Being a carpenter in Antarctica really isn’t that different from being one in Australia. It’s mainly the environment and the weather that are the major differences, oh and the station chef making the most awesome smokos and lunches ever.
Since arriving only a few weeks ago, it has been great to settle in and get around station and familiarise myself with the area as well as getting a handle on how everything operates down here. The workshop is great and there are more tools than in the trade aisle at the local hardware store.
We kicked off training with two days of survival training. A group of six tradies, led by our winter Field Training Officer, headed out to Brooks Hut to spend the night sleeping under the sun. You thought I was going to say stars, didn’t you? Well, it’s sunlight 24 hours a day at the moment so no stars to be seen! Now what an experience that was, the terrain and the views are like nothing I have ever seen before. They are absolutely spectacular, though at some points you might look and think you could be on Mars – who knew there were so many rocks in Antarctica? We walked past a number of pristine vibrant blue lakes on the way home, they looked so inviting that if they weren’t so cold would be an awesome spot for a swim.
A group of three of us also spent the next weekend walking out to Watts Hut which is located around 15 km off station. It was a nice recreation trip for us but also a bit of a work trip for some planned maintenance later in the season. This trip was highlighted by a walk up Mt Tarbuk with the peak sitting at 140 m, and the absolute stunning views that are the reward after the steep rocky climb.
It’s not all exciting trips out into the Vestfold Hills though, there is work to be done on station. For all the tradies, including us chippies, there is a vast array of different jobs to be done from fixing a door with a busted lock to continuing the construction of a 600,000 L water tank. Take today for instance. I spent the morning folding up a custom flashing for above an external door to stop the snow melt leaking in, and after smoko (which was again unreal) got into building an access scaffold so we can clean and repair one of the 600,000 L water tanks. We were just lucky it was a sunny day with no wind, unlike tomorrow when it’s forecast to snow again, maybe an inside work day I think.
Now with Christmas upon us, it’s a time that all of us down here think about our friends and families back home and hope they are all having as much fun as we are having. We miss you all very much and can’t wait to see everyone upon our return at the end of next year. From me and everyone at Davis station we wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.