Journey South (Part I)
On the 15th October 2013, some 80-odd Antarctic expeditioners sailed from Hobart for Davis research station on the ship Aurora Australis. This journey was expected to take approximately 12 days and cover nearly 5000 kilometres. In fact the journey took 23 days as we were delayed and challenged by thick pack ice whilst still a long way from Davis. From the very outset we knew this trip was going to be special as within hours of departure we experienced bad weather which lasted about five days. Many of the expeditioners were laid up with sea sickness during this time.
For many of the expeditioners this was their first trip south and they had not experienced ship board life before. Although the Aurora Australis is a P&O ship it definitely is not a cruise ship. Expeditioners are expected to assist with basic duties on the ship and also continue with their Antarctic training. Expeditioners are also expected to share cabins and can, on occasions, be four-up in a cabin.
Despite the work and training workload there was ample time to enjoy the sights nature had on offer whilst standing on the decks. This crew of expeditioners bonded quickly and also set about creating a social environment which everyone enjoyed, these activities included photo competitions, lectures, games, quiz nights and a highly enjoyable BBQ on the trawl deck once the ship made it to the pack ice.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition when King Neptune makes a surprise visit to the ship and welcomes all new expeditioners to his realm.