Greetings dear readers. After what feels like a long absence, we are back with stories to tell of our last fortnight. Enjoy.

Tarn refill

We have previously brought you stories of draining the tarn and the subsequent refill with sea water. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go as planned.

We've had some issues with freezing hoses and ended up having three separate attempts at refilling. We are VERY happy and relieved to say that the third time was a charm, and we now have a sufficient amount of sea water in the tarn to allow us to process this water through the reverse osmosis plant to provide drinking water for the coming three or four years.

We still had some minor issues with leaks but the team was on top of any issues as soon as they cropped up. You'll notice in one of the photos that there are two carpenters doing the supervising whilst a combined team of a diesel mechanic and a plumber are actually getting the job done.


Works in the waste water treatment plant (WWTP) keep progressing with another major piece of equipment being bolted down in position. This week’s achievement was the barrel intake station, known affectionately on site as the ‘food muncher'. Here the liquid component of the wet kitchen waste will be separated from the solids (such as cucumbers) and then will be diverted through the state of the art treatment plant before being sent down the outfall line. Works included removing part of the bund wall and then manoeuvring the barrel intake station in place. The next step was to build a wall around it — then it will be all done.

A weekend at Platcha

As winter draws to an end, we took the opportunity to take one last recreational (rec) trip off station. We loaded up our steeds and headed off into the beautiful setting sun. Upon arrival, we feasted on a finely cooked meal of curry and rice. It had been a year since we last rode quad bikes to Platcha hut as part of our field travel training.

Aaron couldn’t wait to show his previous bivvy site to Alex — we’d heard the story countless times before so we patiently listened as Aaron enthusiastically proceeded with his claims that his site was so good, it had even caused jealousy between the field training team.

The next morning we set off on a day trip walking to Lichen Lake and travelling around the bay area which allowed us to tick off some of our Antarctic bucket list. The highlight of the trip was heading home (not that part, wait for it…) and seeing the vast amount of Adélie penguins heading towards Davis, looking in such a hurry that they would have played out perfectly to the Benny Hill tune.

Platcha to Brookes

Over the weekend some of the boys headed out for what may be our last overnight field trip before the big boat arrives to resupply the station. Aaron C, Dennis B and the Birdman — led by the fearless Chris G — loaded the quads on Friday afternoon and headed out into the great, white abyss.

Under clearing weather, we found ourselves cruising through the frozen sea ice fjords and inspecting — from a comfortable distance — the newly born seal pups before arriving at Platcha hut for the night. Many cards games ensued and a most enjoyable, and relaxing night was had by all.

The following morning we packed up the hut and jumped back on the quads bound for Bandits hut, which was to be our second night camp spot. En route, a quick visit was paid to the scenic Lichen Lake before we detoured far north of Bandits hut to Sir Wilkin’s cairn for the Birdman’s obligatory photo with the Australian Red Ensign which is stored in a box nestled amongst the rocks. By afternoon, we weary riders returned to Bandits via the sea ice, cruising past some busy penguin rookeries and impressive icebergs on the way. Just like the many other nights spent in field huts throughout the year, we enjoyed an evening of laughs before a well deserved sleep-in and feast of bacon in the morning.

After a slow start the following morning, we seized the beautiful sunny Antarctic day that was presented to us and headed close to the plateau to inspect some impressive wind scours which have formed huge waves of ice around their rocky obstructions. Finally it was time to return back to station via the sea ice, weaving amongst the icebergs and passing by the hundreds of penguins that are also making their journey across the snow and ice at this time of year.

Another great trip to cap off a great year.

Brookes to Platcha

Last weekend Geoff, Jan and Vicki set off on a mini tour around the northern Vestfold Hills visiting Brookes hut, Platcha hut and the popular ‘tourist’ destination at the amphitheatre.

Riding past Bandits hut and out upon Walkabout Rocks to visit the Sir Hubert Wilkins cairn, we were also the lucky group to see the first Weddell seal pup of the season. Within a week, all the female Weddells seem to have arrived en mass and given birth.

We were blessed with favourable weather and even had a special treat of finding a lone emperor penguin wandering around ‘Iceberg Alley’ on the way home.

Planting the flag

Chris G, our resident Scot, shares with us his aspirations for sovereignty of a cold barren piece of rock in an inhospitable part of the world, and we're not talking about Scotland. 

