PRISM LogoPolar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements    |   Bears on Ice Iceberg shaped endcap graphic
Home Button - Return to Project Description
Polar Explorer - For Teachers, Students, and Parents
Mission Information - Project Updates, Scientific Articles
Team Connection - For PRISM Team Members Only

General News

Subj: General news

Date: 10/15/0011:02:04 PM Pacific Daylight lime

From: [email protected] (Gordon Bain (on Aurora)

In my last message I said I'd tell you something about the cargo we have on board for use on the ship. I mentioned we had 16 items with a total volume of 219 M3 and weighing 34920 kgs. None of this is involved with actually running the ship or any of the food or drinks we have on board.

This stuff includes the equipment we needed for the sediment traps program, there is also -

-an electronics workshop container with plenty of electronic bits and pieces for keeping the scientific apparatus on board working properly -there is a container Gordon manages -it contains mail going to the stations plus various emergency supplies like extra boots and sox and woolen balaclavas, and also things like sleds, ice axes, shovels, emergency rations and so on to equip and maintain a three person rescue or reconnaissance party should we be caught in sea ice and have to consider our rescue and survival options

-there are also two Meteorological Buoys which we will be putting into the oceans in a couple of weeks time but I'll tell you more about those at the time -we also have some hose reels, booster pumps and gear which we need to be able to transfer 640000 litres of diesel fuel to the storage tanks at Davis station; I'll tell you more about that when we do the job.

I think that sort of brings you up to date about the ship, its crew, the passengers and the cargo we are carrying.

So lets move on to some other news.

In my Report 112 the Voyage Leaders SITREP mentioned that we had brought the CPR back on board and put another one in. In his report to the person back at headquarters who is charge of the CPRs Gordon said "Berkley back on board at 55 deg. 7.5S, 130 deg 14.6E after a 410NM swim. Dreena deployed in same spot still running 258 deg. Water coming over trawl made changeover interesting if a bit slower than expected; but conducted in safety. Jocks, sox, underalls and overalls in drying cupboard as I write." This happened on Saturday morning 14th.

What happened?

We were traveling in pretty rough conditions and while the officer on watch tried to reduce the ships rolling and pitching and water coming up the trawl deck ramp, some was still coming in. Gordon went out on the to trawl deck with two of the ships crew. Bringing the CPR in from water was quite easy because all it needed was for the crew to operated the winch and bring it in and then lower it to a box on the deck where Gordon had to work on it. The CPR was still attached to the winch cable but Gordon had to remove the two side plates (4 bolts in each), slide out the internal appliance "Berkley", slide in the new appliance "Dreena", put the two side plates on and bolt them in. The crew then use the winch to lift and put the CPR over the side. Well, what with the rolling of the ship, water rushing in and around and Gordon on his hands and knees trying to undo bolts and fiddle around with this heavy equipment -enough to say he got pretty wet even though he stood up each time a wave came in, the water was up to his knees at times. The side plates got mixed up and he had to undo and swap over and redo them; the internal device is a very snug fit and needs to be put in very carefully. The National Geographic cameraman caught it on film - I wonder if it will appear at any time?

Still Gordon got it all done -a hero! After that he spent time processing the recovered mechanism as I described before. Some time later today {16th) Gordon will be bringing Dreena back, but will then clean up and put all the equipment away till after we leave Mawson on the way to Heard Island.

On Saturday afternoon Gordon gave a slide show and talk {is there anything this guy doesn't do?) to interested expeditioners about the history of Australian aviation in Antarctica. Very interesting and fascinating information. The whole text is too long to put in an e-mail and you will probably get bored seeing you won't be able to see the slides. I'll see if I can summarize the highlights in another report.

Sunday was a sort of a nothing day. The weather was still bad, rough seas and swell, low visibility, heavy snow showers at times. Gordon did some housework {vacuuming and cleaning his bedroom and office, changing his sheets), then some straightening up of his paperwork -mainly cargo type stuff. He had a few friends around last night, they drank some red wine, ate cheese and biscuits and watched the last episode of 'The Dream' -the Roy and HG show that ran during the Olympics.

But there was a drama yesterday. The e-mail system on board crashed something awful. There is a special handset which is used to make the connection between the Computer and satellite systems -someone accidentally dropped it and some of the delicate internal mechanism got damaged. The technical people worked long and hard all Sunday afternoon to try and repair it but failed. Then a miracle occurred. One expedition group on board is heading out to a remote site in the Prince Charles Mountains and in their kit they felt they had a piece of equipment for their communications which we could use for the patch. Last evening Gordon, the Voyage Leader and others got their heads together to work out exactly where this 2 kilograms of technology was in amongst the 400,000 kgs of cargo. They racked it down to one of two steel containers which were on the decks. They decided to try and get into the containers in the morning.

So this morning after breakfast Gordon put on his freezer suit and his big boots and gloves and with three other guys went out on to the decks {the temperature was about 0 degrees Celsius, there was 30 knots of wind, there was hardly any visibility because of the heavy snow showers, the ships rolling wasn't as bad as it has been in recent days). So after opening up the containers, they went scrambling about inside and after shifting a number of bags and boxes about they located the box which had the 2 kg piece of equipment. Then it was a case of putting everything back, closing up the containers and coming back inside for a nice hot cup of tea. The technicians got onto the job quickly and we have since reestablished the e-mail ink. The guy who is going to the Prince Charles Mountains has to have his piece of equipment when he leaves the ship at Davis -so we don't know what's going to happen with e-mail after that. I'll try and give you warning about that when we get closer to Davis.

Another hero day for Gordon. Hooray!

And the last special event to tell you about. I didn't see much of this one cause it was an adults only occasion and wee bears weren't allowed.

Last Friday was, of course the 13th, so any excuse for a party, some people organized a "Fright Night" party in the bar. Most people on the ship entered into the fun of it all and put together some wonderful costumes from whatever they could find. Gordon had a real ugly rubber mask which he wore with a big paper bag over that -with the sign "Too Frightful to Show". It's hard to describe the costumes -some simple others very elaborate, Gordon has some wonderful digital photos someone took at the party and will send some along when he gets back from the trip.

It is now getting close to lunch. Gordon has to put onto a map we have in the restaurant the location of this ship each day -just so the passengers can see where we are and how much further we have to go. I hope that the students at Husmann have been keeping their map up to date and trying to get some sense of what we are doing and where we are.

So I'd better close up for now. Gordon has a number of small jobs this afternoon so that will keep him out of mischief -perhaps OzGold and I can sneak around and see what mischief we can get up to.

Ooroo for now.




Home | Polar Explorer | Mission Information | Team Connection |

PRISM © 2002 - is brought to you by

National Science Foundation Logo
National Science Foundation
Information and Telecommunication Technology Center Logo
Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC)
Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Logo
Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation
University of Kansas Jayhawk Logo
University of Kansas