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Showing posts from January, 2014

Leaving the Antarctic base Casey for Hobart: We are heading home!

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The last few days we have been staying on the icebreaker Aurora australis just off the the Antarctic coast near the Australian base of Casey. For the operations team on the vessel, it has been a busy time, resupplying the station, bringing gear and waste offshore, balancing logistical needs against the ever changing weather. For those on the AAE, it has been a time for rest, work and reflection. Everyone seems to have slept – a lot. Afternoon naps are a common occurrence, and during lectures, no matter how interesting the content, many team members – including myself – have been known to doze off. No one seems to get upset by this; it’s just seems to be the natural way of things. Alongside the daily programme of talks, the team have been working hard on the analysis of the scientific data we have collected. Erik and Chris have been working on the salinity and temperature analyses made during the voyage south and around Commonwealth Bay. Chris Fogwill has been drilling down with New Z…

On board the wonderful Australian icebreaker Aurora australis

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After the first decent night’s sleep in a fortnight, the team are starting to familarise themselves with their new home, on board the Australian icebreaker Aurora australis, a remarkable red giant that stands proud in the heavy pack ice. It has been an intense last 24 hours. Yesterday we woke to brilliant sunshine and calm on the Akademik Shokalskiy with no immediate news of evacuation. Indeed, we even had the Inaugural Mertz Writer’s Festival on the ice, in anticipation of another day locked in. But by 1800, we were in evacuation mode. The Russian crew opted to remain with their vessel until either conditions improve or they are broken out by another vessel capable of reaching them. Captain Igor and his crew were completely unflappable and provided a wonderfully calming influence for everyone else. By midnight we were all safely on board the Aurora thanks to some impressive helicopter sorties by the Chinese from their icebreaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon); round trips between the Shokal…