Resupply is one of the busiest periods of the year at Davis. The Aurora Australis not only delivers the new seasons expeditioners to Davis but also the supplies and materials that are needed on station for the next twelve months. The cargo includes fruit, vegetables, clothing, household goods, building materials, medical supplies, stationary and even a 35 tonne crane. During this resupply over 600 tonne of cargo and 600,000 litres of fuel was unloaded from the ship in less than seven days.
The resupply at Davis is unique in that it conducted over ice. It can take several days for the ship to break its way through the fast ice to get close enough to Davis to moor. When close enough to the station the ship stops breaking in and 1.6 metre thick ice secures it in place. An ice road is then constructed from the station to the ship. A two kilometre hose is laid from the ship to the station for the fuel transfer.
The thick ice is that strong that heavy vehicles can be driven right up to the side of the ship and cargo unloaded via the ship’s crane directly onto waiting vehicles below. All the expeditioners involved in the resupply are thoroughly trained and briefed in the operation which can be risky in such an unusual cold environment.
Resupply went very smoothly and the fresh fruit and food was very much appreciated, especially by last year’s winterers whom hadn’t tasted a fresh orange for a long time.