1 October 2000
This started off a very relaxed day. We rose late, had a leisurely breakfast,
went out and did a couple of minor chores, packed the last few things
we needed. We went to neighbours for a barbecue lunch and then Pat drove
us to Self’s Point where we boarded the ship.
On board at this stage we only have five of the expeditioners who are
sailing south with us but a number of other scientists and technicians
who are doing the equipment calibration. We also have eight visitors from
the National Oceans Office who are just going to be on board overnight
to see how the ship and its equipment operate and the facilities for scientific
research. There were about three people on the wharf to see the ship pulling
away and heading down the river and out to sea. We left Self’s Point
dock at 1652 local time.
Had a pretty quiet evening - wandered about the ship with Gordon checking
out things, catching up with crew members he has travelled with before,
sorting out things in the cabins. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulated
in Gordon’s cabin and work space since we first came on board. Sorting
out all this is a job for tomorrow and part of Tuesday. Got to bed about
2200, fairly rough outside but for seasoned sailors like us - not a problem;
some of the Oceans people were looking a little green when we saw them
on the trawl deck talking to one of the scientists. En route to Port Arthur
the scientists successfully completed RMT net trials.
Monday 2 October 2000
After the overnight trip which included testing of new trawling equipment,
we pulled in to Carnarvon Bay at Port Arthur about 0630. The ship set
out four anchors to allow some technical work to be done including acoustic
calibration and the maintenance of computing logging systems. For us it
was a pretty relaxed day even though there was a lot on - fortunately
one where we could set our own pace for doing things, and what an assortment
of jobs. Unpacked and stacked hundreds of videos for the video room, re-stacked
and sorted mail bags going to the stations, set up computers and connected
them to the network, unpacked and stored office supplies and stationery
for on board use, unpacked and stored personal equipment, set up the Voyage
Leaders space and emergency equipment (the Voyage Leader had returned
to Hobart earlier in the day for final briefing of expeditioners). The
National Oceans Office staff left the ship this morning to return to Hobart.
A quiet evening meal and then finished up the last of the sorting - shifting
stuff from Gordon’s cabin to other parts of the ship.
Tuesday 3 October 2000
The day started off in very relaxed form. A leisurely breakfast followed
by some light finishing up work. At around 0830 the first of our two helicopters
flew on board. The helicopter people then started taking the blades off
to allow the helicopter to go into the hangar for the trip south. A colleague
of Gordon’s from the office came out with the last and final copies
of manifests, papers, and sundry items of equipment.
At about 1000 the second helicopter flew on board and shortly after that
the first of the expeditioners arrived. They had come from Hobart by bus
and out to the ship by ferry from Port Arthur. Three ferry loads in total,
with all their kit bags and cameras and all. While all this was happening
a sea plane flew around us and we noted someone taking pictures from it.
Wonder what that was about? Gordon had a busy time checking off the names
of people as they came on board and giving them directions as to where
to take their stuff. After lunch Gordon was asked by a National Geographic
film crew to re-enact one of the expeditioners coming on board and being
What’s this - a starring role in a film? Nothing as big as that.
The National Geographic Wildlife TV group are collaborating with some
Australian researchers on a documentary about Leopard Seals but want to
also capture images of an Antarctic voyage generally. Gordon has known
the principal researcher Tracey for some years, and he had also established
a working relationship with the film crew. So several takes of cameras
rolling to have Tracey climbing the final step onto the ship and being
checked off and greeted by Gordon - seeing Gordon and Tracey had known
each other for a long time, a big bear hug was in order - nothing very
formal about these ANARE expeditions!!
In the afternoon we had sea safety instructions from the ships’
Captain and crew - this included putting on survival suits, getting into
life rafts and so on. And then it was count down to departure. The scientists
and technicians doing the calibration work packed up their gear and left,
the anchors were lifted and moved, the final lashing of equipment, the
final testing of engines, Customs officials and others left the ship about
1830. At 2000, we sounded the hooters and officially departed at 2036
slipping down Carnarvon Bay and out to sea – straight into rough
weather. It was quite dark by this time so there was not much to see.
It was a quiet ship tonight.
And so we are on our way - 82 expeditioners (researchers and their staff)
and 21 ship crew - 103 people who will share the next 17 or so days together.
What will we do on this journey?
On our journey we initially head roughly south of Hobart to about 47 degrees
and then 54 degrees south where we are to retrieve some sediment traps
and deploy new ones. We’ll tell you more about these later. We’ll
also be deploying a Continuous Plankton Recorder. We should be finished
this work on 7 or 8 October, so we’ll turn more to the South West
and aim for Davis station on the Antarctic continent - we expect to arrive
there on 19 October for a five day stay before heading to Mawson where
we expect to be from 29 October to 1 November. From there it is a trip
heading north to Heard Island (6 to 8 November) before turning North east
for Fremantle in Western Australia which we expect to reach on 16 November.