Friday, 18 April 2014

Saturday 19th April 2014

By now I should be back on Terra Australis, paying for my own coffee and sleeping in a non-rolling bed. I’m not too sure what my plans are yet? I might hang around Hobart for three or four days sight-seeing or head off on Sunday for a few nights in Victoria. It just depends which way the wind blows. After a few nights in Victoria I will fly back home to Perth. When back in Perth I will update the blog pages from Mawson to Hobart with some photos taken during the voyage and also some of the Arrival Ceremony in Hobart and then that’s it, the end of My Antarctic Adventure.

“Thanks for coming”

~ Craig ~




Voyage 6, Aurora Australis RTA Hobart Saturday 19 April 2014

Passenger Disembarkation Program

(Please note timings are subject to change)

All Passengers bags to be lined up in the Tween deck prior to coming alongside

  • 1230 Vessel berthed alongside Macquarie No 3 Wharf, Hobart
  • 1245 Customs/Quarantine Clearance - all passengers to report to the E Deck conference room for Customs Clearance. Once cleared by Customs passengers to proceed to the port side mess for Quarantine clearance of baggage.
Upon Clearance Passenger disembark the vessel and transit to Macquarie No 2 Cruise Ship Terminal to meet family and friends and for the Arrival Ceremony/badge presentation. Passengers are to disembark as one group (AAD Shipping representatives will escort all passengers off the vessel once final clearance from Customs/Quarantine). Passengers may carry a day pack down the gangway but must have two hands free to hold the gangway.
  • 1400 (approx.) AAD Arrival Ceremony and badge presentation conducted inside Macquarie No 2 Cruise Ship Terminal.
Passenger cabin baggage will be slung off the vessel during the ceremony and will be available for collection inside the Macquarie No 2 CBC (Cargo Biosecurity Centre) main entrance at the completion of the Arrival Ceremony. There will be no access to the Secure Wharf area, there will be no vehicles allowed on the Secure Wharf area. The Macquarie No 2 Cruise Ship Terminal will be open from 12 noon for the use of family and friends.

Welcome home
Before & after
Life back to normal

Friday 18th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Clearing skies, winds around 30 knots

SEA CONDITIONS: 4 meter westerly swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Nil

LATITUDE: 45.29S LONGITUDE: 141.08E

HEADING: 63 degrees

SPEED: 16 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 380nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 1019nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 12.5c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 12.6c

The conditions for the remainder of yesterday and during the night did not swing round as much as we would have hoped, and whilst the seas were nice to us compared to the last few nights, we did not make the headway we would have liked. The result of this is that our arrival into Hobart has been pushed back by a couple of hours, and we will now be alongside Macquarie No. 3 wharf Hobart at 1230 hours tomorrow, Saturday 19 April 2014.

I woke up this morning with some light coming in from my port hole and turned over to look at my watch. It was eleven o’clock and I couldn’t believe I had slept so long. I must have been exhausted. Lunch today was a special spread with lots of sea food. I enjoyed some prawns, fish, mussels and squid rings. After lunch I packed a few things up and then went up onto the bridge to see what conditions were like on my radio.

 Conditions seemed to be terrific once again but the transmit audio wasn’t working for some reason. I messed about for an hour or so and then decided to just pack everything up. I can’t complain having finally given up the ghost on the second last day from port. I spent the afternoon down loading some more documentaries and I had a good long talk to Graham, whose job I might be taking in Papua New Guinea. He showed me lots of photos of the place and equipment. Talk about a coincidence. Dinner was also a terrific spread with crayfish, oysters, prawns, duck and three cans of light beer each. Later I did some more down loading and watched some movies. Conditions have been reasonable all day and pretty good tonight also, so I think I should get another nice sleep again tonight.

The voyage has been a total success and there was a bit of back slapping going on tonight. Final statistics were 208 helicopter sorties, around 250 flight hours, 148,627kg of cargo flown ashore to Mawson – which includes 47,048L of SAB and 8,101kg of cargo back loaded to the ship. All achieved in nine days of actual flying without incident.

