This week at Davis we clear the snow away, play the game, and cast our vote.

First bliz!

It was with much anticipation that we awaited this week’s big event at Davis — the sun rose on Sunday afternoon at 1331 — for the first time in over six weeks. We had the ‘Welcome Back the Sun’ BBQ brunch then proceeded up to the heli hut (one of the highest points on station) to witness this once a year occurrence. Needless to say the clouds that had been rolling in all day continued to thicken and we didn’t even get an inkling of where the sun might be.

We thought maybe Monday we might see the sun, but that brought another first for this winter — our first honest to goodness blizzard. Mawson and Casey might nod their heads knowingly, but here at Davis it doesn’t happen very often.

A blizzard is defined as a wind speed average of more than or equal to 34 knots (around 60km/hr) per minute over an hour, along with a drop in temperature below zero and visibility less than 100 metres. We ticked each box excitedly — winds gusting over 115km/hr for a good part of the night, temperatures around −10°C (actually a rise from the bitingly cold temperatures below −30°C that we have had since before Midwinter), and finally visibility of less than 100 metres as the snow that has fallen lately was picked up by the strong winds and redistributed around station (particularly over entrances and access routes).

It is hard to capture a blizzard, as the blowing snow biting into your face like needles of ice has to be experienced, but the images give you some idea. I have just heard the team on the radio calling an end to snow clearing today, as once again the winds have picked up. The trip back to the living quarters will be an interesting one!

Ali Dean 

Polling in a polar pyramid

You may have seen the media shots, but when it came to election day, Davis voters chose to use a polar pyramid as their polling booth.

Antarctic Returning Officer Aaron Stanley and Assistant Antarctic Returning Officer John Parker manned the desk, complete with ballot box, as voters arrived to cast their vote — a rather chilly outdoor setting in the −35°C temperatures.

The tent wasn’t much warmer, which meant voters did not muck around — voting was complete in just over an hour — thank goodness!

Davis vs Mawson darts competition

Like most good sporting events, live on TV is the way to do it. Here in Antarctica it is no different, even if the team you’re playing is hundreds of kilometres away. Video-conference darts is the way to do it but only if the internet connection is good. If not, as in the case during our game when we had to resort to the phone, it is difficult to know if you are getting the full story!

Mascots were at the ready to cheer on our players although I only got a picture of one. The other was too quick for me plus I couldn’t see through the monkey’s eyes.

Three doubles teams from both stations were selected. In our case some of the players may have skipped the selection as two of our best players were stuck at Woop Woop in a blizzard and could not get back to station for the game.

First up was Paul D and Paul B. Strong game for Davis winning. Second up was Dave D, Deputy Station Leader at Davis (also known as 4D), and Vasilaki (also known as Vas or Vas Power) and although a close game, we lost. This made the last game the decider and all the pressure was on Brett S and Dr John. Although we fought a good fight we unfortunately lost, making Mawson the winners of this round in the Interstation Darts Competition.

Now you might look at the Mawson station news and see a different story but believe me when I tell you these are the facts.

Darren White