This week at Davis, the last before the sun returns to pay us a visit, the team has been busy with stock takes and infrastructure works as well as plenty of field trips and some great nights in over the weekend. Best wishes to you all and thanks for checking up on us.


This week sees the trades team really sinking their teeth in to one of the most enjoyable jobs of the year — the annual stocktake. Every conceivable item that may be used during the year needs to be accounted for and formulates the bulk of the reorder that comes in during our resupply on voyage one (V1). It may get a little tedious at times but let’s face it, you're inside, you're warm and you're comfortable. And that specialist part that you were looking for six months ago that you were sure you’d seen in that magical place known as ‘somewhere’ has turned up. It has even allowed the diesos to get their minds working on the latest and greatest technology, microfiche.

Whilst the great count of 2015 continues, works are still progressing. The maintenance guys are completing monthly and annual checks as prescribed, the new furniture in the station  medical quarters (SMQ) continues and the waste water treatment plant building works keep progressing.

Doing the rounds

Late last week, Rowdy, Davo and Horse ventured out in a Hägglunds tracked vehicle for a field trip overnighting at Bandits hut, while also visiting Brookes and Platcha huts and rookery, and Ace Lake apple huts.

The team conducted checks on fire extinguishers in the huts whilst also taking some time to enjoy the natural beauty of these special locations.

Friday night BBQ

After months of our beloved chef being unable to stay long at Friday night drinks or game nights such as the ‘Midwinter Olympics', we decided to give him the night off and hold the first annual ‘Plumbers’ BBQ’ at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The station was a ghost town with two field parties out, so the remaining expeditioners were queuing up to taste the wonderful wares cooked up by myself and my sous chef Aaron C. 

With the orders of medium rare to medium well, everyone left with a full tummy of well done steak and snags, not to mention a selection of greens provided by the good lads in hydroponics. Unfortunately the chef once again could not attend as he found this a premium time to take a much needed break in the field.

Although for sake of his refined pallet it may have been a good idea! A great success for the first of what may become a legacy event.

“Not to mention the now delicious aromas that greets the projects team of a morning as they enter the WWTP.”

Saturday night Tanabata (star festival)

Saturday night was Japanese Tanabata (or Star Festival), an event in Japan featuring the hanging, on bamboo trees, of coloured paper with wishes written on them. Our celebration here on Davis station featured the Japanese ‘sushi express', the most reliable train service in the southern hemisphere. It stops all stations between the kitchen and the bar fridge.
The menu for the evening: sushi, tonjiru pork soup, vegetable and prawn tempura, seaweed salad, home-made dipping sauces and a Japanese cheesecake for dessert. A fantastic effort by all involved led to an excellent night of gastronomy and entertainment.
The event also featured an original game of sushi train Jenga. Once you have removed a piece of Jenga, as the train passes your seat, you must then pray the tower stays in one piece before it arrives at the next player.
Overall, a great night was had by all!

Field trip to Platcha

Now that midwinters and all the shenanigans that goes along with it is well and truly over and the belts have been let out a notch (thank you Damian) it is time for jolly season.

With the hut board filling up fast I decided to book some exclusive accommodation on the bonny banks of Breid basin, Platcha hut to be exact. I (Chris G) rounded up a few of the more savoury expeditioners, Sealy and ‘chainsaw’ Kev.

We three hardy souls set off from Davis in the yellow ‘terror’ Hägglunds tracked vehicle on Friday afternoon chasing the blue ‘gorgeous’ Hägglunds with some of the more unsavoury expeditioners traveling within. We set a blistering pace of nearly 20 kms/hr and soon had them in our sights. Once we reached the entrance to the fjord we parted ways with us continuing on to Platcha and the others off to Bandits.

After a few hours of driving (or more like getting rattled around in an out of balance washing machine on its spin cycle) we arrived at our lakeside retreat to find to our relief it was still there and unoccupied. Those rumours of squatters turned out to be false.

Upon arrival we set about getting the hut warm and other important jobs: preparing the cheese platter and letting the wine breathe. We then settled in for a night of talking rubbish and the telling of bad jokes as well as the obligatory consumption of Fray Bentos pies. It was once said that if Scott had had Fray Bentos pies he would have beaten Amundsen to the pole.

Morning greeted us with a sked followed by a round of cheese and bacon toasties, then the main objective of the weekend to go up onto the plateau to check out the route to Trajer ridge melon. All was well on the plateau and we nearly caught a glimpse of the sun due to our higher elevation but alas we will have to wait another few weeks. After our strenuous sojourn onto the plateau, we threaded our way through the maze of rafted ice back to our home away from home, away from home.

After another fine meal and a short nap — it’s very tiring all this lounging around — the skies decided to put on an awesome display of the aurora australis. Many photos were taken while we stood in awe at the sights above us. “Stunning” is all I can say. Once we were cold through we headed back into the warmth of the hut for more refreshments and a solid night’s sleep (I had earplugs in this night).

Again we were rudely interrupted by the radio sked. You just can’t quite escape everything down here. Off we headed in our yellow washing machine back to station after a very leisurely breakfast. Following a hot shower and some food we lounged around telling tales and showing photos of the trip just gone.

A great trip done, now to start planning the next.

Field trip to Bandits

Food packed, refreshments packed, survival gear packed, radios, GPS, CO detector and EPIRB all packed into the ‘gorgeous’ blue Hägglunds tracked vehicle for a weekend of reading and relaxation in the elevated Bandits hut. Four intrepid souls bound for Bandits mingled with those bound for Platcha as the Häggs warmed up, a final departing team portrait was taken then in we settled for the not so smooth ride.

As the piercing bright headlights came to life, Damian, our driver for the afternoon, eased the handbrake off and lulled the Hägg into clawing its way across white snow crunching it into submission as we proceeded towards the sea ice and out of station limits. With the track north programmed into the GPS/radar, Damian steered between the snow and ice patched route around islands and fortress like icebergs on the seemingly limitless sea of ice. Light to moderate winds whipped up snow which skidded across the white surface and filtered the headlights for a less than average view forward.

At our farthest northern point of the trip, Damian turned our Hägg east for the final leg to Bandits hut. Reaching the edge of the sea ice, we traversed up over the fractured surface of tide cracks where ice sheets are pushed by the tide into long continuous mounds around the edge of the bay. Safe and sound off the sea ice, Damian, Greg, James and Brendan unloaded provisions into the hut. Certainly it was enough food for a week, not two nights. With the heater on, the Tilley lamp glowed with a comforting radiance and the four expeditioners settled in for refreshments, dinner and books.

The following morning, with a reassuring crack and hiss, the stove leapt to life heating water for the first cup of the day. All four had an excellent night’s sleep. Plans for the day conveyed back to station included book reading and with the clear calm weather outside, panoramic photography from the sacred summit above Bandits Hut. That night Damian ventured out for some aurora snapping and came back with award winning landscapes of green streaked night skies, speckled with the light from distant stars. Board games and books completed the night, complemented by crackers and cheese.

The next day, pre-warming the Hägg with a small generator allowed Brendan and Greg to fire the clattering diesel into life to ferry the traveller’s home through iceberg ally to home comforts of Davis station. A very comfortable and relaxing weekend was had by all.