“When I did my first winter at Davis (2010) I found myself on a jolly this time of year to Walkabout Rocks, which is located on the northern edge of station operating area. This spot is were Sir Hubert Wilkins dropped a flag and a declaration claiming this land for Australia. I on the other hand thought it should be in the hands of Scotland and so raised the Scottish flag and duly laid claim. All was successful, or so I thought.

Upon arrival at Walkabout rocks last weekend, I was reading the log book and found that two weeks after my last visit in October 2010, the Davis nudist society had claimed it as theirs. Thankfully I didn’t see any photos of that declaration.

So once again, Walkabout rocks has been reclaimed and is in the hands of the Scots. That is until the next jolly and another bunch of expeditioners claim it for some weird cult or an unheard of country but rest assured I will be back for more claims in the future.”

A Sunday drive

Sunday brought stunning weather and, for Dami and James, a compulsion to get out and amongst it. Taking two quad bikes and heading north in and around the Bandits way point line, the duo threaded their way along iceberg alley, marvelling at the incredible array of ‘bergs caught in the ice.

The still landscape was dotted with little groups of Adèlie penguins making their way towards the coast, a motionless seal and finally, in the late afternoon sunshine, a solitary emperor penguin that approached the expeditioners from some distance off as they were preparing to head home.

Doc’s dozen

Greg B, aka Birdman, SCTO (Supervising Communications Technical Officer)

Birdman, how many trips have you done to Antarctica and what attracted you down here?

Well this first trip to the continent. I've previously completed a summer winter summer at Macca (Macquarie Island) in ‘12, ‘13 and ‘14. As a teenager I was a member of the Launceston Walking Club and saw a slide show from a bloke called Bob Stow, who had just returned from a winter in Antarctica. His slides were breathtaking and I decided then and there I’d be going there one day.

What is it really like being the Comms Tech here?

That’s a very interesting question. Since the introduction this winter of the one tech model, I have been surprised how much harder it’s been to complete even the smallest of tasks. I enjoy the work, particularly chasing down why something has gone wrong with a system, fixing it and making sure it doesn’t happen again, but with only one of you I think it takes three or four times longer than when it did when there are two techs to work on it.

If not a Comms Tech, what job would you do?

Semi-retirement, but I’m pretty sure when I get back from this stint I’ll go back to Uni and study for a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice. Not sure where it will take me, but having travelled the world training lifeguards, there are a lot more skills to take to less fortunate communities than ours in Australia. In between that, I’ll try my hand at scuba diving guiding at Bicheno.

Doc: I’m glad we haven’t had to put your medical skills to the test this winter.

Best gig in ICT?

I really enjoyed my many careers in Telstra. My last 12 years in Telstra as a business solution architect was very rewarding on bleeding edge technology. They were great times and I was fortunate to receive a couple of national innovation awards for telemetry solutions using mobile phones and one slightly different remote control of water and waste water treatment, info displays, surveillance cameras and control systems of the Cradle Mountain National Park. Quite a challenge in a world heritage area. Next time you walk on the duck boarding, take a closer look…

Doc: What! Do you mean that someone was watching me there?

What has been your best experience in Antarctica, Birdie?

There are quite a few, although it took six weeks to get to Davis on V3 (voyage three), the experience of the changes along the way are unforgettable. First ride on a quad on the sea ice, that was pretty special. Ellis Narrows at −37°C air temp, giving off steam from the warmer tidal flow. Sunsets in April.

Doc: Yes, it is hard to pick a favourite at beautiful Davis.

What do you love about Antarctica?

Stunning scenery, raw environment, icebergs in sea ice.

Who inspires you?

Paul Keating, inventors.

What have you learned living in a small community?


If you were a car, what car would you be, and if you could be someone else, who would it be?

Range Rover and no idea.

What is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?


As one of the three expeditioners on station born in 1959, can you enlighten us about the ‘59ers club (its status, privileges, influence and power etc)?

Ah well, there is an implied hierarchy for the ‘59ers. Does the station leader think he’s in charge? Well…

Doc: I think we will need to discuss this further Birdman. Station leader: Hmmm…

What is in store when you return to home Birdie?

Grandchildren, finishing off a house rebuild started before I came down to Davis.

Well Birdman, as our OCTO (Only Communications Technical Officer) I have to say that your skills are highly valued and life just wouldn't be the same without our morning papers and puzzles.