Survival Training

Survival training is mandatory training that must be completed to travel off the immediate station limits. The training is conducted in groups of 6 plus a Field Training Officer and includes essential skills to work in the field, and to survive in the event things don’t go to plan.

Helicopters are used to get us out to our training area.
Brookes Hut, our base for the night
Inside the hut, Brookes is one of the largest huts at Davis

After the two helicopter flights to get our group out to Brookes we spent the afternoon around Brookes going through some basic field skills.

Working on the sea ice
Microspikes are used to walk on the ice safely
Liam drilling the sea ice to measure the thickness

When travelling on sea ice it must be drilled to measure the thickness at regular intervals to avoid an unexpected swim.. The ice must be 200mm for travel by foot, 400mm for quad bikes, and 600mm for Hagglunds. We also practiced how to use the ice axe to check the surface as you walk along. Large cracks in the ice form around the edges where the tide comes in.

The ice here was 1810mm thick. It won’t be too long before the ice breaks out – the sea ice infront of station is already closed for travel. 

Mark (FTO) explains how to orientate the polar dome in a blizzard
Snow can be used to keep the fly secure. To keep the tent rigid everything must be tight.
improvised anchor using the ice axe. 
Rehydrated ration pack meal. These are supplied by the ADF so are familiar for some..

Unfortunately we don’t sleep in either the hut or the tent! Part of the mandatory survival gear we must carry when off station is a foam mat, bivvy bag and sleeping bag. The bivvy bag is made of nylon so keeps the moisture out but also keeps it in. The vapour from breath condenses on the material and freezes. Not the most comfortable sleep but does the job.

Day 2 is a navigation exercise to walk back to station, about 10Km. The route is planned by the group and turns are taken to conduct the navigation using map and compass.

Pat at the helm
This small island was one of the points we had decided to walk to before changing bearing
At Deep Lake
Being one of the many saline lakes in the Vestfold Hills Deep Lake doesn’t freeze
Lake Stinear

We happened across a burst weather balloon so I followed the string to find the radiosonde. I brought the balloon (rubbish) and sonde back to station. Not a bad memento ๐Ÿ™‚

At Lake Dingle, almost home!

Luckily we had a great group and didn’t get lost or have to back track due to an impassible route. It was an enjoyable couple of days and good to have completed to be able to get into the field more.

Also this week:

At work we’ve been progressing on getting some science instruments setup on the network, completion of monthly report, planning some future works at Trajer Ridge hut, and scoping an upcoming job for the replacement of a building housing the Digisonde as well as the usual support to expeditioners and routine maintenance.

In the new Digisonde facility I’ll be installing the structured cabling for the internal network and fire alarms, as well as decommissioning the 3 fibre optic cables and copper cabling that services that building and terminating them in the new one. Should be an interesting job.

Saturday night we had a band night with some of the talented musos performing. The dress was to come as a musician on genre. A great night.

Thanks for reading, Matt.

10 Responses

  1. Lee McGrath says:

    A fascinating read and great photos/captions Matt, good stuff! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Zammo says:

    Matt, this is all levels of awesome! So jealous of your adventure. Keep the updates coming and have an awesome time!!

  3. Zach says:

    This is seriously amazing, will be following your posts closely as Antarctica has always fascinated me!

  4. Mark Vincent says:

    Brilliant mate. I’m pretty jealous. Keep the blogs coming!

  5. Kaylene Gledhill says:

    Sounds like you are settling in nicely. Have a great time and stay safe. I know you will as you always take training seriously and that way you can get the most out of this amazing adventure.

  6. Jean Alderton says:

    Just read your blog. Well do e it’s very interesting

  7. Grant Willis says:

    Great to see you are down there Matt and a great read. What are the Sondes they are flying down there? RS41s? Any chance for Ham Radio yet? 73 de Grant VK5GR

    • Matt says:

      Hi Grant, RS92 I think!

      I’ve fired up the radio a couple of times, no good propegation yet. Hard to get out with only 100w. I’ll try and get on tomorrow, I’ll let you know.

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