Navy provides survey support in Antarctica

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Jared Willans (author and photographer)

Location(s): Davis Station, Antarctica

Topic(s): Operations

Deployed members of the Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit at Davis Station, Antarctica. (photo: )
Deployed members of the Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit at Davis Station, Antarctica.

Nine members of the Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit recently sailed to Australia’s Davis research station in Antarctica on RSV Aurora Australis to begin survey operations as part of the Davis Aerodrome project.

The team will conduct survey operations to identify potential sites to land construction equipment and materials for a proposed all-seasons, paved runway near Davis station.

The two-week ocean voyage from Hobart to Davis meant a first time encounter with the Southern Ocean for all but one member of the team.

The experience didn’t disappoint with 75-knot winds and a blizzard resulting in the ship having to heave to behind a glacier for two days.

Then, after five days of driving through thick sea ice and icebergs, the ship passed 60 degrees south.

Leading Seaman Hydrographic Operator Kirsty Whyatt was very keen for her first glimpse of Antarctica.

“I am very appreciative for this awesome once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t wait to see all the penguins and all that Antarctica has to offer,” she said.

Able Seaman Jodie Dickers, also a Hydrographic Survey Operator, said the most amazing moment for her so far on the journey was stepping off the Aurora Australis onto Antarctica.

“I can’t believe I’m here, the feeling is surreal, I am one lucky sailor,” Able Seaman Dickers said.

The team will be at Davis Station conducting survey operations until the end of February, when they will again embark onto RSV Aurora Australis for the voyage back to Hobart.

Three members of Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit on the bow of the icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis as she passes through sea ice on the voyage south to Davis Station.

Three members of Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit on the bow of the icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis as she passes through sea ice on the voyage south to Davis Station.