovely sunset as the backdrop
Mark and Jeff carrying out repairs at Brookes
(Photo: Keith D)
Three expeditioner standing on location of a permanent infield camera
Mark, Nick and Bob with science maintenance
(Photo: Mark K)
Communication maintenance expeditioner high up the Tarbuck antenna with the Vestfold Hills in the background
Richard at Tarbuck
(Photo: Mark K)
The red apple shaped hut with the repaired antenna and the sun going down in the background
Rookery apple
(Photo: Mark k)
Expeditioner working on a Hagglund vehicle removing the old radar system from off the roof
Richard removing old radar
(Photo: Mark K)

From a polling booth no-where-near-you

It’s been the only thing in the news for the past six weeks, and finally Election Day came and went.

Agree or not with the outcome, the democratic process has been followed. So much so, that even in the furthest reaches of Antarctica, the Davis crew lined up to have their say.

“What’s your name? … And your address? … And have you voted at any other polling stations today?”

“Ummmmm … not likely!”

Even this far removed from society there are the woes of waiting in line for a spot at the polling booth, especially when we have people voting one to a hundred-and-something below the line. For those of you in the “real world” that get frustrated by such things (even though you are snug and warm in a heated school hall), imagine waiting outside at −25 degrees, in a light breeze… and SHORTS!

Expeditioners lining up to be marked of the electoral roll
Davis crew lining up to check the roll
(Photo: Rich Y)
Official electoral offices marking off expeditioners names before voting
The returning officers ticking off names
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioners lining up to vote in a make shift cardboard voting boot
The Davis crew lining up to vote
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioners pretending to be cranky while they wait in line to vote
Tensions rise as Bob votes below the line
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioners pretending to be cranky while they wait in line to vote
More confusion over why it's taking so long
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioner placing his vote in the ballot box
Gavin having his say
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioner placing his vote in the ballot box
Jeff making his vote count
(Photo: Rich Y)
Expeditioner placing his vote in the ballot box
Even the Comms Ninja must un-mask to vote
(Photo: Rich Y)