A busy week at Davis as we head off station to retrieve quads and a Hägglunds, celebrate a birthday, and fly flags in remembrance and acknowledgement.

Woop Woop retrieval

Paul, our Station Mechanical Supervisor, was very keen to retrieve the last two quads (left out for training in March) and the blue Hägglunds up at the Woop Woop skiway before we lost the sun completely. Our last sunrise and sunset happens on Thursday 3 June. He organised a team of three — Station Leader Ali, Electrician Dev and Chef Lesley to accompany him, leaving Monday in the yellow Hägg.

We headed first for Bandits Hut as the aurora faded and the day begun to lighten, arriving there around 1030. We had to negotiate around the huge bergs grounded on the many shallow reefs that fringe the coast, an area usually termed Iceberg Alley by the station residents. Once at Bandits we offloaded some of our load into the hut for later then headed out again along the GPS route up onto the plateau through the moraine line.

The only snow on the smooth, windswept blue-ice plateau was around the vehicles, huts and equipment left after the final plane and helicopter of the summer season departed. Using the yellow Hägglunds as an excellent wind break, we cleared the snow and ice from around the wheels and tracks while Paul started the generators to warm up the engine. During this time we were treated to one of our last glimpses of the sun for the next six weeks. After a great deal of effort, finally the engine started and we were once again heading down towards the Vestfold Hills as the sun sank quickly below the horizon in a blaze of pink and orange.

As the dark descended we reached the two quads left at WW05 (a known waypoint), quickly dug out the anchors holding them in place and got them started. With each of us driving a vehicle we made our way back to Bandits Hut were we enjoyed a pleasant evening before heading back to station the next day.

Brett celebrates

This week we helped Brett celebrate his birthday. Lesley created a delicious tiramisu desert for us all, decorating a large individual one as Brett’s birthday cake. This was duly delivered by Daz, accompanied by sparklers delivered by Vas.

Brett shared the fun and then tucked into his cake. You will note another shot of coffee on the table beside him just to make sure he was not going to sleep that night!

The parcels that he received from us all were suspiciously alike and I think we can all guess that they will end up in the smokers hut.

First trip to Bandits in the Hägg

With the Hägg fully packed, the crew consisting of Chris, Jen, Scott and Vas drove off onto the sea ice for an adventure like no other.

Our mission was to recover three of the five Quad bikes (lifted out by helicopter for training in the summer), and be the first to prove the ice was thick enough to safely withstand the weight of a Hägglands.

To ensure the ice was thick enough, we had to constantly drill our route with an ice drill and ensure it was greater than the required 600mm. With the cold winter days which we have been having at approximately −20°C to −30°C the sea ice thickness which we drilled was no less than 850mm.

This meant we have now opened the sea ice highway to Bandits Hut.

On the trip spectacular sunsets and sunrises, food, beverages, company and auroras were had.

Vas Georgiou

Flag at half mast

Our flag was flown at half mast for Richard Hoseason and Alistair Forbes, who both lost their lives saving one of their colleagues, John Atkinson, who had been washed off his feet by a large wave on Heard Island on 26 May 1952.

National Reconciliation Week

This week Davis flies the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flag each side of the Australian flag in acknowledgment and support of National Reconciliation Week.