Cold weather gear, check. Survey equipment, check. Nine metre survey launch built specifically for hydrographic survey duties in Antarctica, check.
The Royal Australian Navy’s Deployable Geospatial Support Team (DGST) moved into their new home the RSV Aurora Australis this week to embark on an exciting and important month-long Antarctic survey in the vicinity of Casey Station.
Using Wyatt Earp, the Navy’s survey launch designed specifically for Antarctic surveys, the team will collect valuable data to aid the development of nautical navigational charts and support Australian scientific research.
DGST teammate, Petty Officer Graham Campton, said today’s departure is a great Christmas present.
“Now that we’re onboard the reality has really sunk in, this is the moment and the deployment we have all been wishing for.
“With the Wyatt Earp successfully craned and secured onto Aurora Australis for the first time in a decade, the DGST is a major step closer to the realisation of two years of hard work,” said PO Campton.
Aurora Australis is an Australian icebreaker owned by P&O Maritime Services, regularly chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) for research cruises in Antarctic waters and to support Australian bases in Antarctica.
Officer in Charge of the team, Lieutenant Peter Waring, said they’re already starting to feel at home.
“We have been allocated cabins, had our safety and ship familiarisation briefings and now with the embarkation of the Wyatt Earp, we are ready for what we think will be the experience of a lifetime.
“It feels as though we are on the verge of experiencing something very unique.
“The guys are extremely excited and their efforts have been instrumental in getting us this far; when we get down to Antarctica they can be justly proud of what they have achieved.
“The professionalism of the Antarctic Division and P&O in loading a truly remarkable amount of very diverse cargo this week has been incredibly impressive to watch; I imagine it will be even more impressive to watch this same cargo unloaded in the most remote place on earth,” said Lieutenant Waring.
The high quality data the DGST collects will help increase navigational safety for vessel operations associated with national Antarctic programs and will assist the AAD in conducting crucial marine research as well as monitoring of the environment around the Australian stations.
The Australian Hydrographic Service http://www.hydro.gov.au is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) agency responsible for the provision of operational surveying support and maritime Military Geographic Information for ADF operations and exercises. The Navy’s hydrographic ships, aircraft and people chart more than one eighth of the world’s surface stretching as far west as Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean, east to the Solomon Islands, and from the Equator to the Antarctic.