It’s the middle of March already and almost four weeks since more than 50 of our summer friends retreated north to seek out warmer climates, leaving a team of 19 as caretakers of Antarctica’s Davis station.
Of the many satellite buildings scattered around Davis station it is the big orange workshop that was heaving over summer, with a daily hustle and bustle of 21 tradies, engineers and plant operators all going about their assigned summer tasks like a well-oiled machine.
Now, with a successful summer behind us, we are but a skeleton crew until November with only 10 covering these critical infrastructure roles. This winter the Davis Trades Team features three diesos… two dudes with long flowing dreads, Dane and Luke, and Amy (minus the dreads… for now). Their days are always fun-filled and busy with powerhouse ‘obs’, fuel transfers, machinery servicing and keeping a heartbeat in pretty much anything with an engine.
Working in close collaboration with the diesos, and keeping the electricity flowing like an AC/DC road crew are our electricians Paul, Joe and Ryan. Paul is our most experienced Antarctic sparkie, with no less than four winters under his belt. As ‘the elder statesman’ of the team he knows the importance of a steady pace and not peaking too early in what can be a long winter. Wise words indeed, but being the station Brewmaster probably wins him a few popular votes too.
Next, we give you ‘Team Kenny’. Our station plumbers this year are Neal and Dan… two guys kept very busy ensuring our water and waste treatment all flow in the right direction (not the same direction), along with all the pumps and valves that go along with it… and of course they have ‘Neal’ under their care… our all-important station incinerator.
This year we are lucky to also have on board Kieran our boilermaker-welder… purveyor, craftsman and creator of all things steel. With so much churn over summer, having Kieran’s mad skills on station over winter gives us that much-needed opportunity to repair, fabricate and mend whatever we can get through in readiness for the next busy summer.
Of course, if we have a tradie that’s guru of all things steel then there needs to be one for timber, yes? That’s where Graeme comes into the picture as the station’s carpenter and Building Services Supervisor. Similarly to Paul, he is on his fifth winter… but word is he doesn’t have to worry much about peaking too early, as he is the oldest of the Trades Team and apparently peaked a long time ago.
Finally our Chef, Nick, who — important to note — does not cook in the big orange workshop. He does however work furiously to keep everyone on station happy and healthy… snacks, top notch breads and daily gourmet delights. We totally know how good we’ve got it.
While it’s easy enough to say power, water and food might keep a station running, we all know there’s far more to it than that. Throw in a team that get along well, enjoy each other’s company and can have a good laugh at each other (and themselves), we are all looking forward to what will be an enjoyable and safe winter here at Davis 2019.
Graeme Freeman (BSS / Carpenter)