Midwinter celebrations 2014

Midwinter swim 2014 at Davis research station

Video transcript

[Narelle Campbell:] Welcome to Davis station Antarctica. Today is Midwinterʼs Day, and it marks the winter solstice and the slow return of the sun. We will see the sun around about mid-July, which we're all looking forward to, even though it will only just pop its head up briefly, for a while, until it hangs around a bit longer as the year goes on.

Today is a tradition amongst all Antarctic stations. We honour those who have been down before us; particularly those who came down in the early 1900s: Mawson, Scott and Shackleton.

We do start our day off with an early morning swim in the icy cold waters. The guys spent all day yesterday preparing the swim hole. The sea ice here at the moment is one metre deep, so it did take a while for them to get those chunks of ice out for our one-and-a-half metre by one-and-a-half metre swimming pool. Straight after this, after the team have all been for a swim, we go back to our station and have an outdoor spa, and tonight there'll be a formal dinner, where we'll be toasting all those who've been down before us, and our family and friends back home who we haven't seen for quite some time.

We did send an invitation out to many people to attend our party tonight … lots of excuses why they canʼt get here, probably because it's impossible. The 20 of us here at Davis station; we won't see a ship at all or any form of transport at all until around about November, and just at the end of the year thatʼs when we will return home. So with the winter months theyʼre dark, very cold – minus 30-odd degrees today.

[All:] Happy Midwinters!

[end transcript]

A group photo of Davis station expeditioners in front of the hole cut in the sea ice for the midwinter swim.
The Midwinter swim at Davis research station. Air temperature -32C, water temperature 1.8C. (Photo: Corey Brazendale)
Electrician, Adam Gurney, in the ice hole.Paul Stringer roped up and ready to jump in the ice holeExpeditioners cutting through the ice with a chainsaw.

Midwinter has been celebrated in icy style at Australia’s Casey, Davis and Mawson stations and on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

A sub-zero swim, traditional theatre and a sumptuous feast are just some of the ways the wintering expeditioners mark the shortest day of the year.

Midwinter is a significant time on station as it marks the half way point of the expedition and the slow return of the sun after months of darkness and freezing temperatures.