Departure - the first 36 hours
Last minute Christmas cards and pressies are organised and dropped off at the post office prior to returning to the hotel for a final pack. Everyone is mindful of the 30kg limit placed on expeditioner’s luggage and all have crammed their bags accordingly. Nevertheless, it is a fine art to achieve this threshold and most require a set of scales to ensure their belongings pass weight inspection once lodged at Macquarie Wharf 3.
We meet at the Trinity Quest bus pick-up point with luggage intact (and wearing our heaviest clothing), somewhat confident that our time has finally come. On arrival at the wharf, there is a hive of activity as Voyage 2 expeditioners congregate and AAD shipping staff finalise preparations for receiving ‘live’ cargo. There is anticipation in the air and heightened enthusiasm when all are told that the ship will depart ahead of schedule at 7pm.
With no need to administer Jenny Craig First Aid on overweight luggage, 35 expeditioners take their last steps on Tassie terra firma prior to boarding Aurora’s gangway. After initial briefings, cabin allocations and ship orientation, passengers don life vests as part of the ever important pre-departure muster. After an exquisite dinner which included second helpings of dessert, most migrate to the upper decks to cast final farewells ashore or to witness the dropping of the lines. It is at this time that the ship is free and the journey of a lifetime begins.