Midwinter at Davis
Last Friday, 21st June we celebrated Midwinters – the biggest event on the Antarctic Calendar. For most of June and the start of July, the sun doesn’t rise this far south. Midwinters marks the turning point towards seeing the sun again, so it’s cause for celebration across the continent.
The first element to our celebrations was the Midwinter swim. We did this a few days before Midwinters with winds on the day expected to be unfavourable for swimming! The diesos drilled and cut a suitable swimming hole in the sea ice out the front of station. The water temperature was about −2oC with temperatures once out of the water a chilly −22oC. We had a heated sled van to get back into dry clothes ASAP.
We started out Midwinters day proper with brunch and a video cross to Kingston (AAD Head Office) and the other Australian stations. The afternoon we played some mini golf and lawn bowls (adapted for indoors!). We also had a couple of movies and old Antarctic documentaries, and got all the decorations and table setup.
Whilst we enjoyed the frivolity of the day Nick was hard at work (and has been prepping for weeks) to get everything ready for a 7 course Dégustation dinner. Definitely the highlight of the day for me it was seriously amazing. After dinner we continued the celebrations in the bar and (most people) had a go at Karaoke.
It’s a great privilege to be one of the very few people who get the opportunity to over winter in Antarctica. Being a place devoted to peace and cooperation we sent greetings to the other stations and their wintering teams, and printed the ones we received for display. We also chose (as is tradition) to adorn the walls of the dining room with the flags of the other nations for our dinner.
Thanks for reading, hopefully get another post up soon! Matt.