This week at Davis our teams head north and south on the sea ice to Bandits, Brookes, Watts and Platcha huts. Our infrastructure crews are hard at work in the living quarters and waste water treatment facility, our curling facility is christened with a Friday night opening ceremony, and the preparations for our midwinter celebrations begin in earnest. (Except for our chef who has been working solidly on it for several weeks). For you, dear reader, may we extend an invitation to join us for the occasion (invitation attached).


Further progress is being made in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Works in the ring main unit are progressing well, with the ceiling and wall mounted fittings and fixtures starting to go in. Up on the mezzanine level the plumbers are continuing with the installation of the supply air ductwork and heating hot water pipework. Another section of the ceiling has been completed, with the last lick of paint going on today.

The carpenters now change focus for a bit and tackle another wall section at high level to allow the duct to continue through. Down in the sleeping and medical quarters, the electrical work that needs to be completed before the new furniture is installed in each bedroom has begun.

Field trip to Platcha

On the last Saturday prior to midwinters, Ducky led his team ‘VLZ 3’ (Aaron C, Marc M and James M) out onto the sea ice in the yellow Hägg. Part business and part recreational, the objective was to overnight at Platcha hut and swap out equipment at both Platcha and Brookes huts, and take this month’s water level measurement at Deep Lake.

Deep Lake is hypersaline and therefore does not freeze. Because of this it can be accessed year round for measurements. Located below sea level and with no known outlet the only means of water loss/gain is evaporation/precipitation with water gain due to snowfall. Water level measurements taken from the lake are therefore useful in assessing climate.

The team completed all of its objectives and had a great night of lamb and beef curries accompanied by some homebrew at Platcha to boot. Marc even had time to teach James a thing or two about operating Häggs, all within a backdrop of extraordinarily beautiful scenery blending with the blue and purple hues of winter’s low light.

Thanks lads for another great outing.

Hägg training

Team Dieso recently ran the station through their winter Hägglunds oversnow vehicle training. This began with full pre-starts and minor fault finding along with tips on how to not end up owing a carton. Following this, we took the trainees one-on-one out onto the sea ice, to refresh their knowledge of how to navigate using the GPS systems and radars that are on board. This is useful because in blizzard conditions, visibility is often down to zero. On return to station, ‘Team Dieso’ ran the trainees through a complete shutdown procedure and post operation check of the Häggs. This is just as important as the start-up procedure and helps us find problems that need to be remedied.

Some of our expeditioners didn’t get to do the ‘blind driving’ component back in summer, contrary to Rowdy’s believe that this would require some Dutch courage, this is actually just placing a sleeping mat in front of the windscreen so the willing student could not see outside, making navigation by radar mandatory. A special trip was undertaken to Bandits (up north) and Watts huts (south along Ellis Fjord) to change out some fuel pumps and collect generators for servicing: two birds with one stone. Actually, there was only one bird: Greg.

Greg and Rowdy were ‘allowed’ to navigate using the radar to avoid sastrugi and icebergs, so we set off using only the radar and GPS with the windscreen covered as mentioned. The pace was quite steady, thankfully. It takes a lot of concentration to avoid hitting growlers and bergy bits which show up as small dots on the radar screen. The training was completed safely (thanks Rowdy) and the station is much wiser now on the intricacies of the Hägglunds oversnow vehicles.

Winter Olympics: part I

As any high performance athlete will assert, maximising your athletic potential means ensuring you don’t reach your peak too soon. Throughout summer, and thus far through winter, we have been conserving our game faces for the epic celebration of athleticism that is the ‘Davis Winter Olympic Games'.

Commencing last Friday evening (for simulcast purposes required by all major networks) with the ‘Green Store Curling Championship', the games pit work group against workgroup, mates against mates, and husbands against wives.

The first game was hosted in the green store, with one of the aisles converted into a curling ‘rink’. It took some brilliant backward thinking to place the stones the wrong way around. Black plastic was used to simulate the ice sheet, and Chris G had made the ‘stones’ out of ice. Each participant had three attempts to make their best total score. The team from operations currently lead the teams event, and your station news’ very own Brendan H took out the individual honours.

Next week we'll see all the action from the indoor ice hockey goal shooting competition.

Midwinter preparations

Preparations for midwinter day have picked up pace in the last few days. Chef Damian T has been working away on all the goodies for the special dinner. The highlight for most of this week was watching him cut the tops off raw eggs to use the shells as part of the spectacle of food presentation.

Chris G has been busy carving a penguin from a block of ice. The spa has been fired up and is being monitored. We fill it with snow daily until it’s nice and full. The spa helps those taking the traditional midwinter swim cope with the cold.

Your invitation to Davis station midwinter celebrations