This week at Davis the weather tells us it is summer, the ships arrival starts the season, and we have one special new arrival on station.

Another summer begins

The big news at Davis this week was the ships arrival. The RSV Aurora Australis reached the fast ice edge about 4.5 nautical miles from the anchorage point near Davis.

From the edge they proceeded to break into position until the wind dropped enough to bring the first lot of people into Davis by helicopter.

The ship then continued to break the fast ice, which is around 1.6 metres thick and hard. On station, people were inducted into the station community and ticketed in the use of the various vehicles that would be used to carry out the resupply over ice.

The open water formed by the ships passage also brought an influx of wildlife. Crowds of penguins, both Adélie and emperors lined the sides, preening in the sun.

Within just a few days the ship has been unloaded and the fridges and freezers and stores have been replenished with another year of supplies, it now looks like one huge supermarket shop!

Opal arrives in Antarctica

One of the highlights of resupply this week was the long awaited arrival of Opal, our new pink Hägglunds, supporting breast cancer awareness. She was delicately craned out of the Aurora Australis’ hull and placed on the sea ice, where she was promptly commandeered by our (outgoing) station leader, Ali Dean.

In true style, Ali took Opal for a spin along with Kirsten le Mar, the incoming station leader for Davis this next year. The inaugural drive in Antarctica included a run from the ship to station via a victory lap around the station, accompanied by much honking of the horn and waving to everyone passing by. It was a welcome change from the movement of endless boxes, cage pallets and shipping containers, all of which are still being unpacked as we speak.

Needless to say that after a run to shore and a lap of the station, Opal is now looking like a working vehicle. Since then she has been put to good use, and is now happily assimilated into the working team of Häggs on station.

Over the summer Opal’s cabin interior will be signed by expeditioners on station. The accompanying log book will also contain some personal poignant quotes or stories, as most people have been touched by cancer of some sort, either in their or their loved ones lives. For now though, it’s full steam ahead with settling into station life for everyone, including Opal!