Return of the big, fat Elephant Seals, a visit to the Prince Charles Mountains and some helicopter hauling.

Australia Day big boys

With Australia Day comes the arrival of the heavy weights at Davis — the beach masters are back, fresh from feeding up to recover from a hectic two to three months at the breeding beaches of the peri-Antarctic islands.

PCMs from a pilot’s point of view

A couple of times this season we’ve been out in the Prince Charles Mountains (PCMs), assisting those who I affectionately called the rock biologists.

We carry them around to many interesting sites, or anywhere there may be life, looking for lichens and soils.

The PCMs are situated on either side of the Amery Ice Shelf — a unique mountain range where some of the peaks stick almost straight up from sea level at around 6000 feet, nearly 2000 metres!

Other peaks are enveloped in ice up to about 3000 feet above sea level.

Whilst we had some amazing scenery it was not without its hassles. Some sites were quite high and others had quite strong turbulent winds… it’s not all glamorous!

These guys and girls did it hard in my mind, camping out for 60 days. I was quite happy to seek the luxury of a warm bed and hot running water after only spending a few days with them…

Good on you guys and thanks for allowing me the chance to take you around all that marvelous scenery!

Helicopter hauling

With the departure of the Twin Otter, which was taking five drums of fuel, and the arrival of the Basler that takes 25 drums each time the skis touch the ground, meant this week the helicopters have been busy hauling fuel drums to the skiway. The addition of a B2 helicopter to the fleet this summer has enabled us to haul in excess of 100 drums to the skiway in a day, which has kept the pressure off us somewhat. We visited Progress and the new Indian station in the Larsemann Hills to look at the construction going on there, along with the usual field work carried out in the Vestfolds.