As the sea ice disappears the wildlife arrives.

Going going gone

December brought some balmy warm weather with average maximums of 2.2°C and the highest temperature of the month was 8.2°C.

As the sea ice around the station melted, cameras were set up at strategic points to record its departure. Finally, after some very gusty winds over the weekend, it blew out giving us a new, blue-watery view from the station.

A couple of seals were the first in to take advantage of the new beachfront.

The Old Wallow comes alive

At the Old Wallow the elephant seals are starting to arrive, most rubbing themselves into the well-used, accumulated years of discarded, sloughed off fur.

Some are tightly cradled together, pushing and shoving to find that nice comfortable position. With all the constant itching and scratching involved in moulting, they never seem to find that perfect spot.

Spa time

When it’s cold and windy outside, there’s no better time to enjoy a nice hot spa.

After six weeks of searching for chemicals for the spa, they were finally located in the dieso’s workshop.

Our trusty plumbers Darryl and Scotty, aka Ferret and Sooty, have now got the spa up and running and available for all to enjoy.

Sunday outing to Law Cairn

On a Sunday outing to Law Cairn, with all the beauty, varieties and shapes of rocks, the surrounding Vestfold hills and the beautiful blue colour of Dingle Lake, one seems to lose track of time, as evidenced by my overdue return to the station.

I received a good gesture from Linc on his ‘milk run’ to meet me just at the base of the last hill by the quarry.

Vestfold art show

The Vestfold Hills can be counted as one of Earth’s wonders. This approximately 400km2, relatively ice free terrain, contains the jumbled up crumbs of discarded rock left behind as the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated to its present position.

Many of the rocks have travelled hundreds of kilometres from their original locality, caught up in the ice sheet, only to be dumped as debris — aliens to the bedrock present.

The relentless wind has then done its job — sandblasting softer minerals and creating some weird and wonderful sculpted forms.

Some of the stunning shapes and colours are in the images that follow…

Food matters

People often ask “what are everyday mealtimes like for expeditioners?” Well — pretty much just like what you would have at home. Breakfast is from 07:00–08:00 and we provide a large range of breakfast cereals, fruit, homemade yoghurt, teas, coffees, juices and fresh bread, which is baked daily.

At 10:00 on workdays we have ‘Smoko’, which is often something pastry-based and often served warm or hot; like savoury cheese scrolls or pancakes or scones or sausage rolls. Once a week on Wednesdays, we have ‘Hot Smoko’ which is like a full English breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, baked beans, toast — yum! It’s definitely a favourite meal on station.

Lunch is from 12:30–13:30 and is usually a hot soup, fresh breads and rolls, cold meats, cheese, and salads. We often have a hot dish at lunch as well, like pasta or risotto.

Dinner is after work from 18:00–19:00. During the week we usually provide a couple of hot choices, like a roast or steaks or a casserole or curry with a range of hot vegetables to accompany. Sometimes we make a hot pudding, and there is always ice cream.

Meals are eaten in the mess — a large common area with plenty of tables, chairs and windows which look over the bay and provide us with great views! Expeditioners help themselves from a hot and cold servery.

During the day, the chefs are helped in the kitchen by ‘Slushies’. Everyone on station is expected to help in the kitchen and all expeditioners are rostered on Slushy duty at some stage during their time here. After meals, everyone helps out with clearing up in the mess and washing their own plates and dishes.

The new coffee machine

After months of drinking instant coffee, Davis residents are now able to enjoy espresso coffee again, with the installation of a new coffee machine.

After much debate about where to locate it, the machine was installed in its own purpose-built place, in a space next to the stairs at the end of the mess.

The new coffee bar was designed and built by Nick Cartwright and although still undergoing the finishing touches, Davis baristas are already whipping up their favourite cappuccinos, macchiatos, and lattes.