Nothing defines winter in Antarctica more than mid-winter, to mark the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. For the 24 wintering expeditioners here at Davis this year the celebrations started with a dip in the Davis pool of course!
Braving the minus 22 degree air temperature to jump into the warm waters of Antarctica at a mere minus 3, those who took the plunge had to endure the brief dash from the RMIT Van (pronounced Rim-it, a bit like Kermit) before lowering themselves into the water… The typical response?? “Its cold!” among a few other choice words…
Next was the station whiskey tasting afternoon, where we unlocked the doors of Fort Knox to taste from a selection of the world’s finest whiskeys to warm up for the weekend. This was accompanied by a tremendous selection of cheeses, meats and handmade pretzels.
Then, it was time for the most time-honoured tradition of the mid-winter dinner. The tradition of inviting all and sundry to the dinner and enjoying their replies continued, with the team watching videos from friends and family in the bar, and reading RSVPs from the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand along with a video message from Daryl Braithwaite!
There are not enough words to thank our amazing chef, Donna, for her efforts every day of the year to keeps us fed and happy, and I have no doubt that across the numerous Antarctic stations celebrating the mid-winter, we were the lucky few to enjoy the best feast served in Antarctica in 2020! The feast was accompanied by cake and an individualised penguin figurine depicting the crew, with each expeditioner’s own style being intricately reflected in penguin form.
The centrepiece on the table was a hand-sculpted ice penguin by our carpenter and chief ice-sculptor Grant, with napkins by Steve and an amazing selection of gifts prepared by Des, Will and Grant again.
What would an Antarctic dinner be without a poem or two, and our station doctor delivered the goods with the tale of the 73rd ANARE Davis team’s journey so far.
For the team here at Davis, we have turned the corner of winter and the days will now become longer and the sun ever higher in the sky. The journey home will be long and the sailing not always smooth, but to steal from Rhys' poem….
Look after one another
Be joyous, gentle and kind
Let’s make the type of memories
That will never leave our mind
Out of the dark, mid-winter gone
We shall look on in adoration
And be proud of what we have done
To have wintered at Davis Station.
- David Knoff, Station Leader - Davis