Sea ice drilling and quality jade berg tours at davis.

Tim and Bob’s overnight adventure

Just like arriving in any new part of the world, it’s great to have some ‘locals’ show you around. So when the opportunity arose to explore the frozen fjords of the Davis area on quad bikes, I jumped at it. Our guides were Tim, last year’s winter carpenter, and Bob, last year’s winter Climate Processes Change (CPC) engineer. The two ‘tourists’ were Cam, summer carpenter, and myself, summer chef. Our first stop was a pod of Weddell seals with their young. We then made our way up to Bandits Hut, which was to be home for the night. Located on an island with stunning views over the massive bergs frozen in the sea of white that makes up ‘Iceberg Alley’.

Spending the evening sitting outside watching the sun skirt around the horizon of the polar plateau has to be my highlight of the summer so far. Next morning we zig-zagged our way through the icebergs to visit a cairn left by early explorers back in 1939, an Adelie penguin colony and then topped it of with a tour of the fabled jade berg of Davis.

If you are ever in the area I can highly recommend ‘Tim & Bob’s Overnight Adventures’ with a solid five star rating. Because you just can’t beat local knowledge.


Sea ice drilling and testing

Sea ice drilling is undertaken regularly by expeditioners whilst travelling on sea ice (whether on foot, quad or Hägglunds) to determine the suitability for ongoing travel. The test includes measuring the depth having scraped away the snow, looking at the structure and moisture content. This includes tasting the sea ice to understand how salty it is. Good quality sea ice is free of a salt taste. Sea ice which is decaying and of poor quality increases in salt and can be mild to very salty. Like over-doing your salt on chips.

As sea ice is merely a frozen film on the surface of the ocean, it is unpredictable and uncertain in thickness, strength and reliability. Sea water freezes at approximately −1.8 degrees. The minimum safe thickness for travel on fresh ice is 20cm for foot or ski, 40cm for a snowmobile and 60cm for a Hägglunds.

The answer to Nick’s cryptic cartoon from last week was… station limits.