Monday, 28 January 2013

Monday 28th January 2013

Today I was rostered off so I went ashore with our doctor Lloyd for a look around and a long walk around the station perimeter. The weather was perfect, sunny and very little breeze although it was about minus two. We walked out the back of the station passing through lots of antenna installations and towers out into the wilderness. This place is really amazing, more like what you’d expect to see on Mars and not in Antarctica. All Australian stations are built on rock and only about 2% of Antarctica has exposed rock and most of it is at Davis. It’s a geologist’s play ground with all different types and shapes of rocks. Most of them ground smooth by glacier action and weathered by the wind and extreme cold. Heaps of large boulders and ground up rock has been deposited here by glaciers in the past ice age that have long ago retreated.

They have also gouged out many lakes which have filled up with sea water of varying salinity. Some of them are so salty they never freeze even at minus thirty degrees. The ice plateau at Davis is about ten kilometres inland. At the moment all the sea ice has melted and there is only a very small amount of ice about, but out on the horizon are hundreds of grounded ice bergs. When the wind changes direction, many small ice bergs come floating into the harbour causing a bit of havoc when we were refuelling across the water. On station there are many huge elephant seals lying on the beach either sleeping or fighting. Sometimes they lay on the road blocking all traffic.
We walked out to the closest lake where we could see other lakes and the ice plateau in the distance. From here we cut across to the coast and followed the coast back to the station. Along the way we came upon an old RMIT field hut and saw many penguins, skua's and swifts. While looking at something on the beach I was surprised to turn around to find a penguin right behind me.
We walked about ten kilometres and by the time we got back to the station we were both knackered. The doc is 70, so I could only imagine what he felt like. Back at Davis I met up with quite a few blokes I had met in Kingston including Glen Williams, a really nice guy I went to school with. I found out the station leader used to be a copper at Cowes police station. If that wasn’t enough, I used to work with my boss back at Kingston at Essendon airport back in about 1982. It’s a very small world. We had dinner at Davis in the new mess/recreation building that was finished last year. It is a really beautiful building and all the buildings here are really good quality and a great asset to Australia. My evening was topped off with a few beers at the bar and after two weeks at sea, man did they taste good.
While I was off on a jolly, cargo operations at Davis continue, we are making good progress. The uni-float’s and the jet barge are working in tandem keeping the team at the wharf on their toes. The refuelling hose was deployed yesterday afternoon and the pumping of fuel was commenced at 19:00 hours.  Pumping will be continuous until the full supply of 600,000 litres of SAB (Special Antarctic Blend) diesel is delivered to the station. The monitoring which is put in place throughout the refuelling process is complex with personnel positioned along the hose route to ensure any problems are identified early. This also involves IRB’s (Inflatable rubber boats) continuously patrolling along the 2 kilometre hose to ensure no large pieces of ice interfere with it. It is envisaged that pumping time will be 17 hours. The weather remains good, perfect for resupply.
Water temp -0.1 degree
Air temp -1.0 degree
Wind N @ 1 knots
Lon 77.93E & Lat 68.57S

Running out and patrolling the 2km long re-fuelling line

Pushing ice berg's clear of the re-fuelling line

 Heavy equipment in the forward hold ready for removal and transportation to Davis station

Jet barge moving containers to Davis

Beautiful weather at Davis and surrounded by ice berg's

Beautiful weather at Davis and surrounded by ice berg's

Elephant seals asleep on the beach at Davis station

Elephant seals fighting on the beach at Davis station

Walking out to the lakes behind Davis station

Large rocks dropped out of glaciers (glacial erratic's) behind Davis station

Lakes 4 kms behind Davis station

RMIT caravan on the beach 2 kms East of Davis station

RMIT caravan on the beach 2 kms East of Davis station

Inside the RMIT caravan

Adelie penguin walked up to us for a visit

Aurora Australis anchored at Davis station

Aurora Australis anchored at Davis station

The mess at Davis station

Nino's bar at Davis station


  1. WOW nice photos !
    nice bar too BTW how come they allowed to drink all the time but not in mawson???
    do you have to pay for the drink??
    do you like davies now??
    breakfast look like in 5 start hotel instead of antartica !!

    1. The bar opens when the station leader says so, and only those off shift or doing duties that doesn't require 0% blood alcohol can drink and not to excess.

      You drink your own booze you brought down or the home brew beer you make, which is free.

      Davis has a nice station and nice new buildings. The bar/mess/recreation building was only finished last summer and is VERY nice. The surrounding area looks like mars in summer and I don't like it, but they say it is fantastic in winter when covered in ice and snow. Food is always good, but it looks more like a ski lodge in summer than an Antarctic station.