Friday 29 September 2000
This was a huge day. This morning the ship we are sailing on, the Aurora Australis, came around from another wharf and tied up where we had all the cargo. At about 0900 a huge flurry of activity began. Small and big fork lift trucks began moving the cargo to the side of the ship and the ships crane lifted it on board and lowered it to the various holds inside the ship. Gordon and others had worked out very carefully where every item was to go because somehow we had to fit it all in. Most of the cargo went into the holds in the front of the ship but some scientific equipment was taken onto the back part of the ship - some down to an area known as the trawl deck, some remained on the helicopter deck.
Gordon took the opportunity today to start moving some of his personal and work equipment on board. There is so much - computers and printers, boxes of files and other papers, tapes and CDs and books to read, kit bags of clothes, overalls and helmets and protector glasses, various types of boots, and much, much more. I’ll tell you about the set up in another letter. In the afternoon Gordon went up to the offices of the local newspaper, the Mercury, and collected a whole pile of newspapers - the special supplements the paper printed with news and results of the Olympics competition. A photographer and journalist came down to the ship and took a picture of Gordon taking these papers on to the ship. In his interview Gordon said that the people down at Davis and Mawson stations had been following the Olympics on the internet and perhaps with a little TV reception but they had not seen mail and real newspapers for over six months now and would appreciate seeing and reading the articles in the papers. It was very cold and windy this afternoon with a lot of rain.
By the way is everyone comfortable about me using the 24 hour clock? Also at sea I will use nautical miles (nm or miles) for surface distances, metrics for weights and measures, and Celsius for temperatures. If you are still stuck with Imperial measures you will have some learning to do.
Saturday 30 September 2000
Another huge day but not as long as yesterday. More cargo loading but it was mainly time for getting the rest of our personal and work gear on board and getting it ‘battened down’ for going to sea. I guess I’ll find out what that means in the next few days. By arrangement today, the expeditioners who are sailing with us had the chance to bring their own personal equipment on board but they won’t be coming on themselves for another few days.
Gordon spent an awful amount of time sorting out people’s questions and directing them where to take items of equipment. In the afternoon a number of other people got on board - these were scientists and technicians who are going to be checking out and calibrating some of the scientific equipment during the next two days. Gordon and I left the ship late afternoon and we went back to his home. In the early evening though, the ship left the Macquarie wharf and sailed a few miles up the Derwent River to a place called Self’s Point. This is an oil storage terminal and the ship was to spend the next 24 hours there taking on the oil it needed to operate its engines for the next few weeks but also the special diesel fuel that Davis station needs to run its generators to provide power for the station during the next 12 months.
This evening Gordon and Pat took us to dinner with friends at their place. We had a lovely night - our last on firm ground for six or so weeks.