Dave B, Winter maintenance building services supervisor (BSS), Deputy Station Leader, Mahjong Monday
master member, ‘59'ers club member
Dave, can you actually remember how many trips you have done to Antarctica? What keeps you coming back to the ice continent?
This is my third winter, first at Casey 2009, second at Macca 2013 and now at Davis 2015. I also have had two summers at Davis, first in 2007/8 and then 2011/12. I keep coming back because where else do you get to do, see and experience the multitude of things (that we sometimes take for granted) while working in one of the most challenging and rewarding environments in the world?
Doc: Wow! I’m impressed, that you remembered the dates.
What is it like being the BSS here?
It can be very rewarding, it can also be flat out, hurry up and wait all in the same day. Mostly you rely on the skills and attributes of the team you are given, and the rest of the time you make it up in the hope that you are seen as wise rather than misinformed.
If not BSS/chippie what job would you do?
Doc: Fair enough!
Best gig as a chippie?
Dave, what do you love about Antarctica and what have been your most memorable experiences here?
Where do I begin? Every day on Macca, helicopter flights at Davis to some of the more remote locations, walking in the Vestfolds, the vibe that comes with a Casey summer. I love the journey across the Southern Ocean, the bigger the seas the better (depending on which vessel you are on!) the environment, long nights and even longer days, calm sunny days at Davis, blizzards and the plateau at Casey, the wildlife, landscape and freedom of Macca, but most of all it’s the people.
Dave who inspires you?
Forrest Gump. If you are going to commit to something do it to the best of your abilities, and don’t let others get you down. I do find it a bit harder to run like Forrest though.
Doc: You are not alone there Dave.
What have you learned living in a small community Dave?
As our current brewmaster, what has been the stand-out batch of the year (or is it like children where you love them all for what they are and don’t have favourites)?
They are like children, but loving them all has consequences, that extra kilo or three might be attributed to my nurturing nature. (Refer to ‘must have’ question.) It has been a great year in the brewery, with everyone answering the call at bottling time, along with the effort that Marc Mills has put in in the area of innovation, experimentation and research has been outstanding.
If you were a car, what car would you be?
Anything second hand: you can tell it has been to the panel beaters a few times, the engine has been tampered with, by the bloke next door who is a shop front designer by day, and did a two week DIY course online, some of the running gear is worn and creaks and clunks at times, it’s hard to get started in the mornings, but reliable!
What is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?
The correct fitting pants (two sizes bigger than what you are wearing before you get on the ship). Please refer to brewing question!
As one of the three expeditioners on station born in 1959, can you enlighten us about the ‘59'ers club (its status, privileges, influence and power etc.)?
Being the baby of the group gives me the opportunity to refer to the others in this elite club as the ‘old blokes'. We have regular club gathering to discuss relevant issues of the day such as pensions, superannuation, retirement, what ailments are giving us the most trouble; why don’t young people understand that you need to hear and understand the lyrics in songs to truly appreciate the gifted composers and musicians’ talents, and we have our music loud because we are getting hard of hearing, not because we need to feel the music vibrating through our head phones to be able to appreciate the music of Burl Ives, Kamal, Tom Jones and the Bay City Rollers. As the three ‘59'ers, we have not been awarded with any special privileges, status or power, this has appropriately and deservedly been given to the one person that has wisdom, AGE and beauty on their side and can remember some parts of the 50s.
Doc: I can’t imagine who you can possibly be referring to there David.
How have you managed to cope spending a second winter with our Birdman?
My friend Greg is not that hard to manage or live with, just give him something shiny and he will be happy for days.
Doc: Of course, we all do love Birdman when he is happily twittering away.
If you could be someone else, who would it be?
Why would I want to be someone else? I strive for excellence, set my goals high and are happy and content with average. (Sound like my school reports.)
Doc: Good philosophy Dave. A wise man in medicine once said ‘Perfection is unattainable, strive for excellence but sometime you have to be content with good enough’.
What is in store when you return home Dave?
Taking my 88 year old mother to Norfolk Island for a holiday, trying to fit back in to family life and resuming my place at the head of the hierarchy in the home (possibly have to start at the bottom there) and work.
Doc: Well Dave, I think you may have come up in the pecking order now that the cat has shuffled off this mortal coil.
Absolute pearls of wisdom there David. I like to think of the ‘59'ers as a bit like a big fly wheel. It might take a bit of effort to get the speed up, but once they are up and running it takes a lot to stop that power and momentum.