Monday, 28 April 2014

Work days and public holidays

Bit of a mixed bag this time...

Recently had another Antarctic Easter and ANZAC day!

These can be another of those celebrations which can make people that are here miss home but I think that can also motivate people to make the most of what we have and enjoy their time on station.

Easter was great, if a little subdued. It was a huge surprise to find that Easter Bunny managed to find us all the way down here and proceeded to jump around the Sleeping Quarters leaving a trail of delicious handmade Easter Eggs and flour footprints...

Easter Bunny couldn't decide where to go next!

There aren't too many things that can put a smile on my face at 7am on a Sunday but that was pretty cool to wake up to...

ANZAC day on the other hand was far from subdued! First, we had to drag ourselves out of bed at 9:45 for our dawn service (at the moment the sun is rising about 10:15am and setting around 5:15pm). Then we had a full 'gunshot breakfast' and after migrated upstairs to put the sheep stations on the line in a few games of Two-Up. The afternoon consisted of an ANZAC movie in the cinema and drinks and Tapas in the evening. It was a great day!

10am 'Dawn' service

Two-Up was popular

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Last Blog I mentioned we had been having a bit of snow on station

The main door to our Sleeping Quarters

Compressed footprints that refuse to blow away

Snow does strange things at -20

Being a Dieso on station, one of our jobs is clearing it. Luckily we don't just have a variety of shovels at our disposal, we also have numerous machines to help us out! 

Ironically, sometimes these snow moving machines need to be rescued from the snow they are supposed to clear!

This will keep us busy!

One of the more specialised pieces of equipment we have are the 'Snow Groomers'. the versions we have are Prinoth BR350's. They are powered by 350hp CAT engines and are designed to push snow around and smooth what is left over.

Loaders pushing snow to the Dozer which is pushing snow to the Groomer...

Note the Tiller on the back which can smooth the snow

They are an incredible machine that is surprisingly light and agile but still has amazing traction in difficult conditions. They are a pretty fun machine to spend the day in.

Hard day in the office

and finally, we have finally seen a decent Aurora Australis!

It has been frustrating lately since we have been getting less and less daylight (currently losing about 10 minutes of light per day) and our 'Aurora alert' television in the mess has been lit up like a Christmas tree but we haven't been able to see the sky due to cloud. Luckily a few nights ago the sky cleared and we finally saw a healthy glow from the southern lights!

Hopefully there will be more to come!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A belated yet healthy new post!

Well things have been moving along fairly slowly here, mainly due to the weather. Over the last couple of weeks we have had regular snowfalls and one full blown Blizzard. We almost had another Blizzard, I say almost because to officially have a Blizzard the weather needs to meet three separate conditions over the course of an hour. The conditions are as follows: 1. Temperatures below 0 deg (yep, we are doing that easily) 2. Visibility less than 100 meters (tick that box) and 3. Wind speeds of over 68kph. And yes, believe it or not, our wind dropped to 65kph in the 56th minute of the hour. During our 'real' blizzard we had a highest wind gust of 124kph!

Couple of photos of the aftermath

The SMQ (where we sleep)


I know what everyone is thinking "but he is in Antarctica, of course it will be snowing, windy and cold" but Davis actually has an unofficial title of the 'Riviera of the South'. Even though we are the southernmost of the Australian stations (closest to the South Pole) we typically have nicer weather. Couple that with the kilometers of frozen Fjords and cozy field huts dotted throughout the hills it makes for a pretty enticing place.

MMmm comfy, yet cold!

The Elephant Seal intersection

Today in my building feature I'm going to show you what is possibly the most important building here for some people. Tucked away up the back of the station near the MPH are a couple of unassuming containers linked together that contain one of Davis's biggest secrets!.. ..Greenery!

We have a Hydroponics setup which is able to supply station with just enough fresh food to be a continual reminder of what we could be consuming copious amounts of if we were back home.

Hydro is tended by a caring and passionate group of volunteers and after slipping up there to take some snaps of the 'little darlings' I can see why. The building is kept at around 20 degrees and has a tropical humidity especially compared to the 'desert' outside. If I wasn't so 'gardenly challenged' I would be keen to get up there more often myself.

Lots of green things!

More things growing and stuff

Obligatory Gnome

Now this is my type of vegetation!

Little Tomato's, so well behaved!

I think the couple in the background 'fell off'