How often have you heard, "the only things you'll smell in Antarctica are elephant seals, diesel and food?" This week our Field Training Officer (FTO) Kat busts that myth and shares the true aromas of Davis station.

An FTO nose

They say there isn’t much to smell in Antarctica because the air is so dry, and that once you get home the biggest thing you notice are the fragrances of dirt, rain on the pavement, or freshly cut grass, which hang in the humid air.

But I think Antarctica can be a very smelly place.

I think, if anything, smells are heightened here because they can be few and far between.

I think Antarctica (Davis station to be precise) is a place full of random aromas.

My favourite scent is the salt and decaying seaweed on the walk to Marchants Landing. Mix that with a bit of sunscreen and a walk along Davis station beach feels like walking on a tropical island.

The crew here practically float down the corridors on the near-visible aromas that come from Kez’s Kitchen; fresh bread in the mornings, cakes and pastries, beautiful spices and fresh herbs on curry night.

The elephant seals are moulting and farting and burping and just generally opening their stench filled mouths to growl at each other. If you stand on the wrong side of them (downwind) it feels like you have just been given a spoonful of it, like you can taste it……it’s potent.

Burnt toast.

Fresh coffee.

Penguin guano.

Diesel drenched gloves, or pants, or skin…..

Moisturiser that smells of nursing homes, the Happy Diamond bedroom corridors that smelt like an old hotel, lifeboats that smell so badly of petrol I want to hurl.

Being crop dusted, clean laundry, dusty floors, a new wooden chess board.

Fresh basil, parsley, mint, spring onions and all the other wonderful fresh green things from hydroponics.

Maybe these smells aren’t as pleasing to the nostrils as spring flowers, cut grass, or wet dog (although the seals come close….and that’s not so pleasing), but they do remind me that this place is not so cold and barren as some reputations portray, and that our little community is thriving among the summery seaside of Davis station.

And a friendly reminder to all expeditioners, don’t forget to brush your teeth.