Chris G, Carpenter
Also known as: Convener of Cheesy Tuesday Movie Night, President Davis Winter Olympics Committee, and Sartorial Trendsetter.
Chris how many trips have you done to Antarctica and what brings you back here?
This is my third winter having previously wintered at Davis in 2010 and Mawson in 2012. I had originally only planned to do the one trip south but after finding out that there is a never-ending supply of Fray Bentos pies and BBQ shapes I knew I had to come back for more. The scenery and the people are pretty special too.
What is it like being a chippie here Chris?
Life as a chippy here is pretty good as you get a variety of jobs (plastering mainly) and difficult conditions to do your work in, let alone the ingenious things you have to make when you run out of supplies. It’s a long way to the hardware store.
If not a chippie what job would you do?
I always would have liked a life at sea maybe doing yacht deliveries around the world. It’s maybe something I will get into later on in life.
Best gig as a chippie?
My best gig as a chippie would be working on a small island in Tahiti for the best part of a year doing the final fit out on some exclusive boutique cruise ships.
What has been your best experience so far in Antarctica?
My best experience so far would be seeing the emperor penguins in the huddle at Auster rookery near Mawson, then retiring back to Macy hut for some cheese and wine. It was hard to beat.
What do you love about Antarctica?
Probably the things I like most about Antarctica are the long twilights with the pastel skies over the ‘bergs and the pleasure of not having a wallet, keys or a mobile in my pocket.
Who inspires you Chris?
Living, I would have to say Geoff ‘The Fossil’ Brealey. If I can do half what he can at his age I’ll be doing well. Dead, I would have to say John Rae the Scottish explorer who found the North West passage while looking for the ill-fated Frankland expedition in the 1850s.
(Doc: Excellent role models Chris. I am very familiar with that old Australian Antarctic Divison saying, “What would Geoff Brealey do?”)
What have you learned living in our small Davis community?
That not everybody will turn up to ‘Cheesy Tuesday’ movies at the bar even though some of them are that bad they are good? Be tolerant of others as none of us are perfect (sorry Rowdy not even you are perfect) and last one to bed, put the cat out.
Chris, what is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?
A tin opener for the Fray Bentos pies just in case the ones supplied are substandard or faulty.
(Doc: Fantastic idea Chris. Nothing worse than not being able to get the Fray Bentos in the oven after a long chilly day in the field.)
Chris, we have all enjoyed some of your colourful wardrobe choices throughout the year. Is this an expression of your otherwise concealed flamboyant personality or is it just bad taste in clothing?
I think it’s just bad taste in clothing. No comment on the second one and the third one hasn’t come out yet.
(Doc: Oh my goodness! I can hardly wait. Melbourne Cup Day perhaps?)
You are the driving force behind our current ‘Davis Winter Olympics’ competition. Who do you think are the current favourites and will we see any upsets in the final rounds?
I think the ‘Lord of the Tankhouse’ and number one plumber Mark ‘Davo’ Davis the Third is a good bet on current form. He certainly has luck on his side and I fancy Alex as a dark horse. He’s had a slow start but think he might shine in the Hägg slalom and I hate to say it but the carpenters will win the team event.
(Doc: Note to self — need to have a good pep talk to my OPS team mates. They let me down last week in the Baffin Boot Toss after my stellar performance in the Mess Indoor Hockey event.)
If you could be someone else, who would it be?
I think it would be pretty cool to be your mate Sir David Attenborough traveling around the world looking at the wonderful sights of the natural world and bringing enjoyment to countless others.
(Doc: For those readers who haven't heard, Sir David and I had quite a lovely chat a couple of weeks ago when I invited him to the Davis midwinter celebrations. He sounds exactly the same as on the telly.)
What is in store when you return to home?
Waiting for all my stuff to turn up but while I’m waiting, I will probably pay my tailor in Bali a visit to get some more suits just in case the Australian Antarctic Division are mad enough to give me a job in the future. Also a trip to Scotland to visit family and friends is on the cards. After that I’m not sure, definitely some sailing in a warm climate and then get a job after I’ve put it off as long as possible.
Well Chris, your job in Tahiti sounds pretty idyllic and jumping on a yacht and doing a bit of tropical cruising is pretty tempting too. I can’t wait to see the next suit and the prospect of new additions to the wardrobe is almost too much to bear. (C'mon Team OPS!)