Happy Midwinter from all of us here at Davis station!

We celebrate the winter solstice!

Midwinter is the biggest occasion on our winter calendar and our Midwinter day had a full program of activities. After an all-stations and Kingston video hook-up for the Antarctic Medal and Director's Awards ceremony (a hearty congratulations to all recipients!), the food frenzy commenced with a large brunch. This year, we had decided to give each other gifts, so for the past few weeks the hobby hut and workshops have been busy with people flexing their creative muscle to make memorable keepsakes. After brunch was unwrapping time and soon there were lots of delighted recipients. The handiwork was so impressive we had to have a display table.

Whilst relatively few people winter in Antarctica (86 in the Australian program this winter), it is a multi-national community and all day we received Midwinter greetings from the other Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations, as well as our Arctic based friends at Summit station in Greenland. It’s a great introduction to the faces of the other nations living down here with us.

The day continued with games in the LQ for some (we’re learning the art of cornholing), whilst others were busy with table set-ups and flag-hanging. Hanging the flags of all the nations working in Antarctica around the dinner table is a long-standing Midwinter tradition and we added Ireland, Canada and Lord Howe to our collection to properly represent our group this year.

All went quiet for a while as everyone retreated to put on their finery, before regrouping to watch the video RSVPs to our Midwinter invite. One of our Canadians, Paulie, was most surprised to receive ‘Happy Midwinter’ video messages from two members of his favourite band, Slayer. Thanks to everyone who sent us messages: it’s great to hear from friends and family, (and Slayer), and have them be part of the night in some way.

Dinner was a lovely, long, relaxed affair with toasts drunk to other stations and absent loved ones, and many tales told. Chef Jordan had been busy planning and prepping for her biggest meal of the year and it was certainly that. There was barely enough room on the table for all the food on offer and we should be able to live off the catch’n’kill (i.e. leftovers) fridge for at least a week!

Then, finally, it was time for the entertainment. Ladge kicked it off with a poetry reading, which was followed by the long-awaited, much-anticipated, world debut of the ‘Frost Fighters’, the 74th ANARE Davis winter band consisting of John, Jamie, Richo, Tom and Paulie (making his live performance debut: big night all round for Paulie). And to the surprise of the band, there were even groupies!

The music and dancing continued into the wee hours and a splendid time was had by all. And then it was over for another year, and the next Midwinter at Davis will see another group celebrating the winter solstice and making their own special memories, just like we have.

We’re now looking forward: to the return of the sun!