Mawson repatriation voyage sitreps

The Japanese icebreaker, Shirase, in the ice.
The Japanese icebreaker, Shirase, will transport expeditioners from Mawson to Casey. (Photo: NIPR)

Mawson summerers and Voyage 3 round tripping personnel are heading home via Casey on board the Shirase. From Casey they are scheduled to fly home during the next available weather window.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Shirase arrived at Casey early this morning. All Mawson and Voyage 3 expeditioners and priority cargo were flown ashore and are now waiting for flights to Hobart, which are expected to occur over the coming days.

Thank you to the Japanese Antarctic Program for providing assistance to the Australian Antarctic Program; also for the excellent care of our expeditioners on their transit to Casey.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Location: 64° 48.8521′ S, 107° 09.7071′ E

Weather: low swell, light winds and sunshine.

Expeditioners are making their last preparations for flying into Casey tomorrow morning. Last night a joint Japanese and Australian social activity was conducted, which was a great success. The welcome and support that the crew of the Shirase and the JARE members have given us has been outstanding and we cannot thank them enough. A presentation will be made tonight to the Captain of the Shirase of a framed picture of an Aurora over Mawson station, the frame is made of old weathered packing crate wood.

Two flights out of Casey are scheduled to fly everyone home. Sunday 13th and Tuesday 15th March – these dates may change depending on the weather.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Location: 62° 32.1440′ S, 98° 08.3298′ E. We are now north of the Shackleton Ice Shelf.

We are presently travelling through relatively calm seas with only a small swell. Yesterday afternoon a demonstration of Japanese drumming was conducted for expeditioners, with many expeditioners being given the opportunity to try their own skills at drumming. Planning continues for our helicopter fly off to Casey station on Saturday.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Location: 63° 34.7156′ S, 87° 52.4928′ E

The weather is slightly overcast with a low swell. This has allowed all those who were suffering from sea sickness to recover. Planning is well underway for the transfer of the expeditioners and cargo to Casey on Saturday. Later today there is a demonstration of Japanese drumming, which is attracting a great deal of interest.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Location: 64° 59.4756′ S, 79° 13.0751′ E

After a rough afternoon yesterday and also overnight the seas have calmed down and all expeditioners have now reappeared from their cabins. Ship tours were conducted yesterday which was appreciated by all that went on them. All expeditioners have been impressed with the welcome they have received from the Shirase crew and JARE 56 and 57.

Planning is underway for our helicopter transfer to Casey.

Monday, 7 March 2016

After a hectic first day we are now getting settled into ship board routine. Planning is underway for presentations from both the AAD teams and JARE on their respective work over the last year. This afternoon, ship tours are being arranged by the crew for groups of eight expeditioners.

We are presently off Cape Darnley.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The morning went well with all expeditioners now on the Shirase. We have had our first meal and introduction to the ship. The welcome from all on the Shirase has been fantastic. We are half way through the cargo transfer and should have that completed in the next two hours. All that then remains is for the helicopters to come aboard be de-bladed, lashed down and the Shirase will depart for Casey.

Weather is overcast with 20 knot winds with very little swell. Pancake and grease ice is forming so it will not be long until Mawson is once again surrounded by sea ice.

The Shirase departed Mawson station this evening with 66 passengers and three helicopters, and is making her way to Casey station.