A proposal to set your heart on fire, as Corey pops the question to Sarah in one of the most picturesque ways possible. Read their story, and more, this week from Davis.

Nick’s Cartoon of the Week

When Nick and Corey responded to a fire team scenario, they forgot to take into account one of the two personnel they were required to retrieve may have been a real person, and not two dummies.

Sarah and Corey announce their engagement

During the summer of 2010/11 Corey (diesel mechanic) and Sarah (scientist) met at Davis station where they formed a wonderful relationship. Together four years on, and back at Davis for the winter, Corey popped the big question. Corey proposed to Sarah at Bandits hut on the weekend and both returned to station very excited with their news. We're not sure who’s more excited, Corey and Sarah, or the entire Davis winter team but we can say we are all very proud and honored to share in this special occasion.

Sarah is now proudly wearing a stunning diamond engagement ring and all 20 of us are grinning from ear to ear. Congratulations Sarah and Corey on your engagement.

A message from your Davis colleagues — you have 18 bridesmaids and groomsmen in waiting!

Fire team training

Late last week the Davis team participated in a well organised fire drill exercise involving rescuing two personnel from a smoke filled building. The fake smoke worked like a treat as Corey and Nick — wearing breathing apparatus gear —  had to move from one end of the building to the other in zero visibility to locate the personnel. Fire Chief Adam, who coordinated the response, did an outstanding job as did all participants.


There was quite a lot of focus on science this week with numerous teams heading off station to undertake tasks. The sea ice monitoring team (Paul, Stu and Josh) measured the ice depths at the seven designated locations — a weekly occurrence —  whilst Dave, PJ, Craig and Val visited Kazak, Gardner and Magnetic Islands to check on bird and sea ice monitoring cameras.

Corey, Alyce, Sarah and Rob participated in a three day reconnaissance trip to Bandits hut and surrounds. The below is an account of their trip : 

Bandits hut trip 15th-17th May 2014

On Thursday, four of us set out on a trip to Bandits hut. The mission was to investigate the Taynaya Bay/Organic Lake area and the surrounding fjords and sea ice.

Corey and Rob were tasked with assisting us (Alyce and Sarah) to investigate the accessibility of these areas for our winter scientific water sampling. As we were the first group to travel on these parts of the sea ice we also had to proof the routes, by measuring the thickness of the ice at regular intervals.

Leaving just after sunrise (11am), we were blessed with clear skies, no wind and −25°C temperatures. It was a beautiful trip up the coast through ‘Iceberg Alley’ with the sun rising behind the ‘bergs.

A quick stop at Organic Lake allowed us to measure the ice thickness on the lake, and enjoy frozen sandwiches for lunch (travelling at −25°C has hidden challenges).

The setting of the sun (4pm) saw us arriving at our destination, the picturesque Bandits hut. This is the most northerly of the field huts in the Vestfold Hills, and it sits on an island between the Antarctic Plateau and the sea ice and its many icebergs. 

Day two saw us leaving the hut into another beautiful still, clear, cold day. The aim of the day was to investigate ways to enter Taynaya Bay from the sea ice or the fjords. 

  • Option 1: enter through Barker Channel. We thought we were onto a winner, riding up the channel with very thick ice, until a narrow section where we were confronted with open, flowing water. 
  • Option 2: enter through Bayly Bay, and across Fletcher Lake. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough snow covering in this area.

Another lunch of frozen sandwiches was had while we assessed our next option and planned the rest of the day. 

One last unsuccessful try at the end of Rybnaya Inlet and we were on our way back to Bandits hut to warm up, do some photography and pour a celebratory drink.

Being a Saturday, and our last morning in Bandits before heading back to station, we thought we would treat ourselves with some bacon on fruit toast (some of us added jam, others barbeque sauce). Now we aren’t sure if it tasted amazing just because we were in the field or because it was actually amazing but it was a great breakfast (we shall experiment further and come back with a conclusion on whether this was or wasn’t amazing). 

Today we made our way down Tryne Fjord trying our third and final option of getting into Taynaya Bay — success! Finally we had found a way in! Unfortunately, the sea ice in Taynaya Bay isn’t thick enough yet to support a Hägglunds towing our sampling equipment. 

From here we continued our way down Tryne Fjord, across Pioneer Crossing and onto Long Fjord to make our way past Ace Lake and back to Davis station. Unfortunately a section of the sea ice in Long Fjord before Ace Lake turned out to be not thick enough for quad travel. We turned around and found an alternative route back to the sea ice and Davis station.

By 4pm we had found our way back, all four of us very ready for a nice warm shower and a hot meal (frozen lunches had lost their novelty by day three).

Whilst we didn’t get to check the ice thickness and accessibility of Ace Lake, we did manage to drill Organic Lake, find a way into Taynaya Bay, and proof the route to Bandits hut via the sea ice for future trips. And of course enjoy three beautiful (if cold) days out in the Antarctic wilderness all the time surrounding by amazing scenery: icebergs, gorgeous sunsets, sunrises and the nearly always present full moon!

Sarah and Alyce (scientists team)

In the field

Although our daylight hours are diminishing rapidly, we are still able to take the opportunity to head off station to explore our surrounds and test the depth of the sea ice. Our current mode of transport is the trusted quad bike, however ice depth readings are now closer to 600+ mm at most locations. As soon as we have consistent readings over 600 mm, we'll be able to take advantage of the slightly warmer and comfortable four seated vehicle.

Scenic images