Another week with some strong winds and plenty of snowfall as well as plenty of activity on station: furniture installation continued in the living quarters as did work up in the waste treatment facility, routine maintenance, snow clearing, container audits and field trips as well as some great community activities including the 48 hour film festival and darts competition. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Around station

48-hour film festival

The challenge: 48 hours to write, produce, film and edit a five minute video to compete against the international community of stations around Antarctica. The elements that had to be included: green peas, a toilet seat, a twangy-boing noise and the phrase ‘It’s a very complicated algorithm'. The outcome: a very long weekend of intense work and a great deal of fun!

Our feature included a homage/parody of such film classics as: Titanic, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Shining, The Matrix, Planet of the Apes and Die Hard. Davis hopes, following the voting session this week, to beat the field this year and win the best film of 2015. Wish us luck!

Field trip to Brookes hut

Last weekend, Brendan H led a posse of the faithful out from station for a two night recreational trip to Brookes Hut on the southern shore of Shirokaya Bay. On the way there the team, including Damian T, James M and Birdman, had a couple of tasks to fulfill along Dingle Rd in support of a modernisation project before making their way along iceberg alley and down towards Brookes, where they sighted the first emperor penguin of the season. Like Chris’s team at Bandits the crew hunkered down on Saturday as the winds blew and the light faded, trading the outside world for warm drinks and books. On their way home on Sunday, the team made time to take a measurement at Deep Lake which lay perfectly still beneath snow covered hills, its waters an inky grey.

Field trip to Bandits hut

Another weekend, another jolly — it is jolly season after all.

With the winter rapidly disappearing it is time to get out and about to see all the sights that Davis and the Vestfolds have to offer before it’s too late.

Last weekend I (Chris) rounded up a few characters (Horse and Davo) for a weekend at Bandits hut some 20km up the coast. We set off on Friday afternoon, driving straight into the sun that was putting on an awesome display of sun dogs (basically an almost full rainbow circle that touched the sea ice on both sides of the sun). I think this is caused by particles of ice in the air reflecting the sun’s rays. It carried on for half an hour or so before giving way to a spectacular sunset over the icebergs.

After all the excitement and awe of the drive we arrived at our own little island paradise, Bandits hut, to settle in for the weekend. That evening the wind got up to 60 knots or so and stayed like that until Sunday morning, thwarting any plans we had of seeing the surrounding area. We sat in the hut reading books and eating Fray Bentos pies all weekend (which just means we’ll have to go back again another time for the exploring).

Driving back to Davis we could see that the sun was wanting to break through as the weather cleared, but still we were relying on GPS and radar. After a three hour trip back we arrived on station for a welcome shower and some food that doesn’t require a can opener. I’m already planning the next jolly, so until next time!

Darts championship: Round III

Yesterday evening, with the bar and couches rearranged around a video conference set-up, a full bowl of peanuts consumed and the spotlights shining firmly on the Davis station dartboard, the stage was set for the final round of the 68th ANARE inter-station darts competition between Davis and their comrades at Casey.

Emerging with two losses out of six games played against the Macquarie Island and Mawson teams, the Davis crew were quietly confident.

Dennis and Sealy unleashed a barrage of points against their opponents, taking out the first game 305 — 110 before passing the baton to Adam and Chris who fought doggedly to accomplish a second game win and an additional 129 points.

In the last game, the final nails were administered to the coffin, fittingly by chippy/deputy station leader David B and team captain Davo, securing a three game straight win over Casey and Davis station’s overall victory in the darts competition, with seven wins from nine games.

Congratulations to the team and a big thank you to Casey and Tim K for coordinating the event.

Doc’s Dozen

Adam C: Electronics engineer, lay surgical assistant, darts team champion

Adam, how many trips have you done to Antarctica and what brings you back here?

This is my third trip to Antarctica (previous winters at Davis in 2010 and 2012). I enjoy the work, the place, the people and the climate. The only downside is being away from family and friends for 18 months at a time.

What is it like being an electronics engineer here?

As far as I am concerned I have the best job on station. It is a pretty varied role with a bunch of different projects to support. As a result you are rarely doing the same thing for days on end. The work also takes you to some fantastic places around Davis that you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to visit.

If not an electronics engineer, what job would you do?

Not sure, I applied for a job as an apprentice fitter and turner once. I think that would be the sort of thing I could find quite satisfying.

Best gig as an electronics engineer, Adam?

This one, no competition.

What do you love about Antarctica and what has been your best experience?

What’s not to love? The bit I probably miss most when I am back home is the sky down here. It is always changing and you get some really spectacular sunsets and atmospheric effects. On a clear night away from the lights of station the view of the stars is stunning. Too hard to pick just one experience — I had one particularly stunning helicopter flight back from the Amery (late in the day with the sun almost setting and the low light over the icebergs); the man-haul we did around the Vestfolds in 2010; and flying with Bob and Mike out around Beaver Lake would be in my top five.

Who inspires you?

Chris George stole my answer (Doc’s Dozen — 3rd July 2015 ) — not the John Rae bit (I thought he was a British superbike rider).

What have you learned living in our little community?

Not all Sultana Bran is ‘Sultana Bran’.

[Doc: I think we all learnt that valuable lesson Adam. Isn’t it wonderful how there is always someone around willing to educate you about the smallest of details?]

If you were a car, what car would you be?

Cars have too many wheels for my liking, but if I had to be a car it would be an A9X Torana (Australian made, foreign parent company, first released in 1977).

We have discussed the Australian-Danish connection to this part of Antarctica in our last interview in Doc’s Dozen — 31 August 2012 (Davis station is located on the Ingrid Christensen coast). Can you tell me where you national allegiances lie?

Can’t say they come into competition much, but if you are asking who I would support in a World Cup Final, aside from being ecstatic that both teams made it to the final, I suspect I would develop some form of short-term split personality disorder as a coping mechanism during the match.

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

A beanie. My ears get cold.

[Doc: I sympathise entirely.]

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

I’m gonna say Richard Branson. I know it is shallow but I like the idea of waking up in the morning and deciding to buy a Formula 1 team, fly a balloon around the world, or undertake some other whacky world record attempt.

[Doc: Yes, I can see where you’re coming from there Adam. Don’t think of it as shallow — more like indulgently creative.]

What is in store when you return to home?

I am planning to take some time off this time around (though I said that last time). Beyond that I have absolutely no idea.

It has been great getting an inside view of Antarctic life from you again Adam. Of course it would be remiss of me not to congratulate you as part of the triumphant Davis 2015 Australian Antarctic darts championships team. Well done Adam and all of the boys from the magnificent victorious Davis team.