This week at the station

This week at Davis: 17 January 2014

Nick's cartoons

This week Nick has supplied us with two of his original cartoons. One is a humorous representation of the elephant seals that are now arriving at Davis in numbers and can be seen playing in the water from station.

The second cartoon is another cryptic cartoon that I hope you can work out, with the answer in next week's station news.

The answer to last week's cryptic cartoon was "AGSO" which means Air Ground Support Officer. The clue was an amalgam of agriculture and sewing.

A cartoon of elephant seals swimming in the water
Davis synchronized swimming team
(Photo: Nick C)
A cartoon of a car containing ice
Cryptic cartoon - Do you know what it means?
(Photo: Nick C)

Something about the colour green

The Antarctic is a very harsh environment at the best of times. It is the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent on Earth. So constructing buildings and having the building withstand the harsh conditions takes a lot of planning and an understanding of the environment.

To maintain the buildings and structures in top conditions requires ongoing maintenance, so when the harsh conditions stripped the paint of the “mushroom” bolts on the living quarters it was time to repaint them. The mushroom bolts are normally green but the conditions stripped them of their colour, so a quick coat of Antarctic green soon fixed that and everything looked like new again.

Bolts in a Davis structure that have lost their colour
White mushroom bolts on a green background!
(Photo: Bill.D)
An expeditioner painting the mushroom bolts
Tim getting them ready to repaint
(Photo: Bill.D)
Freshly painted green bolts
As good as new and ready to be installed
(Photo: Bill.D)

Emergency Management Training (EMT)

Emergency Management Training (EMT) is a large part of station life. It is not possible at Davis to call a fire truck or an ambulance in the event something has gone wrong. Throughout an expeditioner's training schedule in Hobart, EMT is an ongoing and essential function and it is important that those new skills are not lost; therefore regular EMT training continues at station. Nearly weekly the winter expeditioners take part in some sort of EMT training or exercise, to not only maintain their skills but to actually improve on them.

It is one thing to learn how to tie knots in a mild environment in Hobart; it is a totally different thing to do so in extremely hostile and cold conditions. The same can be said about fire fighting. The station has an EMT roster where every week six expeditioners are rostered to be on standby for an emergency situation like having to rescue an injured expeditioner, a fire alarm or locate a lost expeditioner.

Group of expeditioners with a stretcher on the ice
Setting up a Search and Rescue (SAR) exercise on the ice and…
(Photo: Stuart.S)
Ropes being affixed to ice for a stretcher rescue
Search and Rescue excercise - main anchors fixed into ice
(Photo: Stuart.S)
An expeditioner with a stretcher on the ice
Sarah preparing the stretcher
(Photo: Stuart.S)
An expeditioner with a rope to pull the stretcher
Nick on the belay rope
(Photo: Stuart.S)
A snow cliff face with a stretcher being pulled up
That cliff face is a long way down
(Photo: Layla.W)
A patient in a stretcher being pulled up a cliff
Lesley ensuring patient Josh is well-secured
(Photo: Layla.W)
A group of expeditioners being shown how to tie ropes
Simon the Field Training Officer showing us how it is done!
(Photo: Layla.W)
Expeditioners using a fire hose in the snow conditions
Fire hose training, let's clear a path!
(Photo: Stuart.S)
Expeditioners on a fire hose in the snow
Cold and wet work
(Photo: Stuart.S)

Russian visit

Davis Station is situated in the Vestfold Hills and is in the unique position that in the nearby Larsemann Hills other foreign nations have build their Antarctic stations. The Russians, Indians and Chinese all have stations in the Laresmann Hills and they are about a 40 minute trip in a helicopter away.

Over the summer season when flying is possible, there are often inter-station visits. These occasions are good opportunities for the Davis expeditioners to meet their counterparts and exchange souvenirs and try to get that “keeper” photograph. Last week we had a visit from the Russians in their very impressive KA-32 helicopter which presented a great photo opportunity.
An expeditioner standing beside a Russian helicopter at Davis
Charlie with the Russian helicopter
(Photo: Stuart.S)
Expeditioner sitting in cockpit of helicopter
Can I keep it?
(Photo: Stuart.S)
Russian and Davis expeditioners posing for photo
Russians with Davis expeditioners
(Photo: Stuart.S)