P/S

Yes I know I have stuffed up the distance to go !!


Thursday 17th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast with the odd rain shower this morning, clearing in the afternoon. West to north westerly winds around 30 knots

SEA CONDITIONS: 4 – 5 metre north westerly swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Nil

LATITUDE: 48.08S LONGITUDE: 132.09E

HEADING: 59 degrees

SPEED: 16 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 355nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 1399nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 9c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 10c

Conditions remained pretty ordinary throughout the night. I went to sleep about ten thirty and woke up thinking I had managed to get a good night’s sleep only to discover it was only one thirty. Lucky I managed to get back to sleep after a while. By morning conditions were slightly better and are improving as the day goes on, so it’s nice not to be rolling around as much as we were.

We completed the last of our time zone changes overnight, I forgot though and missed out on lunch. Once we cleared the ice pack, we’ve had to make six time zone changes on the way home, advancing our clocks forward one hour every second evening. So we are now on Australian Eastern Standard time, any wonder I’m confused.

Today all expeditioners had to return all their Antarctic clothing and kit, as it is no longer required given the balmy temperatures we now have. Once this equipment is back at AAD Head Office, it will be checked to make sure it’s still OK, fully laundered and then re-issued to expeditioners heading south during the 2015 Antarctic summer season.

With the final time zone change having occurred and the return of our Antarctic clothing it’s obvious we must be getting close to Hobart now. We have an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) at Macquarie No. 3 Wharf Hobart of 1000hrs on Saturday 19 April 2014. Hopefully Hobart puts on a nice autumn day for our trip back up the Derwent River.

Conditions on the radio were quite good today and I made quite a few calls across Australia on 10m including two mobile stations. I have had a few US stations chasing me on 20m, but conditions weren’t so good today on that band.




Wednesday 16th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast, mist, rain, sunshine at times, west to north westerly wind at around 40 knots

SEA CONDITIONS: 6 – 7 metre west to north westerly swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Nil

LATITUDE: 50.25S LONGITUDE: 123.54E

HEADING: 65 degrees

SPEED: 17 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 384nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 1399nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 7c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 7c

We continue to make very good progress, although the “furious fifties” are having one last lash at us and trying to make conditions as uncomfortable as possible. As predicted, the swell and wind picked up overnight, and with them hitting us almost directly side on, they made the ship do some pretty big side to side rolls during the night. This made sleeping impossible and there were quite a few bleary eyed people getting around this morning. All night long I slid from one end of the bed to the other, hitting my head on the wardrobe and then hitting my feet on the wall while things crashed to the floor all around me. Occasionally on a very big roll you would hear a large crash or someone scream down the corridor.

At nine in the morning I got up to go to the toilet and I must have been so tired I fell asleep waking just in time for lunch. Once again I spent the whole day sorting out photos and computer files. I did spend a bit of time up on the bridge watching us smash through the huge waves and I also went outside for an hour or so and took a lot of movie footage of the extreme conditions. Today conditions remain pretty much the same, although as the day goes on the wind and swell are tending to be a little more behind us now instead of directly side on, not enough to get rid of the big rolls though, but it is improving.

After dinner I had a sked with a bloke in the States but I was late and missed him. Conditions on 20 & 40m tonight were awesome and I had a chat with a bloke in Montana for over an hour as well as a heap of Aussie guys too. A hail storm came over and the noise went up to 10dB/9 for a short time. Conditions on 40m were excellent with stations all over Australia coming through loud and clear. I was very tired though so hopefully tonight I will get a good sleep and spend the day & night on the radio tomorrow. I’m not counting on it though, as we are rolling very heavy again tonight. If only the beds pointed bow to stern and they were fitted with attached sleeping bags or seat belts. Tonight’s going to be hell again I just know it.


