Greetings everyone. This week at Davis, the finishing touches to the concrete work continues on the waste water treatment plant, expeditioners say Hola! to a theme night, we look at aviation, and Ducky’s remote housecall.

Cementing a future

A large milestone was completed this week in the construction of the waste water treatment plant (WWTP) building. The last internal slab was poured, bringing much joy to Mark (Junior — see image at bottom of page). The team have the apron at the front of the panel lift door and a small pad outside the rear stairs, and that will be the concreting done for the season. Including the apron in the total, the slabs have consumed 115 x 1800 kg batches of concrete. To make this amount, we needed to add 17,365 L of water heated to 60°C, along with 1.25 L of Visco plasticiser additive and 500 mls of AEA in each batch.

The WWTP has a large amount of equipment to be installed over the next year. To help facilitate the installation and future maintenance, an overhead gantry crane had to be installed. Some of our tradespeople are also qualified as riggers and dogmen — with their expertise the job was done safely and efficiently.

While waiting for the cut in of work on the new heating hot water pipe to happen, the project plumbers have been busying themselves with the installation of the new fuel pipe system. Last week a culvert was dug between the green store and the fuel tank for the vehicle refill point. The crew got the pipe in the culvert and up the wall of the building. Also completed was the fuel pipe in the culvert out the back of the tank house that will eventually hook up to the tarn building (where we make our water) and the new emergency powerhouse (one of the future stages of the WWTP build).

The fit out of the new asbestos demolition works decontamination container continues this week with a sub-floor installation, allowing for plumbing connections and drains to be built. The team will be able to shower on site, which minimises risks of working with asbestos. This gave Ken, our project engineering services supervisor, a chance for a much needed (and wanted!) break from the computer for a while.

Theme night: Mexicano

Saturday nights here are a bit of a break from the normal routine, and sometimes a theme night helps to break things up even more. The kitchen team created a wonderful feast not limited to burritos, spicy chicken and rice, all followed by caramel filled churros and that ‘classic Mexican dessert', crème brûlée.

The Mexican theme was embraced by many who chose to dress up for the occasion. Gav’s take on fancy dress was a little left of centre, but Mexican none the less. Three penguin piñatas were created and duly destroyed — one a little too gleefully by Dave, our deputy station leader.

Up in the skies

This week has seen a spike in the number of fixed wing and helicopter flights as the flying season is coming to a close. Direct science support is the main reason for the majority of flights, but field hut and camp maintenance also has to be undertaken. The frequent poor weather has required the teams to be very flexible. They've had to seize every available opportunity to achieve the solids results we have seen at the cost of a number of early starts, and some late finishes, for the operations support team. 

A remote housecall

The day started off well, finding out that I was to be part of a team heading to Beaver Lake to inspect and repair a leaking regulator on an ‘apple’ hut gas installation as well as assist in the recovery of some fuel drums and loading of rock samples obtained by Chinese geologists.

After a spectacular flight from VLZ Davis over the Amery ice shelf Mark Perry, James Hamilton, James Moloney, and I arrived at Beaver Lake.

Once we had completed the loading of some 600 kg of rock samples and other assorted project equipment, my apprentice (Station Leader, James Moloney) and I set off to the Beaver Lake ‘apples’ to undertake what we called the most remote house call of all time. The gas regulator was quickly fixed and we returned to the aeroplane, negotiating a tide crack that looked wet ‘but was good’ with the assistance of FTO James H.

It was a truly amazing day full of fun, adventure, incredible scenery, lots of photos and of course some work.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such an experience and the memories I keep will last a lifetime.

Shaun ‘Ducky’ Gillies