After our station handover last Friday night we underwent a change of guard, so to speak. This week we've had lots of safety drills to prime the new teams into their roles within the Antarctic setting, and there was also the fun job of a traverse to set up the skiway for our aviation program.

Traverse up to Woop Woop

In preparation for the sea ice breaking out shortly, it was required that a team took one of our Hägglunds and a groomer up to Woop Woop, otherwise known as the Davis Plateau Ski Landing Area, so that the aircraft ground support staff could get it up and running soon. Sharky, Cameron, Nick and Andy departed station in the old red Hägglunds while Jock and Chris left in the groomer.

The sea ice was fantastic for driving with icebergs frozen in place all around. This of course meant that we couldn’t travel on a straight path but made the drive so much better. Bright blue icebergs surrounded us most of the time with the whole area looking like another planet. After a few hours on the ice we ducked into Bandits Hut for a bite to eat and a chat, with more fantastic scenery around. Andy and Cameron from head office jumped at the chance to get some photos while we were perched up high at Bandits and as we were preparing to leave it was tough to get them back into the vehicles.

Next up we drove through some fjords then up onto the plateau. From the moment we got onto the plateau we could see the Aurora Australis wedged up in the sea ice off Davis station, this was clearly visible the whole way up. When we all reached the Woop Woop buildings we grabbed the shovels and started to dig out the other groomer that had sat up there since September, this took about 30 minutes with everyone having a go on the shovels. Once that was done we called back to station on the radio and soon enough a chopper appeared on the horizon. After they landed we swapped with the incoming AGSO’s and were treated to a spectacular ride home with frozen lakes below us. Another great experience for all of us.


Fire team training for the new winterers

Tuesday morning marked our first fire drill at Davis for the season. The newly trained team were all keen to get out and put what they had learnt back at TasFire into practice. Sharky led the drill as fire chief, heading down to a smoke filled emergency power house.

On arrival he called in his breathing apparatus (BA) team and the fire truck Hägglunds as two people were reported missing from the muster at the living quarters whilst his trusty sparkie sidekick Bryce isolated electricity to the building.

One of the missing personnel was quickly located by the fire chief and that was our friendly field training officer (FTO) Gideon. These FTO’s are always getting into mischief around station so it was no surprise to find him watching the exercise, apparently not realising he wasn’t accounted for (although he claimed he was).

Quickly the BA1 and BA2 team of Kerryn and Jock arrived on scene ready to dive into danger to save the other missing FTO, did I mention how much trouble they get into?

As the fire truck Hägglunds pulled up BA1 & BA2 were ready to go and grabbed some extinguishers and a safety line then headed into the building. The building was also quite smokey having been filled by our smoke making machine for a more realistic effect. Darren and Lotter, serving as BA3 and BA4, helped with the gear whilst Richard the fire truck Hägglunds driver took down all the critical information for safe BA operations. FTO Nick was quickly located and removed from the building, clearly exhausted from his time indoors.

For the first exercise as a team on station it ran very smoothly, there is always room for improvement, however, this was encouraging as a first exercise with the gear we will be using.