Showing posts from November, 2013

We're off!

Well, we made it. After two years of dreaming and a lot of hard work, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 has finally set sail! Departing from Bluff in southern New Zealand yesterday, our ship the MV Akademik Shokalskiy headed off, packed to the gunnels with all manner of scientific gear and 41 team members, all squirrelled away on board. Chris Fogwill and I had a mad final 24 hours in the lead up to this special moment. Team members were delayed by flights, key forms granting permission for our research programme were finalised on the afternoon of sailing and one major piece of kit turned up 30 minutes before we departed – amazingly the latter had been sent to the wrong address and was about to board a flight out of the country! We ran round like headless chickens in the end, chasing the last things we needed and packing them away – all of which had to be stowed in anticipation for the wild Southern Ocean winds and waves. There were some highlights though: the Mayor of

Final preparations

I am sitting in Dubai, waiting to catch my flight back home. Looking out of the airport window, the sandy landscape blurs with the skyline, dissipated by the high temperatures outside. It’s the antithesis of where I’ll be in one week’s time. Instead of blistering heat, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 will be departing from the Invercargill port of Bluff in southern New Zealand for the start of a six week voyage which we hope will culminate in reaching a frozen time capsule: Sir Douglas Mawson’s original expedition base at Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica . Two years of planning are finally coming to fruition. Two years of planning for a major science expedition; two years of putting together the best possible team and all the interviews, training, meetings, form filling, and equipment purchases and hire that go with it. Choices we made months ago are now committed. Only time will tell if we made the correct ones. To be honest, the last few months have been a bit of a

Antarctic Scribbles: The winners of the Oz and NZ Doodle 4 Google competition have just been announced

A year ago we started a conversation with Google and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia about the possibility of offering two berths on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 as a prize for Google 4 Doodle. For those not familiar with this competition, Doodle 4 Google is a school contest offered across different countries every two years or so. The challenge for children is to redraw the Google logo inspired by a question or statement. Prizes vary around the world; the top doodles in Australia and New Zealand usually win some fantastic technology for the classroom. This year, Google and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wanted to do something a bit different: they wanted to bring Antarctica to the school children of Australia and New Zealand as never done before. Besides the technology, the prize would include a berth for the teachers of the winning schools on the expedition and our discoveries would be beamed home using Google+, Hangouts on Air and YouTube. It was dizzy

Win a trip to the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands!

Bringing the Antarctic a little closer to home is a major reason for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 . You can get involved in all manner of ways. For those keen to have a hand in the science programme and join us in the south, berths are for sale . Working with Commonwealth Bank as sponsors of this year’s Doodle 4 Google expedition prize, we are also taking a winning teacher from both Australia and New Zealand as part of the team. And for those who prefer warmer climes but still want to explore this special part of the world, you can take part in the free Google+ Hangouts on Air , where we will be streaming live footage of the journey and answering questions about our findings.  An elephant seal in the sub-Antarctic But now we have even more fabulous news. One lucky CommBank customer and a friend have the chance to win a place on the first leg of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 , and follow in the footsteps of the great scientist and explore