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Special Report: People On Board - Expeditioners

Hello all from the gang on the Aurora.

I've told you about the crew. Now its time tell you about the expeditioners on board.
We sailed from Hobart with 82 expeditioners but only nine of us will still be on board when the voyage finishes in Fremantle, Western Australia in mid November. Why is that? It is because as the first voyage of the season we need to take people to Antarctica to do their work. 52 will be dropped off at Davis, another 21 at Mawson. We will however be picking up 18 people from Heard Island but more of that group much later on.

Let’s start with the nine who will be staying with us for the whole voyage.
First there is Suzanne - she is the Voyage Leader and has overall responsibility for carrying out all the objectives of the voyage in line with a brief she has been given by the Australian Antarctic Division. We’ll explain that brief later particularly as it relates to each of the places we visit and tasks we have to do.

Gordon is the Deputy Voyage Leader - he looks after specific things in relation to our objectives - cargo and fuel oil, close liaison with the ships crew about cargo but also about facilities on board (for example broken fittings in cabins, storage freezers for scientific samples) and provides support for Suzanne in other things and is to be ready to take over the overall management if anything were to happen to her. Gordon is also Mr ‘Fix it’ - lots of small jobs and things which need doing. I’ll talk more about the sorts of things involved later.

Next we have the doctor Kim. She looks after the health and medical needs of everyone on board the ship whether crew or expeditioner. So far she has had most of her time involved with people who have been seasick - even after ten days there is at least one expeditioner who remains in his cabin most of the time.

Kelvin is an electronics engineer. He is coming right around with us as well. His job is to look after all the scientific electronic equipment on board - depth sounders, echo sounders, the main computer, transponders and all manner of such.

Graeme (or ‘Snowy’ as he is known - because his last name is Snow - isn’t that a wonderful name for a person involved with Antarctica?) looks after our communications systems - not the ship ones which are handled by the Deck Officers, but our email systems, telephone calls from and to the ship and so on. He will be spending as much time as he can ashore at both Davis and Mawson doing work on the communications equipment at the stations.

The next four make up a group. These are the ones involved with the Sediment Traps I have told you about. The four are attached to the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) which is a partnership between five organisations all of which commit people and money to a series of joint scientific research programs. The organisations are the Antarctic Division, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the last is the University of Tasmania.

The leader of this group on board is Steven. He is supported by Dan who looks after most of the hardware associated with the project - the sediment traps themselves, the current meters, the acoustic release mechanisms, the flotation buoys and all the ropes and wires needed. Martin looks after most of the laboratory equipment associated with the project - the chemicals, the preserving jars, the centrifuges and the like; he also works on the processing of the samples. The last member of the team is Kristen - she is actually from the USA and is in Australia doing postgraduate work. She does much of the analysis and processing work on the retrieved samples in conjunction with Steven.

So that makes up the nine we refer to as ‘Round Trippers’.

I’m not going to run you through each of the remaining 73 expedition members - you will be bored silly. So let me do it this way -

We have 52 going to Davis - eight are going as ‘winterers’, that is they will be staying down there right through the coming Austral spring and summer and all of next winter, coming back to Australia in the spring or summer of 2001/2002. The other 44 are spending this spring or spring and summer at Davis - coming back to Australia on different voyages as the shipping season continues.

There are 21 going to Mawson - no ‘winterers’ among them - all going for a summer program.

Looking at the whole 82 of us in different ways

  • there are 16 women and 66 men, with an average age of 35.8 years (the women are on average four years younger than the men); the youngest person is 21, the oldest is 63.
  • there is 1 medical doctor, 14 biologists, 8 carpenters, 3 communications operators, 1 communications technician, 1 cook, 2 voyage managers, 7 electricians, 3 electronics engineers, 3 engineering/buildings facilities managers, 1 diesel/plant mechanic, 2 field trainers, 2 filmmakers, 2 geochemists, 4 geologists, 1 geophysicist, 2 helicopter engineers, 2 helicopter pilots, 1 laboratory manager, 2 marine geologists, 2 meteorologists, 4 oceanographers, 5 physicists, 2 plant operators, 4 plumbers, 1 storesperson, 2 equipment technicians.
  • 66 were born in Australia, the others in a wide range of countries -1 in Czechoslovakia, 2 Germany, 1 Malaya, 2 Netherlands, 1 New Zealand, 4 United Kingdom, 1 Scotland, 4 USA
  • 72 are Australian citizens; the other ten are travelling with various passports.

So that’s it - a wide range of people with a wide range of interests and reasons for being here.

Till next time.



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