Before I start writing about Davis Station here is a bit of information about my home for the summer:
- Davis Station is the most southern of all of Australia’s Antarctic research stations at 68°35′ S 77°58′ E.
- It is located on the largest ice-free region of Antarctica, known as the Vestfold Hills. This region encompasses approximately a 20km x 20km square. With proper training and approval we are allowed to travel almost anywhere within this region (excluding some protected areas). The Vestfold Hills are full of lakes, from freshwater to hypersaline.
- It is named after Captain John King Davis, who was most notably the captain of the Aurora, the vessel that brought Sir Douglas Mawson and his crew to Antarctica as part of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911–1914. He was also a member of many other well known Antarctic expeditions.
- It is known as “The Riveria of the South” for its mild weather, particularly in the summer. We were not expecting quite the amount of snow we have around this year. When the snow melts it has been likened to a mining camp.
- There are between 70 and 80 expeditioners living at Davis Station for the 2013/14 summer season and 21 expeditioners staying over the winter (18 are also here for the summer).
- We have three chefs who work in the kitchen. We eat very well.
- We have two nationalities represented on station this year, Australia and Canada. Diplomatic relations have been strengthened around the dart board but we narrowly avoided an international incident over a box of Roses chocolates.
- There are two major biological science projects running this summer, with one project continuing throughout the winter. The project I am involved in is for the summer only.
- One of the major construction projects this year is the building of a waste water treatment plant.
- We have two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft (one Basler and one Twin Otter) providing aviation support for the summer. The fixed-wing aircraft are operated by the Canadians.
- There are three sleeping quarters on station for expeditioners. The SMQ, SAM and TAD buildings, listed in order of desirability. The SMQ is connected to the living quarters (LQ) and is where the winter expeditioners live. The TAD is the only building where the windows open.
- The LQ building is a new addition to the station and houses the kitchen downstairs and the bar and lounge area upstairs. The lounge area contains a library, music room, cinema, dart board, ping pong table and pool table for entertainment.