It is that time of the year when all expeditioners enjoy the shortest day of the year in Antarctica. It also marks the turning point of our stay here as we turn our thoughts towards returning home.
In the tradition of years gone by, we at Davis celebrated with an early morning video connection to participate in the memorial service at Kingston headquarters, followed by another video hook-up with all the other stations to hear what everyone else was doing to celebrate the day.
After the inter-station formalities, we had our scrumptious brunch covering a combination of assorted Danish pastries, fruit compotes, parfaits and smoothies before delving into a hot buffet of Eggs Benedict with ham or smoked salmon, caramelized mushrooms, all accompanied with coffee smoothies and juices.
Unfortunately the scheduled ocean swim had to be postponed until the weather warms, as the air temperature of −34°C (−47°C with wind chill) was not conducive to staging a safe activity.
The grand opening of the Davis spa/plunge pool did go ahead which was fitting given the dedication from the trades team and others to heat the water to a very comfortable temperature — certainly appreciated by one and all.
Our gourmet evening commenced at 4:00pm with canapes and pre-dinner champagne at Nina’s Bar, after which we moved downstairs to be spoilt by Chef Lesley’s fantastic display of culinary expertise.
Toasts, speeches and Davis midwinter invitation responses were read out during the meal including a video message from His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
Some unexpected responses from friends and family made sure much banter and comments from our better known station ‘stirrers’ added a lot of fun to the night that had us in pains from laughter.
It’s times like this that brings out the best in us all as everyone pitches in to prepare, coordinate, execute and just as importantly clean up after the celebrations.
A special mention must go to Lesley for the many hours spent in preparation to deliver such magnificent fare, especially given that some of our special ingredients (crayfish, cheeses etc) sent specifically for midwinter didn’t make it to Davis on voyage three last season.
The night’s entertainment then ensued with some budding new talent appearing for the first time, some say hopefully not for a second time.