International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world today, and Davis station is no exception. With a total population of 19 working closely together over winter, we have three amazing women on station, each bringing vast and varied experience, and with very different roles — keeping watch over the health and wellbeing of our people, another that of our machines, and a third playing a role in climate research and weather monitoring.
- Amy Carroll (“Famy” — our first Amy!)
- Amy Chetcuti (“Choots” — or “Samy”, being our second Amy on station after spending her summer with the team at Mawson)
- Meg McKeown (“Dr Meg”)
What is your role at Davis station this season?
(F)Amy — Weather observer for the Bureau of Meteorology
Choots — I’m the ring-in Expedition Mechanic working with two other crazy diesos. We’re responsible for maintaining power generation on station, along with keeping a heartbeat in just about everything mechanical… cranes, loaders, snow groomers, portable generators, outboard motors, quad bikes… you name it.
Dr Meg — Station Doctor first, closely followed by hairdresser, hydroponics team and librarian. Last week I cut hair, created the table setting for the formal dinner, spent two hours in the hydroponics topping up tanks and balancing the nutrients and the pH, worked on the magazine subscriptions for the iPads as part of the librarian role and even managed some work in the medical office as the station doctor.
What drew you to work a winter in Antarctica?
(F)Amy — It’s an incredible and unique experience and I’m looking forward to seeing auroras over winter (!)… a big bucket list item for me.
Choots –To work in Antarctica the allure was the adventure, as I have no shortage of vim and love to travel. But for me this time, the decision to stay for winter was very (!) spontaneous. I spent the 3-month summer at Mawson ,and the day before getting on the ship to go home was asked if I could stay over for a winter at Davis. You only live once so when opportunities arise I say, “Be intrepid. Go for it!” and here I am!
Dr Meg — I have been to Macquarie Island for a winter in 2014 so I knew what the work involved but I wanted to see the “real winter darkness” that happens at Davis, the sea ice travel and all that goes with that Antarctic winter landscape.
What do you love most about it?
(F)Amy — I love the Adélie penguins that hang around station everywhere. They are so cute and you never know where they might pop up.
Choots — Getting out and about… exploring the raw, ever-changing landscapes and seeing all the wildlife we’re so lucky to have around us.
Meg — The achievement of doing it, of doing something most people don’t get to do and then being an ambassador for doctors who want to work in remote locations. I enjoy inspiring others and being part of the well-regarded Polar Medicine Unit.
Excluding loved ones… what are you missing the most?
(F)Amy — My cat Luna!
Choots — My cats, Kevin and Carl, and fresh fruit.
Dr Meg — Wurzel my 12 year old border terrier, running outside through the bush near home or down by the Derwent and flying away on holiday. I am already planning where the first holiday will be when we get back.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get home?
(F)Amy — Give Luna a pat and I also have my best friend’s wedding to look forward to when I return.
Choots — Eat fruit, drink a milkshake and go for a swim at the beach. We do take a dip twice a year here to celebrate Australia Day and Midwinters… cool, yes… fun, yes… quick, definitely! Not quite the ‘lounge about, swim at the beach’ experience I’m talking about!
Dr Meg — Pat Wurzel, go for a run outside and go and visit all the family (which will involve flying!). I will also need to find my next job and I have a few plans in the pipeline for this already.
Exploration, experiences, our beloved pets and fresh fruit (!) all seem to be the common themes here.
Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!