Introducing David. Long time Cactus Supertrouser advocate. He’s been doing some pretty interesting work lately – just completing a project of converting a 20-foot shipping container into a mobile marine laboratory for Antarctica New Zealand. David had an amazing experience, spending 9 months down on the ice working on the refurbishment of Scott Base Hillary Field Centre facility, and since got approached to manage this marine lab project.

Normally based in Wellington, focussing primarily on his cold brew coffee business, Harpoon, he decided to take the opportunity to move to the South Island and in true Cactus style, explore the club fields for the ski season at the same time as building the science lab!

The lab has been designed so that scientists can line the walls with fish tanks and have a constant flow of up 10,000 litres of seawater flow through the tanks every hour. Once it is shipped to Scott Base it will be mounted on a sledge so that it can be towed out on the sea ice or used in the new container porch at Scott Base. When it is plugged into Scott Base it will be connected to 8 different services including fire sprinklers, compressed air and a high-speed data connection.

Besides having to squeeze all of this into a 20-foot container there have been other challenging factors. The container will sit outside in temperatures as low as -48C and with all the seawater being pumped through it will be a very corrosive environment.

It sounds like quite a project. “We started with a brand new shipping container and once we had finished cutting and welding, it was sent off to be blasted back to bare steel and given a high spec paint job. Custom-built fibreglass panels form the floor, walls and ceiling of the lab. A universal bracketing system means that scientists can customise the layout of the container to suit their experiments.”

The marine lab is the first in a series of container labs that will be built in the coming years as part of Antarctica New Zealand's on-going commitment to supporting world-class science in Antarctica. Well done David & Antarctica NZ.

P.S. David is wearing Cactus Slim Supertrousers. If you want to know more about what Antartica NZ is up to check out their Facebook page here. If you want to know more about Harpoon Cold Brew, go here.