Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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Special Report: Voyage Cargo

Hello all out there with firm ground under your feet.

Here it is quite bumpy and it is hard to walk around without swaying and knocking into things.

I promised I’d tell you about cargo. After all, the delivery of cargo to the stations and particularly Davis is one of the most important jobs we have. I think I told you earlier that our voyage does the major annual resupply of Davis station. The other stations are resupplied on other voyages.

We measure cargo in two different ways - by volume (Cubic metres or M3) and by total weight (kilograms), both forms of measure are important because we need to know just how much space each item takes up (volume) and how hard it is to lift (weight). Before I give you a bit of detail about Davis cargo this what we are carrying altogether.

  • For use on board the ship we have 16 items with a total volume of 219 M3 and weighing 34920 kgs (I’ll explain what this is about as well)
  • For delivery to Mawson station we have only six items, total volume 385 M3 and weighing 9545 kgs
  • For delivery to a group who are going to a remote camp in the Prince Charles Mountains we have three items, total volume 23 M3, and weighing 3925 kgs
  • For the Chinese station at Zhongshan we have one item, volume 35 M3, and weighing 6000 kgs
  • And the biggie, for Davis we have 123 items with a total volume of 1393 M3, weighing 400521 kgs and we also have 660000 litres of diesel fuel for their power generators.

Before I go further you must understand that the items I talk about are not like what you get when you go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread and a packet of cheese and a jar of peanut butter which is three items. If you put those three items in one box it is like you only have one item. All of the goods we take to the Stations are packed in boxes or cartons which are packed in steel containers or wooden crates or things like that. So if we had a container which had 100 packets of corn flakes, 200 bars of soap, 500 packets of crisps and 1000 bottles of diet coke, we would have only one item (the container) and not 1800 items. So when I say we are taking 123 items to Davis it may not sound like much but there is lots and lots there.

OK, so let’s look at the stuff we are taking to Davis.

Start with the diesel fuel. It’s hard to imagine just how much 660000 litres is. Let’s try it this way - when we go to fill up the car with gas we might put in say 40 litres and it will be full. Well, it would take a line of nearly 17,000 cars to use all the fuel we are carring; or if you used one tank of gas a week it would take you 300 years to use it all. Wow!

Now look at the volume of fuel - 1393 cubic metres - so what? If all that was one big box it would be about the size of three average size homes.

I can’t think of anything weighing 400,521 kilograms or 400 tonnes. It would be a lot of elephants.

So that’s the big picture, what about some detail?

In amongst the cargo we have -

741 drums (200litre size) of aviation fuel for the helicopters
1 Hagglunds all terrain tracked vehicle
1 3 ton truck
1 1 ton pick-up truck
1 JCB all purpose loading vehicle
649 litres of vanilla ice-cream
12 kilograms of blackberries
15 kilograms of sliced smoked salmon
344 kilograms bacon
129 kilograms T bone steak
1097 kilograms of spring chicken
215 kilograms pork legs
95 kilograms veal fillet steak
320 kilograms eating apples
340 kilograms carrots
15 kilograms garlic
9000 eggs
40 kilograms lemons
22 kilograms pitted dates
8 kilograms each of Borlotti, Red Kidney and Haricot beans

AND floor cleaners and soap and toothpaste and cups and sink plugs and bottle brushes and dental floss and toilet paper

AND water pumps and oil filters and gaskets and emery paper and glue and mechanics tool boxes and Gensets

AND spark plugs and hammers and drills and nails and computer discs and batteries and bulbs and star pickets

AND it goes on and on and on.

We all get tired and angry sometimes doing our weekly household shopping for four people but if we forget something we can always go back to the store. How would you go with buying a whole year’s supply of everything you’d need for 20 people and three to four months supply for another 50 people? And there is no corner store to go to if you forget the first time!!

And it’s all here on this ship for Davis station because the next ship bringing in bulk supplies won’t be for another 12 months. I hope they haven’t forgotten the peanut butter and jelly, cos bears like OzGold and I just love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I’m much too tired to write any more. I’ll have to tell you about the 16 items we have on the ship for ship-board use another time.

Its getting colder now and there are snow showers and rain and fog and the water is rough.




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