This week at Davis we welcome new arrivals, celebrate a birthday, clean out the fuel tanks and show visiting Chinese expeditioners around the station.

New arrivals

The arrival of an Hercules C-130 at Davis is a rare event. In fact, the brief visit on 29 January was only the second ever to land at Woop Woop ski landing area.

The flight brought in the last of our wintering expeditioners, Aaron Stanley (Bureau of Meteorology engineer), Jennifer Proudfoot (storesperson), and Ali Dean (station leader), plus Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr Nick Gales, to stay for a few days.

Now the wintering team is complete.

Nina’s birthday cake

On Monday afternoon Helen, Nina and Matt returned to station after several weeks of ecological field work on Hop Island in the Rauers Group, just in time to celebrate Nina’s birthday.

Mick, taking their scheduled daily call from the field the evening before, had suggested to Nina she might not be getting one. So it was with relief when her preference, a huge cream laden iced chocolate cake, was delivered to the table.

Fuel tank cleaning

Antarctic stations run like small, self-sufficient towns reliant on the ability to generate power, produce water and deal with waste like any normal community.

In order to generate electricity, Davis station stores fuel in a designated fuel farm area in large tanks. Periodically the tanks require cleaning, an unpleasant job but a necessary part of the maintenance on station.

Cleaning the tanks is done by entering via a ladder and scrubbing the inside clean, removing any accumulated sludge. Being a confined space, entry is by trained persons and strictly controlled using breathing apparatus and air quality monitoring.

The strictest safety controls ensure the job is done safely and efficiently resulting in clean fuel to keep the station going. Now the tanks are clean we will not have to worry about cleaning them for another five years.

Visitors from the Larsemann Hills

A small group of CHINARE expedtioners, including the Zhongshan Station Leader, Mr Yongxiang Tang, arrived at Davis station by helicopter to collect scientist Yuesong Gao who had been staying here to collect samples in the surrounding area.

Australian Antarctic Division Director Nick Gales and Station Leader Ali Dean entertained the Mr Tang before taking him on a tour of the station and then to dine in the living quarters mess (cafeteria). The visitors departed early afternoon.

The Director followed shortly afterwards to join the Chinese Basler Snow Eagle at Woop Woop on its journey to Casey.