As the sun moves a little higher in the sky the team have done us proud once again. The carpenter’s hammer’s in the final nail on the coffin of the Davis Winter Olympics competition, the infrastructure team manoeuvres a grease trap, green auroras light the way through the night, the Doc takes a refresher on first aid kits and completes her weekly dozen with our very own sub-editor Brendan H.


The last sheet of ceiling plaster that could be installed in the wastewater treatment plant before the coming season was hung this week. From here, the focus for the carpenters turns to building walls instead of working overhead. This has freed up more area for the plumbers to continue on duct work.

Up on the mezzanine level, Aaron has been working on a new cable tray section for cabling from the ring main unit to the rest of the building.

Maintenance electrician Geoff was found performing ‘electrickery’ on the switchboard in the sleeping and medical quarters basement, working on upgrading some of the internal components.

Grease trap

A brand new grease trap and holding tank are two of the pieces of equipment that are needed for the new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). This kit is needed to remove grease from the kitchen waste before the water makes its way to the WWTP. We needed to place the trap and the tank in the living quarter’s basement. Sound simple? Not quite — after two days of clearing snow with the front end loader and tidying up with a skid steer and a shovel, we’d opened up access to the living quarter’s basement roller door. Then there was a half day of unpacking containers to get to both pieces, that of course were packed towards the back of the containers. The holding tank was able to be carried through the roller door by hand, but the grease trap was much bigger and heavier. To get it through the doorway we had a 70mm clearance in height. Excellent operating by Scott W in the JCB saw the grease trap make it inside, under the watchful eye of Brendan and Ducky, and Aaron helped.

Davis Winter Olympics: The final round

On Saturday afternoon the station community gathered up beyond the workshop to take part in the final round of competition for the 2015 Davis Winter Olympics.

Well rested following the quad luge event of some weeks prior, the 21 athletes’ 42 eyes gazed intently across the dizzying array of canes that marked the field of play for the final event: Hägg Slalom.

This event pitted individuals and teams against one another as each competitor carefully negotiated the yellow Hägglands vehicle around a giant slalom course of epic proportions, testing and reinforcing the driving skills each had developed over the winter season. Long arching turns, tricky dog legs and a reverse slalom section required skill and finesse over speed. Fittingly, a resounding victory was handed to Team Dieso who secured first, second and third places.

This being the final event, scores were tallied and an overall first place in the Davis Winter Olympics was awarded to David B of Team Chippy, with second and thirrd places awarded to Chris G (Team Chippy) and Scotty W (Team Chippy) respectively. In a surprise outcome, Team Chippy won the team competition outright with plumbers and diesos finishing second and third respectively.

A sincere thanks to all participants, sponsors and supporters of the Davis Station 2015 Winter Olympics, and particularly to Chris G of Team Chippy for organising such a fun, inventive and ultimately transparent sporting event!

Around station

Doc’s Dozen

Brendan H: Building services supervisor (Projects), SAR technically trained team member, Davis station news sub–editor, ping pong enthusiast and English breakfast tea devotee

Brendan, how many trips have you done to Antarctica now and what brings you back here?

This is my third trip south, but that doesn’t include double crossing of the Southern ocean for the 08/09 season. So far the ship has brought me back each time, but the aeroplane has taken me home once.

What is it like being a plumber/BSS here?

Work–wise, being the project BSS isn’t too far removed from what I do at home, which is working as a foreman for a mechanical services company specialising in commercial/industrial construction. With this role here at Davis I get to work more closely with the chippies and the sparkies than I would running a crew of only plumbers back home.

If not a plumber, what job would you do?

I’m still yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

[Doc: Forget the in-between bit Brendan; just go straight to grumpy old man.]

What has been your best gig as a plumber and what is the worst bit of plumbing you have ever seen?

Best gig is easily this one. Nothing really springs to mind. Back home, apprentices are pretty good at providing some entertaining works but they’re there to learn, so as long as they don’t repeat the mistakes it’s all good.

Best experience in Antarctica?

Flying to the Russian base Progress was a highlight this summer. After my winter here at Davis in 2007 I was lucky enough to get to fly to Casey for a summer. That entailed a helicopter flight up to the ski landing area and then a fixed wing flight to Casey with a stop for fuel at the cache at Bunger Hills. Breathtaking scenery.

What do you love about Antarctica?

The people you meet really make this place. Of course you’ll take home photos of scenery and animals but you’ll also take home fantastic memories and make some lifelong friends; and I don’t have to pay for tea to feed my addiction; and free bacon.

[Doc: I’m guessing that Chef Damian’s Saturday morning smoko is your top meal of the week.]

Who inspires you?

Joe Brennan

[Doc: Ah yes. If my memory serves me correctly (see Doc’s Dozen, 27th April 2012 ), Joe had a penchant for the odd piece of bacon.]

What have you learned living in a small community?

You all ate my Sultana Bran!

[Doc: Now Brendan, it’s not a total disaster. There are items on the medical self-help bar to combat a little spot of irregularity.]

If you were a car, what car would you be?

I’ve never really understood this type of question, so I did what any normal person would do — I took an online quiz. Well I actually took two. Not because I didn’t like the initial outcome, I just wanted some objectivity. So apparently I’d either be a Jaguar convertible or a Volvo station wagon.

[Doc: Oh, come on Brendan! They can’t both be right. We all know which one is the correct answer. Was it a beige Volvo station wagon and were you wearing a hat?]

Brendan, what is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?

My own thermos. Good luck trying to find a station thermos with a matching lid and cap; and a tin mug for the field trips; and wireless headphones; and a Leatherman knife in a good solid leather belt case.

[Doc: Perhaps a cubic metre of Sultana Bran next time Brendan.]

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

Online quiz time again, wait a sec… Well that ended badly. Apparently I’m most like either Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift. I’m not convinced that these quizzes are particularly accurate. It must be a very complicated algorithm.

[Doc: Yes Brendan, like a lot of things in life, it’s complicated.]

What is in store when you return home?

Mostly staying inside under the air conditioning to avoid the heat.

Well Brendan, I must say I am delighted that you agreed to this little interview and I am sure that the thousands of This week at Davis readers would agree that it has been an absolute treat to learn about the ins and outs of Antarctic plumbing. I hope that the special home delivery of Sultana Bran from Mawson will keep you going until Voyage 1.

The passage of time

It only seems as if it was yesterday that we were plunging into the fringed waters of Prydz Bay for the traditional midwinter dunking (of the young and brave amongst us), but now we seem to be in full swing of clearing snow, ordering supplies for next year, and consigning plant equipment and ourselves back home.

It never ceases to amaze me how quick the seasons and the year fly down here. Summer comes and summer goes in a blur of people, activity, sun and social commitments. The first half of the winter is then spent adjusting, acclimatising to the environment, and getting used to the sun disappearing below the horizon for weeks (which casts us into the decreasing/increasing dawn and dusk twilight zone that is now a thing of the past). Time is also spent wandering the passage ways of the living quarters at the weekend looking for someone to play with, talk to or interact with.

As the second half of the winter starts the hours of sunlight make us think more about sunscreen and sunglasses and less about snow goggles, neck warmers and beanies. More talk about what you are doing when you return, where you are going on holidays, when to book the holidays (normally at least one month after the return to Australia date — not two weeks as some have already done?), what you are going to do once you hit the streets of Hobart, the complexities of carrying a wallet, using a mobile phone, noise, colour, smells and remembering all your passwords for all of the aforementioned necessities of life.

Twelve weeks sounds a lot, but as we all know from our experience of the past nine months, that will fly by in the blink of an eye.

See you all soon!

Dave B