At Davis this week: Easter celebrations, we acknowledge the water makers, take a ride to Law cairn, and help Dr John celebrate his birthday.

Easter at Davis

It’s been a very busy week here at Davis station with lots of preparation going on for the Easter weekend. Mid-week we started making our own chocolate covered marshmallow Easter eggs under the supervision of our chef, Lesley. We started with making marshmallow which I never in my life thought that I’d be making from scratch. This was made easier with the group of upcoming master chefs in the kitchen all helping out with various stages: mixing the marshmallow, placing the marshmallow into the moulds and waiting overnight for it to set. The next day saw us melting tons of chocolate and covering the marshmallows, then decorating them with more chocolate. Did I see a penguin in the kitchen?

With these preparations well underway, Lesley was also planning on a five course formal dinner for Saturday night. Did I also mention the rocky road that Chris made with the leftover marshmallow and chocolate?

Saturday night was quickly upon us and the guests (fellow expeditioners) were seated at the tables. The kitchen was a buzz with action as four ‘waiters’ started to bring appetisers out to eagerly waiting ‘customers'. First up: roasted tomato shot with tortilla tiles. Never in my life, again, would I have thought of having soup in a shot glass. If this was any indication of what the rest of the meals would be like then we knew it was going to be better than a fancy class restaurant.

Reading the following would make anyone hungry:

  • Entree: duck and rocket salad with hazelnuts
  • Mains: petite eye fillet with herb potato rosti garlic beans and raspberry jus, chicken involtini with soft polenta asparagus and capsicum glaze
  • Dessert: macadamia nut tart with chantilly cream and raspberries. 
Let’s just say our taste buds were tantalised with so many flavours and textures. Who would have ever thought we were in Antarctica?

On Easter Sunday we awoke to find that the Easter bunny had delivered Easter eggs outside everyone’s bedrooms. Putting a smile on all our faces, we say thank you to Station Leader Ali for the hours of work that went into this generous gesture. Preparations were then underway for a pig on a spit for Easter dinner. The wonderful smell of a spit cooking away was wafting into the living quarters all afternoon. This had everyone pouncing to the bain-marie when the dinner bell was rung. Thanks to Vas and everyone involved for the magnificent dinner. We also did not go without the traditional hot cross buns. Very well prepared and baked by Goldie, much better than the ones you buy in the shop.

Once again, the 16 of us were brought together for an Easter group photo alongside my masterpiece written in the fresh snow. A few crazy expeditioners wearing t-shirts and thongs braved the −18°C temperature with a wind chill factor of −26.1°C!

I hope that everyone back home had a great Easter, I can assure you that we did!

Aaron Stanley 

The water makers

A water supply at Davis station is not as easy as you might think. It requires a reverse osmosis (RO) plant and of course a specially trained team consisting of two electricians (Vas and Paul) and two plumbers (Darren and Scott). The team went into production on 6 January, shut down the plant and prepared for winter on 18 March. The process produced 1.8 million litres of potable water to secure our water requirements for the long winter ahead.

Seawater is pumped from surrounding seas into the tarn, where it is then pumped into the RO building where salt is removed and then pumped to 600,000 litre tanks for Davis station’s supply.

As a team led by the mighty ‘Vas-power', it has been a very successful water producing season. After battling the fast approaching winter, occasional pipe freezing and rapid freezing of the tarn, man and machine performed faultlessly.

With only hibernation cycles left to run, a celebratory drink was had by all on station to mark the end of a great water producing season.

Ride to Law cairn

It was a sunny day with clear blue skies and a trip to Law cairn was suggested. We’d recently had a reasonable snowfall which was starting to look like it would be staying for the winter, as temperatures were now below −15°C most of the time. The landscape and snow would also look different to what it did during the summer, so we fired up two quads and headed off.

Some of Dingle Road had been travelled on since the snow fall so we could follow existing tyre tracks, but the last half hadn’t so we had to find the road under the snow with a few surprise rocks making the ride more interesting.

Footprints in the otherwise undisturbed snow also showed us that the local Adélie penguins like to travel along Dingle Road as well. We found half a dozen or so of them sheltering from the wind next to the Cairn.

The sea ice both at the cairn and at station is starting to look quite solid. We hope to be able start travelling on it soon, making access to huts and other places possible by vehicle rather than on foot.

Dr John’s birthday

As if we hadn’t eaten enough chocolate over the Easter break, on Tuesday we helped Dr John celebrate his birthday by demolishing a fantastic chocolate coated black forest gateaux that Leslie had baked and decorated for him.