At Davis, big machines, little machines, outdoor adventure and science.

Nick’s Cartoon of the Week

Conserving Water

Diesel Mechanics Corey and Craig have come up with a novel idea on how to conserve station water — combine showering with vehicle washing in the outdoors.

Note: this cartoon does not depict real events.


There were lots of recordings this week, in the name of science!

Dave and Rob drove out to Adams Flat as part of the weekly water measurement project, whilst Adam, Paul and Dave measured the depth of the sea ice at ice points on to seven (excluding ice point six).

On the job

Earlier in the week the mechanical team commenced the annual services to small engine powered chainsaws and demo-saws. On station, the team have over 55 small engine powered generators, saws, drills and pumps to look after — certainly a good job to do when it’s a 'blizz day'.

And what happens when you're out in the cold snowy weather for too long? Your hair and beard freezes! In the photos below, Adam and Paul have fantastic icy beards on display.

Hägglunds training

Last week it was fitment of quad bike helmet visor updates and refresher training for riding and maintenance. The close of this week the dieso team is in full Hägglunds driver training mode, with the recurring theme being mobility for expeditioners to venture off station.

Hägglunds have had a long association with the Australian Antarctic Division for field travel at Davis. As you can see by the pictures below, they are in effect the SUV of the Antarctic. Over the years — with untold modifications at the workshop in Kingston, Tasmania — they have become the most efficient and reliable form of transport for the multiple tasks are carried out around the Vestfold Hills. With their four track drive, they can carry four people in the front cab in relative comfort while still having a substantial load carrying capacity in the rear compartment. For larger items an additional trailer that comes in various configurations can also be attached.

For expeditioners, the driver training program here on station basically consists of them navigating themselves around a prepared course. This, in no way, is a test of their driving skills. It is simply the best way of demonstrating the capability of the Hägglunds. The course is, for the most part, made up of open sections where the terrain itself is the obstacle, but we have also incorporated slalom runs and garage areas to manoeuvre in and around, all marked out by bamboo canes.

Mark Johnson 

In the field

Last weekend Sarah, Judy, Val and Josh ventured out onto the sea ice with their cross country skis. It was a perfect clear day and no wind. The team skied to Anchorage Island and took some time to explore the areas in-between.

Now that we’re getting good ice thickness readings, a party of five (Dom, Stu, Josh, Dave and Narelle) left station on Tuesday on quads with the aim of reaching Brookes hut. As this was the first time on the sea ice outside of station limits, the team drilled and measured the ice every 50 to 200 metres. The average ice thickness on route was 600mm and getting thicker by the day.

Who’s who at Davis

Sarah Payne, Scientist

What did you do before this?

I studied marine and Antarctic science at the University of Tasmania and finished a Master of Antarctic Science in 2012. Since then I have worked on and off as a scientific officer with the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston (Tasmania), and last summer I spent a couple of months at Davis as a research assistant with Southern Cross University.

Why Antarctica?

Antarctica has always intrigued me. It has a very unique environment, which is both beautiful and extreme. It is a place that many people are interested in, but very few people get to come to and experience. I feel very lucky, not only to come and visit this amazing place, but also stay for a whole year.

Previous Antarctic experience?

  • Summer in 2010–11
  • Summer in 2012–13

How will you spend your time down here?

I am working on a science project which is focusing on the microbial communities in some of the many saline lakes around the Vestfold Hills. This will involve me going out to the lakes and spending a lot of time filtering the lake water to collect samples of the microbes which live there. When I'm not in the field I will be working in the laboratory on station.

What will you miss?

Definitely my friends and family, and all the special events that I will miss while I am here.  

Best thing about being here?

Experiencing this amazing and challenging environment with a great group of people.

What will you do when you get back?

Spend some quality time with all my family and friends, and then I am planning to go on a holiday to Ireland and around Europe with my boyfriend. 


The sights of Davis station and beyond.