Over the last five months, there are two people who have shared the responsibility of being constantly vigilant.
Sleeping with one ear honed to the crackle of a handheld radio is second nature, as is long days keeping track of the rest of us.
They are our station communication operators, Linda M and Robyne C, aka VLZ Davis (their callsign) and they remain an integral part of the big picture and of that they can be proud. Plus, who else will print the puzzle and papers each day?
This week, we speak to Linda and Robyne.
Q) What do you do when you're not here at Davis manning the comms desk? (Over.)
Linda: “Air traffic controller”
Robyne: “Hard to say really. A bit of RAAF air traffic control, a few years as assistant winemaker, some fun as a project administrator, and not sure what next.”
Q) Where and when have you been a comms operator with the Australian Antarctic Division?
Linda: “Casey: summer (2013/14)”
Robyne: “ Casey: summer (2010/11), Mawson Commonwealth Bay Commemorative Voyage (2012), Mawson Resupply (2012)”
Q) What are some of your responsibilities here at the comms desk?
Linda: “Keeping watch over all groups off station including aircraft, boats, vehicles and people using a variety of communication methods — VHF radios, HF radios, satellite phones.”
Robyne: “Overseeing the many hours of flying activities, the short bursts of boating, the random nature of field operations and station daily life.”
Q) What are some of the good aspects of the job?
Linda: “The job brings you to this fantastic environment”
Robyne: “The odd hours, the coming and going of people on station, the days when things get done and people are pleased and tired.”
Q) What challenges do you encounter?
Linda: “Expected to be a mind reader… :) and long hours”
Robyne: “Keeping yourself amused in between the coming and going of people and the times things get done.”
Q) What’s a good memory you take from this season?
Linda: “Fabulous people I've met, riding quads on the sea ice through the bergs at start of season, iceberg boat cruises, two overnight trips with fabulous company: one to Trajer Ridge, and one extended walk to Sordsal Glacier.”
Robyne: “The elephant seals — they are like big, smelly puppies.”
Q) Anything else?
Linda: “Did I mention the fabulous people I've met?”
Robyne: “It’s addictive — the view, the weather, the good people, the good food, the seals…”
Copy that. Well thanks to you both, this is VLZ Davis. (Out.)