Tuesday 15th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast, rain, heavy mist. North to north westerly winds at 10 knots

SEA CONDITIONS: Confused 2-3m swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Nil

LATITUDE: 52.55S LONGITUDE: 104.36E

HEADING: 65 degrees

SPEED: 16 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 366nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 1783nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 4.6c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 3.7c

DEPTH: 4138m

We continue to make good speed through the Southern Ocean, although we have been running into a head wind since yesterday evening making things on board uncomfortable and slowing us down a little. Once again I had another terrible sleep last night. We could be in for some larger swell overnight so let’s see what happens.

I was up early this morning and I got a lot completed. I answered all my emails and completed and sent off my annual report. I wrote out a new CV, down loaded six new movies, finished cleaning up some files on my computer and did a bit more photo sorting.

Outside is foggy and miserable as we have now crossed the Antarctic convergence zone. After lunch I went up onto the bridge to have a look around and I couldn’t see anything, so I went back to my room and spent the rest of the day sorting out my photos. I am about 95% complete now with my photos and I just have to sort out my AAD files and I’m pretty organized. I still have my music files to finish sorting though. After all day sitting behind the computer I am going to treat myself to one of the new movies I copied today.


Monday 14th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast, winds around 15 knots from the North West.

SEA CONDITIONS: 3 m North westerly swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Occasional large ice berg and small bergie bits

LATITUDE: 55.33S LONGITUDE: 104.11E

HEADING: 62 degrees

SPEED: 17 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 382nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 2149nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 1.7c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 1.6c

DEPTH: 3216m

Last night I had the most terrible sleep or lack of. I think I was just drifting in and out of consciousness all night without actually sleeping. As a result I got up around lunch time and shortly after eating I fell asleep again for about four hours, so I don’t like my chances of having a good long sleep tonight.

The long transit back to Hobart continues, but we are still making very good time thanks to the relatively calm conditions we are experiencing in these latitudes in the Southern Ocean for this time of year. We are monitoring a large low pressure system that may cause conditions to worsen in a couple of days’ time, but hopefully we can get well out of its way in time and out run it. If this occurs we may be able to have a relatively calm transit for the remainder of the week back to Hobart.
 
We are still seeing the odd iceberg, some quite large, which is a nice final reminder of where we have been given we’ll be seeing them less and less as the week goes on. I completed sorting out the files on my hard drives and now all I have left to do is finish sorting out my photos and finish sorting out my music files, my two least favorite jobs. After writing up my blog notes for the past two days it was now past dinner time so I had better run if I want something to eat. Our clocks go forward again tonight for the third time so I must remember to do that after dinner.




Sunday 13th April 2014

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Overcast with snow showers, winds averaging 20 - 25 knots

SEA CONDITIONS: 3 m west nor westerly swell

ICE CONDITIONS: Occasional large ice berg and small bergie bits

LATITUDE: 57.58S LONGITUDE: 93.53E

HEADING: 73 degrees

SPEED: 16 knots

DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS: 339nm

DISTANCE TO GO: 2149nm

AIR TEMPERATURE: 1.2c

SEA TEMPERATURE: 2c

DEPTH: 2954m

We continue our transit through the Southern Ocean at a good rate, even with weather conditions picking up a little yesterday afternoon and evening which bought on a little more rolling of the ship. As predicted, the swell and wind is slightly behind us now which, whilst still causing a lot of roll and bumps, is helping us maintain a good speed. We are now into the “furious fifties” latitude, which normally mean some bumpy sea conditions and rumor has it we may be facing some big seas by mid-week.

Today the air temperature climbed to the positive side of the thermometer and I spent some time out on deck in the very mild conditions where I saw lots of ice bergs. It’s been a long time since I have felt such warm weather. There were many snow showers throughout the day with big feather like flakes. It always seems strange when it snows over the ocean.

I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up my hard drives on my computer. I just couldn’t bring myself to look at photos today. This motion of the ship really makes you tired and lethargic. I did a lot of reading today on antenna fundamentals and transmission lines and it amazes me that I still have such an interest after working thirty four years in the industry. After dinner I watched a good film on the capture of Bin Laden.