A cheeky but friendly reminder to Casey when it comes to fitness competitions across stations.
This week at Davis: 2 May 2014
Nick’s Cartoon of the Week
ANZAC Day at Davis
Regardless of where you are in the world on ANZAC Day, it’s a day to honour the fallen and to acknowledge those who suffer still from the effects of war.
Like towns and cities across Australia, the Davis team stopped to remember and to honour — we commenced our day with a dawn service next to the flag poles. Dom sounded the traditional pipe, Layla, Rob, Craig and Paul provided the readings, and after the service concluded everyone enjoyed a superb ‘gunfire’ breakfast thanks to Lesley. A very competitive game of Two-Up followed using poker chips (each chip was valued at $1m) so you can imagine how lucky and rich some of the team felt as they won a handful of chips at a time. We ended the official ANZAC Day program with the movie Gallipoli in the cinema. Lest we forget.
With the sea ice thickening and expanding, it won’t be long before we can take the quad bikes and head out to the huts.
This week ‘Team Dieso’ (diesel mechanics) — Mark, Corey and Craig — provided training on quad maintenance and care, and a refresher on quad riding skills. The guys spent a few days preparing for the training which also included cutting out a gentle, but realistic, course over a few kilometres around station. It was a well spent few hours and was appreciated by all who attended.
The times arrives every Tuesday to head out and complete the task of measuring the sea ice thickness. Fortunately we have now been given permission to take quads onto the ice, which not only saves the effort of walking some six kilometres but also makes it a bit more enjoyable.
This week saw Dave, my trusty offsider, Mark the station mechanical supervisor and myself head off for first time on the ice this season on quads.
We measure the ice for the glaciologists back at head office in Kingston, Tasmania, and also to record the depths to open the ice for travel here. We have a number of reasons to travel over the ice. One is to retrieve equipment left up at Woop Woop our airstrip at the end of summer, which is only accessible over the ice to the plateau. This consists of: snow groomer, Hägglunds, skid steer, and a skidoo, which all have to be returned to the station for annual maintenance.
It will also allow us to travel to the out-stations, which we have occupying various locations around the Vestfolds. These locations act as a refuge for expeditioners caught out in the weather and they also provide a nice change from station life. Stay tuned for stories on ice travel!
On the job
This week the dieso team at Davis have been busy modifying the quad bike fleet to accommodate a new type of lead for the heated visor on the riders’ helmet.
In total we have fourteen quad bikes on station and they are the most common form of transport on and off station.
Two quads are separated from the rest, as they must always be ready and available for ‘search and rescue’ roles should the need ever arise. The other twelve are made available to expeditioners and scientists alike to enable them to carry out not only their duties, but also to create the opportunity for recreation travel away from station.
For added safety all expeditioners are put through an accredited riding course prior to coming to Antarctica, they then complete a two day travel training program based from station to build up experience and confidence in Antarctic and station specific conditions.
We have also found time to carry out repairs to a couple of sleds, this is all in anticipation of the sea ice opening up to quad travel in the near future.
Who’s who on station
Dom Eyre-Walker — Station Supplies Officer
What did you do before this?
I’m currently a member of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) employed as a storeman (maritimes logistics). The Royal Australian Navy have granted me leave without pay for 18 months so I can fulfill a lifelong dream (thank you RAN) to work at one of Australia’s Antarctic research stations. I’ve been employed by the Navy for eight years, worked on numerous ships, deployed to the US, Canada, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Prior to working for the Navy I was a storeman with Coca Cola.
To go somewhere that not to many people have been, to experience the harsh conditions, the wildlife, and to take on another fun challenge in life. I have wanted to come to Antarctica for more than 20 years. I first applied in the early 90’s however due to circumstances beyond my control at the time it wasn’t possible. I could have travelled south on a cruise ship as a tourist but that’s such a short-lived experience. I wanted to really experience the environment and the community life, to see the seasons change and the animals come and go.
Previous Antarctic experience?
Nil but if you consider working in a cool room I have had lots of experience. My only other experience has involved watching docos and reading books, but that doesn’t really count.
How will you spend your time down here?
Besides working and assisting scientists with their projects I’m also keen to get off station and travel on the sea ice and visit the huts. I also find time to go to the gym and look after my health, and research various concepts and designs for a house I want to build on my return to country Victoria. I’ll also enjoy getting to know my work colleagues, hearing their stories, learning from them, and sharing the Antarctic experience. I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time shoveling snow and putting numerous layers of clothes on.
And of course spending hours a night online, communicating with friends and family.
What will you miss?
Family and friends, my girlfriend, going out to various venues, camping under a ‘tree’ in the bush, latest movie releases and of course, lawn mowing.
Best thing about being here?
I’ve finally achieved my goal - a dream has come true. To watch docos and read about it is one thing but to live it and feel it is the best. No book or documentary can ever give you the real experience or all the “Wow“s from friends when they see photos of the things I see and do while I’m here.
There’s always plenty to do here in your (very limited) spare time, and that includes taking ‘selfies'!
The sights, sounds and smells of Davis station.