This week at Davis we're still being hammered by blizzards, but we are starting to emerge again and visiting field huts and study sites.

Station update

This week at Davis the snow and blizzard conditions have continued. The blizz tail in front of the living quarters (LQ) is now so high it is like cresting surf. The windows on the second floor are also looking like oceanic art with architectural wave formations now visible through the glass, rather than the view. It seems strange to have the sun back but the windows now blocked out by snow. We are working on clearing these snow dunes, especially as we need to maintain access to our buildings, but it is a mammoth task and some days it is hard to know where to start, especially as they grow with every blizzard.

This week we also started our field hut maintenance program. Sharky, Rhys and Fitzy visited Bandit’s hut to fix the door, check all the electrical, gas and fire fighting equipment, change out bed linen and emergency food rations, and give it a general spring clean. One hut down and about four to go. On their way back to station the team also visited Deep Lake to take some monthly measurements of this hypersaline lake for a long term study.

Other activities this week included playing Macquarie Island station at darts. We won two of three games and had a lot of fun in the process — thanks Macca. Lötter, Daleen and Kirsten visited Hawker Island to service the giant petrel automatic seabird cameras. And we have done a variety of training, including a first aid refresher with a workplace scenario of someone falling from a height with a head wound and potential spinal injuries, and crevasse self–rescue practise in the green store for SAR training.

Kirsten (Station Leader)

Snow clearing

They call Davis station the ‘Riviera of the South', it is positioned in a sheltered spot and in general the weather is milder and calmer compared to the other stations. But, weather–wise this season it’s been a year of records. We've just broken the all–time record for the most ‘blizz days’ in a year recently, up to 19 currently from 18 previously, with a few months left in the season.

The Bureau of Meteorology defines a blizzard as a ‘violent and very cold wind which is laden with snow, some part, at least, of which has been raised from snow covered ground.' More technically, a blizzard is defined as a period of greater than one hour when the visibility is reduced below 100m by blowing snow, the temperature is below 0°C and the wind speed is greater than 33 knots. We can certainly lay claim to having similar conditions frequently this year. Even though the official count for blizzards is at 19, it seems we have been getting these conditions almost daily for the last couple of months!

Of course, the biggest issue with blowing snow (other than trying to walk around in it) is that it eventually stops blowing and accumulates somewhere. That is usually on the lee side of buildings and any features. These are called ‘blizz tails’ and they are everywhere right now. Take a look at the accompanying shots of how the snow has built up in a short period of time.

We've got a lot of work to do moving all that snow so we can access buildings, move around station easily again and to prepare for the resupply in a couple of months. If we don’t move it somewhere, when it starts to melt in summer it will become a flood water, so it’s all gotta go.

Well, I better get back in that dozer and make a start on it…

Marc (Mechanic)