Shouting at the Wind…

I’m currently sat in my room surrounded by the mess that is the result of packing my kit to return to Australia, this mess is the accumulation of ‘many things’ since my arrival here at the end of 2013, I’m pretty sure I arrived here back then with a generous nine or so boxes of ‘stuff’ for my Winter amusement, somehow however I’m looking at shipping about eighteen home………eh? That list of things is not limited to the following but should give you some idea of the random stuff you’d not expect an Antarctic expeditioner of the past to carry onboard a ship with them..:

  • Lots of outdoor recreational kit & clothing, climbing equipment, ice axes, crampons etc
  • A high powered PC and two laptops, lots of hard drives and networking kit etc
  • An obscene amount of photographic equipment, video cameras, go pros, DSLRs etc
  • Audio mixers, DJ decks, guitar, keyboard, microphone, amp & speakers…

I guess what’s most evident here is that I really had no idea how bored I’d get during winter and what one of my many hobbies I was going to hit the hardest to fill my time – Ironically the kit I could have done without was my outdoor kit, everything you need for outdoor activities here is provided, yes it’s been nice to have some of my own but at the end of the day I certainly didn’t need my own ice axes, stakes, crampons, ropes etc – That said though, out of the list of my ‘many things’ everything else has been used and actually utilised a great deal at some point or another.

Davis Radio – Davis Radio was nothing more than three of us sat round the dartboard one evening and deciding it would be a ‘laugh’ to record a show with music and chat and play it back to the entire station at some point, we recorded our first show, talked utter rubbish, played it back, nobody else listened etc… However, we enjoyed it, we enjoyed getting together, having a few beers, playing some darts and just spending a few hours immersed in music and learning new songs and about each others musical tastes. As time progressed, we started to get slightly better at recording and started making up our own adverts for the show, as completely irrelevant as they are to the rest of the world they made us laugh by writing them and in creating something so stupid and daft – Anyway, I’ve mastered some of them recently and added them to my artist page……Yes I have an Artist page and I’ve been recording exceptionally bad music for the past twenty years, in a similar way it’s enjoyable and keeps me off the streets, just ignore me…:-)

Random Davis Radio Adverts are located here in particular “Fray Bentos” & “Green Store”

Myself and Pete had a bit of a walk this weekend, it’s long been planned by the pair of us that we’d wanted to visit a place called Cataract Canyon, the reason being that there is an onsite guide here that has listed this place as one of the most beautiful areas within the Vestfolds so much so that he didn’t include any pictures and said that “you must go and visit it yourself”…Who can possibly resist..!!

Now it’s not a short distance from station, it’s tucked right down in the eastern areas near the plateau which are a little tricky to get to, myself and Peter are fairly experienced outdoorsey folk so that wasn’t going to bother us, we just needed enough time off work to be able to get there…Aha Australia Day weekend! We wanted to get out on Friday night but a problem with Pete’s work changed that for us, all in all not such a bad thing though as we just decided we’d go an extra 6kms on the Saturday to get to a location a bit further in which as it happens worked out quite well as it meant we wouldn’t be camping / bivvying that evening – Not that this is a problem normally but the weekend in question was doomed from the beginning with between 25 to 40 knot winds which really wasn’t the ideal weather for camping out and looking at the stars..

So our plan was as follows:

  • Saturday: Walk from Davis to Crooked lake Apple (19km)
  • Sunday: Walk from Crooked Lake Apple to Cataract Canyon and then North to Trajer Ridge Melon (18km)
  • Monday: Walk from Trajer back to Davis (23km)

Now when you look at the distances this doesn’t seem that bad in all honesty, the first day from Davis to Crooked Lake all up is only about 5 – 6 hours, not a problem at all…day two however….From about waypoint 23 it was a bit of a mare, what should only have been about an hour turned into four hours of fighting to try and find the correct path both in and out of the canyon, it’s pretty rocky, no paths obviously, the wind was slamming us from all angles and we’d been on the go a fair time by this point. There was one point where the wind kept blowing me over and I was in a bit of a precarious spot so fell down some rocks onto some more rocks and smacked my arm…At this point I unleashed hell and fury at the wind, I stood there swearing and cursing at it and threw my walking pole at it telling it in no uncertain terms to ‘go away’ <words of similar meaning possibly sensored by the editor> – At this point I looked to my right at Pete and we both started cracking up laughing….It had been a long day and this was by no means the end. our intended exit from the Canyon wanted us to head North to Trajer, again only four or so clicks but we were constantly faced with unmarked ‘walls’ long ice ridges, lakes with blizz tails that were protruding halfway across them…At 1930hrs I called it and said that we should head back to Crooked Lake Apple – It was further away but it was a known route and we could guarantee we’d be back there in two hours. We started walking at 0930hrs that morning and finished at 2100 that evening…I blacked out without ceremony after stuffing a dehydrated military meal in my face that was quite frankly cat food in a brown wrapper..

The next day was the most painful, cuts bruises and blisters were the order of the day but we managed to trudge our way back to station via Watts hut in good time (If anyone is confused by the meaning of the above song “Fray Bentos” you may want to have a look at the pies being eaten at Watts hut), as with all trips the pain will fade but the memories of what we saw will stick with us, It was a good few days of which some pics are below:

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