Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
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Friday 3 November 2000
The ship stopped for four hours overnight due to snow showers, thick first year pack and poor visibility. Although we are within fly-off range now weather prevents us flying so we are pressing on closer to Mawson. All expeditioners were briefed this afternoon regarding operations, helicopter safety and the environment. We had a very pleasant BBQ on the trawl deck followed by a Beach Party.

I was poking around a web site we have on the ship and came across some material from a previous voyage. Coral Tulloch, a writer and illustrator from Hobart, had been on a voyage on this ship a couple of years ago and had been in email contact with a school or schools in Hobart. I have included a summary of the questions asked and responses given in the special report "And still more Questions and Answers – from another voyage".

I'm sure Gordon will be more than happy to help me with responding from other questions from readers.

Saturday 4 November 2000
The ship stopped again this time at 2300 last night due to poor visibility and heavy ice.

We left Davis on the afternoon of Sunday 29 October. The shortest distance to Mawson would take us through an area known as the Fram Bank just off Cape Darnley - but this is a real no-no particularly at this time of year because of ice. So we sailed to the north of Davis working our way through light and heavy bands of ice until we felt comfortable about turning toward the west and then to start working our way southwards toward Mawson - again through thick and thin bands of ice.

In order to conduct our flying operations at Mawson we have to be within 200 miles, with a preferred distance of 100 miles or less. We are now stopped in an area of 9/10 pack ice - mainly first year but some older but rafted and ridged - and have been since late last evening. As it turns out we have reached a point about 155 miles out from Mawson and have decided it isn’t worth the effort to keep hammering in through thickening ice to get closer. At about 0730 the key people met - Voyage and Deputy Leader, Captain and First Mate, Chief Pilot and second pilot. After a quick assessment we made a radio call to Mawson advising that conditions were suitable for flying and as Mawson was experiencing even better weather it was going to be all go. We have worked out a plan that we can use to accomplish our goals efficiently.

The journey from Davis to the point where we have stopped the ship for the Mawson operation took 5 days and 13 hours (133 hours total). Gordon tells us that some years ago on this ship but slightly later in the season he made the trip from Mawson to Davis in 40 hours!!!!!

After aircraft checks, fuelling and loading the first flight to Mawson was off the deck at 0933 and arrived there at1115. Taking advantage of suitable conditions the two helicopters made three trips each to Mawson delivering expeditioners and cargo.
Unfortunately weather and ice conditions weren’t safe enough for putting a ladder over the side to go for a walk on the sea ice.

There may be a period of email silence for a while. The two expeditioners who know how to deal with email transmissions flew ashore on the first helicopter. One is due to spend the summer at Mawson but the other will be back at the ship on the last flight back - all going well late Sunday or, more likely, Monday. So it looks like no emails till he gets back.

I just hope this one goes before the ‘shut down’.

Bye for now




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