It was a fine and sunny day when the Aurora Australis sailed into Horseshoe Harbour. The mooring teams rushed to the ready and made sure the boat home was safely tied up so that it couldn’t leave without the old winterers.
There was much excitement and anticipation on station and on the ship. The 2011 Mawson winterers were keen to crack on with re-supply while everyone on the ship were overcome with the breathtaking beauty of Mawson. But, crack on we did. Over the 5 days of re-supply we moved in all the cargo required for another year at Mawson. Cargo including dry food, frozen food, fresh fruit and veg, personal effects and infrastructure materials were moved by crane off the ship onto a barge then craned onto trailers and other heavy equipment for movement around station. The fourteen 2012 winter expeditioners took up residence and did handovers when not involved in cargo operations. 625 000 litres of fuel was pumped from the ship into the fuel farms, maintenance was conducted at Bechervaise Island, helicopters flights were made up to Rumdoodle to inspect the ski way, with some familiarisation flights for new expeditioners. Environmental inspections around station were also conducted and the list goes on... but wait there is more, because last year the resupply was done by helicopters from 35 nautical miles out to sea, very little was able to be returned to Australia, so this year two years' worth of waste and other materials were loaded onto the AA for return to Australia for proper disposal.
On Saturday night the station was handed over to the 2012 Mawson winterers and on Sunday the ship set sail for Hobart. After having fifty to sixty folk on station during re-supply it was a very quiet place come Monday with just the fifteen of us left.
Finally, big thanks to the 2011 Mawson expeditioners and a big welcome to the 2012 Mawson expeditioners.