On Tuesday 15 January, 5 Davis expeditioners represented the Australian Antarctic Program in a visit to our nearest neighbours, located in the Larsemann Hills about 120km south-west of Davis research station.
Zhongshan (China), Progress (Russia) and Bharati (India) were all very welcoming hosts, providing station tours with valuable insight into how other programs operate on the Antarctic continent. Kind gifts were also exchanged, with commemorative plaques expertly hand-crafted by our kick-ass trades team.
While each station expressed a keen desire to reciprocate and visit the team at Davis, it was the Indian program who finally gave us the opportunity to return some of this hospitality as we welcomed not one, but two (!) visiting Bharati parties to Davis on consecutive days last week. With the generous carrying capacity of their Kamov32 and AS350B Squirrel helicopters, a total of 31 Bharati expeditioners and air crew were given the full Davis experience.
This provided the wintering Davis team a really unique opportunity to engage with representatives from an international program. Everyone was very keen to connect with their respective counterparts, particularly the Station Leaders, Doctors, Technical Engineers and Meteorological teams. Any Post Office memorabilia was also in hot demand with literally hundreds of postcards receiving a variety of Davis stamps.
It can be surprising — and at the same time hilarious — to see what captures the attention of station visitors. Food played a big role in the highlights reel with take-away gifts like Vegemite, Cadbury chocolate, Fray Bentos (the somewhat legendary pie in a tin) and canned cheese (?!) getting as much favour as the more formal gifts!
It was a pleasure and a privilege getting to know our neighbours, laying down a strong foundation of collaboration, mutual support and friendship for the winter season ahead.