At 4:30pm on the 9th of November (day 14 on Voyage 1) we reached the fast ice around 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) from Davis Station. After travelling about 2650 nautical miles (~4,900km) in 14 days to get to this point one could imagine that the last few miles would take a few hours at most….
Approaching the fast ice we passed many beautiful icebergs.
At 4:30pm the Aurora Australis was travelling at 12 knots ready to cut through the ice edge and deliver us to Davis Station.
After the first few attempts at ramming the fast ice it became apparent that this was going to be a long slow process.
Oh well — might as well enjoy the slow trip through the ice. It allowed us to take many photographs as we inched past each amazing iceberg.
As the sun traversed the horizon it illuminated the ice and icebergs in many different hues. There was a mention that the penguins on the ice were travelling much faster then the AA.
Meanwhile snow petrels in their hundreds gathered in our wake, possibly opportunistic feeding in the waters stirred up by the Aurora Australis.
At this time the sun was above the horizon for 24 hours a day. We will not see the sunset again until mid February. Later in the evening the sun was low on the horizon, casting an eerie purple glow on the landscape.
The next day – 10th November – I was up on the Bridge very early. Since arriving at the fast ice at 4:30pm yesterday we have only progressed around 1km (in 14 hours). So during the morning helicopter operations commenced – to fly essential persons the short distance to the station.
The following 3 photos were taken with a wide angle lens – Samyang 14mm F2.8
There were large numbers of penguins seeming to wander aimlessly across the ice.
Later that afternoon I had my first real glimpse of Davis Station – home for the next 12 months.
The slow pace continued during the day as we inched closer to our goal. The ship would reverse back down its track for 200m to 300m, then full throttle forward to ram the sea ice, riding over the top of then crushing through with the sheer weight of the steel hull. This process gained another 20m. They would repeat this routine time and time again.
Early on the 11th of November, the clouds cleared to a beautiful sunny morning. We were still slowly progressing through the ice to our goal – a point close enough to carry out re-fuelling the station across the sea ice.
At 9am we were told to be ready to fly. Essentially I was packed and ready, so I went all over the Aurora Australis taking last minute pictures of our home for the last 2 weeks.
At 0945 on the 11th of November we were asked to go to the helideck and board our flight to Davis.
We arrived at Davis Station at just after 10am on the 11th of November 2016.
Next……Finding our feet