Thirty-seven kilometres south of Hobart, the idyllic shores of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel were the scene of some rather unique Navy training activity.
Five members of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Deployable Geospatial Support Team (DGST) are busily preparing for a voyage onboard the Australian icebreaker RV Aurora Australis to collect important hydrographical data at Casey Station in Australia’s Antarctic Territory.
Accompanying the gun team on the voyage will be the Australian Hydrographic Service’s 10 metre Antarctic Survey Vessel Wyatt Earp, a modified Survey Motor Boat designed for safe operations in the Antarctic environment.
The recent training period in Kettering, Hobart provided DGST members with the opportunity to further familiarise themselves with the Wyatt Earp and hone their specific geospatial skill sets prior to deploying to the unique and extreme Antarctic environment.
Officer in Charge of the DGST, LEUT Peter Waring, said a key milestone during the training was hands- on, practical familiarisation with the newly upgraded Wyatt Earp.
“The Survey Motor Boat will be redeploying to Antarctica for the first time in a decade,” said LEUT Waring.
“During Wyatt Earp’s ‘leave of absence’ a new hydrographic survey suite was installed which will see the boat capable of performing modern, high resolution multi-beam surveys in the vicinity of the three Australian Antarctic stations.
“DGST members have deployed to Antarctica over the past decade to conduct surveys but operated boats and systems provided by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) or Geosciences Australia.
“The return of Wyatt Earp is significant step toward the reinvigoration of RAN Antarctic survey operations.”
The data collected during the summer survey in Antarctica will improve the quality of nautical charting and directly contribute to a number of scientific programs undertaken by the AAD.
“It is hoped that the lessons learnt and relationships that will be formed during this year’s deployment will further reinforce the great progress in this space already made,” said LEUT Waring.
The DGST will embark Aurora Australis in early December via Hobart and deploy through Christmas until the New Year period.
The DGST team comprises eight men and women and is based at HMAS Waterhen, Sydney.