This week we said goodbye to the sun, watched auroras, had fun in the cinema, took a good look at the Green Store and discovered another amongst us.

Farewell to the Sun

The sun set for the final time here at Davis station on 2 June at 1:58pm, just twenty four minutes after the sunrise which was at 1:34pm. This was a cause for a celebratory BBQ lunch, then the majority of expeditioners went up to the heli-hut viewing platform to officially see the sun for the last time. Unfortunately it was cloudy and only the tip of the sun rose to illuminate the clouds above. There would be no sunshine for us but it was well worth braving the −20°C outside.

We will see the sun again in thirty eight days, on 10 July at 1:31pm, but only for 45 minutes. Our only source of any bright light is our hydroponics system, which is a great escape from the dark days, and the emergency power house which has had new LED lights fitted (caution: sunglasses required). On 21 June, the winter solstice, the sun traces a line around the Arctic Circle and it will be our darkest day with only a few hours of 'civil twilight'.

To help illuminate the night sky, the aurora has been putting on a spectacular display that lasted three days! Due to a coronal hole on the sun, the solar winds caused an electromagnetic disturbance to our atmosphere. At 2 am on Monday morning I rang the aurora hotline, waking up my fellow aurora hunting expeditioners to be greeted with a very fast moving aurora overhead. Then again at 1 am on Tuesday morning there was a large fast moving band overhead. It was not for the faint hearted, as the temperatures outside were between −27 and −30°C. I would describe it as a pianist playing fast tempo music of light with no sound, the beams moving rapidly and swirling. Not much sleep was acquired during this time.

With our midwinter approaching we took some group photos for our invite which will be sent out to the other Antarctic stations, family and friends. A reminder that anyone that wants to attend must provide their own transport to Antarctica. We’ll supply the food, entertainment and a selection of many rooms to sleep! Good luck!

Aaron Stanley

Gold Class cinema

Apart from all the hype around the sun or lack thereof, the daily routines continue with lots of fun activities in between.

Indoor rock climbing, darts (practicing for our inter-station competition), billiards and pop up dinners, and last Saturday night a Gold Class movie night starting off with some specially made cocktails and a banquet dinner.

The seating arrangement was drawn out of a hat, and I selected the best seat in the house (the double seater couch) all to myself. We were led to our seats by our usher Ali. Every table had a selection of popcorn and chocolates.

We watched (and laughed at) some previews including two of our own locally made clips, one for the diesel mechanics vehicle recovery team and the other from Vas our electrician. Then it was time to see Spectre 007. Another great James Bond movie, enjoyed by all.

Intermission included Davis-made choc-tops delivered in style.

Aaron Stanley

Alas poor Oric

You may think that there are only sixteen of us wintering at Davis station. But now the sun has set for the six midwinter weeks, there is a curious mystique and movement from the Dark Side.

They have been lingering in crevices, cracks and niches awaiting the shadowless season. One such phenomenon is Oric, a mouth-gaping, ceramic-brained head that floats the corridors and linkways with a blue silky comet-like tail, howling with the wind in dental anguish seeking restoration. He has already scared the station leader who unexpectedly glimpsed his presence.

Luckily he has befriended me and allows me to probe and polish, X-ray and spray, drill and fill his dentition. Fortunately this practice allows me to hone my dental skills and treat the cracked and carious teeth which occasionally occur over the long winter months.

Dr John Parker

The Green Store: Davis’ one stop shop!

Where do you go when you need a new toothbrush? If you feel like going to the gym, where do you go? How about a spa? That extra piece of pipe you need to finish that weekend plumbing job off? The butcher? The supermarket? A new shovel? How about a rock climb? Or some new tyres? You go to the Green Store here at Davis, it is your one stop shop for everything you need in Antarctica.

The Green Store is a purpose built warehouse that is climate controlled to keep all of its contents at a stable temperature to prolong their life. It also houses the stations freezers (yes, we do have freezers in Antarctica). A gym, spa and sauna have been accommodated on a mezzanine floor above the freezer and the Station Supply Officer’s office.

The loading bay area is where the indoor rock climbing has been positioned as it makes use of the large clear area and the high ceilings. The rest of the building consists of high density pallet racking which contains mechanical, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, communications and domestic stores and most importantly all our dry food.

There is always a wealth of activity at the Green Store’s recreational facilities before and after work. Gym, weights, UFC fitness, yoga and rock climbing all take place at regular times and days, so come along to our local Green Store, have a try and join in today.