Training has been going well over the last few days. We’ve been learning orienteering with a map and compass, tying knots for Search and Rescue (SAR) and to tie down vehicles, reviewing survival kit contents (including putting up a tent in the rec room!), and operating handheld VHF radios. It’s been good keeping busy with training and briefings.

The social club has also been keeping me busy. Last night we were fortunate to have one of the two CHINARE expeditioners give a presentation on their upcoming summer season. It was a very popular talk with the theatre being packed out with us ANARE expeditioners keen to hear what our Chinese colleagues will be up to, as their Zongshan station is very close to our Davis station, and both nations quite often collaborate with scientific or logistic projects. During the preso, the speaker also asked me to read out his English translation of a song they wrote last year at Zongshan, so I’m very proud to have assisted him with this. It’s special for me as I’ll be one of the 18 expos flying from Davis to Mawson on the CHINARE Bassler. I also found out the name of their plane is “Snow Eagle”.

As for the seas it was okay for the last few days, but since this afternoon the 6 metre seas have really started to hit the ship sideways, making it roll a lot from side to side in the water. Doing paperwork in the comms office this afternoon was quite a challenge as pens, documents, and even laptops want to slide off the desk unless they’re secured. Even my office chair started to slide around when we hit the really rolly bits! I heard a forecast this morning that this weather will probably remain tomorrow, then improve somewhat later in the week. We’re expected to reach the “ice zone” on Saturday.

Today I ran the Melbourne Cup presentation in the mess. Despite our efforts in comms we were unable to hear the race call clearly enough over the sat phone from head office, and there’s still a few issues with email that we would not be able to receive an audio file of the race (and we don’t have “internet” on the ship – the network only makes phone calls or sends emails to and from the ship). Despite the technical issues I did receive the race results from a call back home. So for our presentation we had a Best Hat and Best Dressed entries in our “Fashion on the Field” segment, and then I announced the sweepstakes winners that we had been running over the afternoon. I’m very pleased that both in the kitty and winners donating their prizemoney we successfully raised $345 which is going to support Camp Quality which is a good cause.

Back to Saturday we had an emergency muster drill on the heli deck. It was my first time I’ve had to put on my survival gear since getting kitted up in Kingston. It was good to familiarise myself with the gear and procedures and we’ll practice again when we get into the ice.

How have I not mentioned food yet in this post?! The other night we had a Sunday Roast, with amazing chicken, beef, and vegies. The deserts each night are also amazing and I really don’t know how they whip this stuff up in the galley when the ship pitches and rolls around like it does. Anyway, resisting the urge for second desert (for now…)

As for travel we still continue westward. The ship has now passed 110°E so we’re now out from under Australia and somewhat under the Indian Ocean. Clocks go back an hour again tonight (UTC+8) and then again Friday night to then take us on to Davis time.

Posted by Bren

Antarctic expeditioner and avid hiker.