A day at Davis

There are myriad documentaries, calenders, magazine, etc. showing how amazing the landscape down here really is.  In the interest of filling in more of the part you don’t see, this post is a summary of what I did on Monday.  It’s quite indicative of the sorts of things we do day in, day out.

To do this right, I’ll start at the beginning.  At 0710 I get up, get dressed (in thermals and polar fleece) to head to breakfast.  As with most mornings, I have a bowl of toasted muesli and a short black coffee.  Then I head to the cold porch, get suited up and head out to work.


This is typical attire for the current -25 degree Celsius weather (on top of the merino thermals and polar fleece).  The boots are large Baffins that have super soft rubber soles (though they still get hard and slippery once they cool down to -25) and multiple layers of insulation.  The jacket is wind-proof and insulated with a thick layer of goose down.  The gloves are leather and lambs wool with synthetic insulation.  The goggles are there to keep my eyes warm; not because it’s windy or snowing in this instance.

All of this will keep me comfortably warm for about 10 minutes outside.  If I need to do real work outdoors for a while, I’ll wear my even bigger boots, a neck gaiter and a pair of thick insulated overpants too.


Once I get outside, I find that the aurora australis I saw on the way to breakfast is still lingering.  I stop and take a long exposure on delay so that I can be in the frame too (I stood perfectly still for 12 seconds to get this shot).  I then set up my camera to take 20 minutes of time lapse shots so that I can show you all just how quickly the aurora can dance:


I get to work and check my emails.  We’re a few hours behind the head office in Hobart, so there are typically a couple of emails requiring attention by the time we get to work.  I reply to what needs to be replied to and take a moment to plan what I will do and when.  This is rarely done in advance as weather and other external factors change constantly anyway.


At around 0930 I begin compiling, uploading and printing the newspapers that we get sent.  These include a daily maritime publication (shown here) and a daily copy of The Australian (not shown here).  I staple them into sections and head across the road to have smoko.  I race the clock to see if I can get my daily sudoku done before smoko is finished.


After smoko I head up to the Summer Accommodation Module (SAM) to start running network cable for the new Wireless Access Points (WAPs) that are to be installed there.  The cable tray was quite tricky to get access too, so I’m glad for the break when lunch finally arrives.



I have soup and a fresh multigrain roll for lunch then duck back to my room for a quick powernap before our lunch hour* (*45 minutes) is finished.  Then I head back to SAM and get back into the installation.


The morning’s aurora has now been replaced by the midday sun.  Today is the last day that the sun will manage to crest the horizon for the next 5 weeks.  This twilight is the most sunlight we get now, and it lasts like this for about three hours.


I very conveniently finish installing the two access points and network outlets at 1610, just 5 minutes before we typically finish for the day.  I plan to come back the next morning and finish patching, labeling and configuring the network switch and WAPs the next day.  I then head back to the Living Quarters (LQ) and relax before dinner (for more information and imagery on where we live and relax, see the post ‘My humble home‘).


And so go my days here at Davis Station.  Everyday work and play here is a combination of life in Australia and life in Antarctica.  The work we do is often the same, but everything is complicated in some way by the isolation and the weather.  I expect I will be quite glad when I can once again head outside of my home without donning several layers first  🙂


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