This week at Davis: 28 February 2020

The start of winter offers a chance to reflect on a familiar sight in Davis' icy waters

Reflecting on the RSV Aurora Australis' season at Davis

A mere fourteen days in October 2019 were all it took for the RSV Aurora Australis to safely carry the incoming Davis expeditioners on Voyage 1 roughly 5000 miles across the Southern Ocean, but for those on board, their memories of the AA’s famous warmth and hospitality will never fade.

Last Sunday, the 50-something strong summering crew departed Davis, leaving the 24 winterers to contemplate their new-found solitude as the ship set sail for the icebergs beyond station, quite possibly for the very last time with the advent of the RSV Nuyina.

For some, their voyage south was their first and the ship’s finale was of little consequence. For some of the other recidivists, the familiar sight of the AA’s stern seemed lonelier as it headed into the yellow sunset dwarfed by nearby icebergs, heralding the end of an era.

As we settle into our new home for the next nine or so months, we have plenty of time to ponder and speculate on the vessel that will eventually bring us home; some would prefer to fly, others have their hearts set on returning via the Nuyina, but I think there are quite a few that secretly harbour a desire to have one last trip on the Aurora Australis.
Grant in the process of building a scale model of the Aurora Australis ship in the Davis workshop
Davis carpenter, Grant, working on a scale replica of the AA
(Photo: Patrick James)
A real aurora australis casts a green glow across the blue night sky at Davis
The outgoing summer crew were lucky enough to see the ship's namesake
(Photo: Patrick James)
The last barge load of yellow-clad expeditioners are carried safely to the RSV Aurora Australis, on anchor in the background
Next stop - Hobart!
(Photo: Patrick James)
The AA's red hull is contrasted with the gloomy sky as it breaks through a lead in the white pack ice on it's way south last November
Finding the path of least resistance
(Photo: Patrick James)
Cam stands on the white fast ice in front of the red AA during V1 resupply last November
Cam stops to take a photo with the AA during the Voyage…
(Photo: Cam Gray)
The 2020 Davis wintering party signal the Aurora Australis' departure with a volley of flares as it heads into the distant ocean beyond
Bon voyage!
(Photo: Will Kenton)