Departure - the first 36 hours

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This week at Casey: 24 December 2010
It is around 9am on Friday 10 December when I saunter down to Salamanca for my last breakfast in Australia for 12 months. It was yesterday when we received phone calls and SMS alerts that confirmed the imminent departure of the Aurora Australis for later this afternoon. And just as well, given our voyage from Hobart had already been delayed by five days and the team was getting itchy feet and a tad anxious – perfectly understandable when most had spent the last three months in Kingston preparing for this journey.

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.

Expeditioners with luggage
Luggage weigh in
(Photo: Dave Buller)
Expeditioner with teddy bear - standing in front of the Aurora Australis
Peter and Bear
(Photo: Dave Buller)
Expeditioners walking up the Aurora Australis gangway
Up the AA gangway
(Photo: Dave Buller)
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