The end of winter and onset of spring is welcome in almost all cultures, so much so that marking this transition is often celebrated with festivals and rituals. You would assume that at Davis, having spent more than a year here, we wouldn't be so worried about losing sea ice. But the actual mood was contrary to that popular notion. There was something everyone was thinking about, but not saying.....the end of sea ice and all the fun that comes with it. No more Hägglunds or quadbikes on sea ice and the privilege of bumpy rides on sastrugi (long, wavelike ridges of snow, formed by the wind). There was a rush in making plans to go out and enjoy the outdoors before Mother Nature slammed the brakes on our endeavors to make tracks on the sea ice.
With a use-it-or-lose-it attitude, a recreational trip to Platcha hut was hatched by our eminent BoM tech, Pat James. With the all so important drinks and entertainment planned by the station brew master Peter Boyle, we were off onto the limitless whiteness.
Snow petrels and skuas reminded us of the spring around us and the sea ice beneath us at times looked like shattered glass pieces. Walking over the ice has a different feeling than in winter when lots of dry powdery ice covers most of the shiny slippery ice underneath. Getting off the Hägglund and walking even for few metres was a balancing act to avoid falling face first or bum first.
By the time we reached Platcha hut it was time to prepare for the sunny night ahead. With a couple of beers, plenty of sunshine and temperature hovering around 0°C, it felt more like a picnic. John Killmartin prepared some delicious 2-minute noodles that had us licking clean the bottom of our bowls. As the night went on, without the sunset, we slept on the handmade beds that were installed in the hut many seasons ago. Next day a walk across the lakes Bisemoye and Zvezda made our day. Not a bad way to say good bye to our beloved winter.
Station Comms Tech & Darts Captain