Sep 172012


The ship departed Hobart as planned at 10pm September 14, having successfully checked the procedure for deploying the acoustic mooring that will be used later in the season for whale research.

Initially they went north (!) near Maria Island for sea trials of the CTD (Conductivity and Temperature at Depth) winch and FRRF (Fast Repetition Rate Flurometer). Also the synthetic TMR (Trace Metal Rosette) line was re-spooled before had a test deployment.

Whilst trials were underway the remaining expeditioners were briefed on the Job Hazard Analysis to enable them to work safely in the container laboratories on the forward hatch covers, the trawl deck aft, and in the tween deck forward of the ships galley. Then there were laboratory inductions.

Other tasks that have been completed include planning and trialling the NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) Waves In Water deployment technique, which will deploy eight 10kg buoys in the ice along a 155km transect by helicopter. Many of the other scientists were preparing valuable and fragile equipment in expectation of a pitching, rolling ship.

Then, settled into their functional but cosy cabins, they then travelled south in a gentle 3-4M swell. Fortunately for most, but not all, the two days of trials had allowed them to get used to the motion.

At this stage, expeditioners are doing field training on the ship.

Sep 132012

Aurora Australis and Hobart

At 10pm Eastern Australian Standard Time tomorrow evening, the RSV Aurora Australis will slip south into the night. The final day of preparation will see last minute touches to all the labs on board, equipment being stowed for transit, helicopters landing on board, and the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) being assembled and launched.

Then all expeditioners will board, ready to begin the process of safety briefings, inductions, and settling into the confines of a research icebreaker.

But for now, its time for goodbyes and, well, the good old Antarctic ‘hurry up and wait’.Lab farm on the foredeck



Two days to go!

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Sep 122012

RSV Aurora Australis in port

Activity on the Aurora is reaching fever pitch as 70 odd scientists and a swarm of technical support crew make ready for 7 weeks at sea! Labs are being squared away, supplies loaded and myriad last-minute problems are being solved on the fly.

loading supplies for 7 weeks at sea

It’s an exciting time allright!

Count down

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Sep 112012

It is now three days until the SIPEX 2 voyage is scheduled to leave. All expeditioners have arrived, the ship has been loaded and is currently being prepared for departure.

Pre-departure training occupied the scientists and support staff for the past two days, while cargo was loaded onto the ship. This morning, work started in earnest as the ship is now available to set up labs, configure equipment, and generally prepare for seven weeks at sea…

Its time to put those years of preparation into practice!


Aug 202012

The Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystems eXperiment (SIPEX) 2012 departs on 14 September 2012. Final preparations are underway!