Parked in the Ice

After arriving at Davis Station – one of the most amazing sights is to see the Aurora Australis parked in the ice.

The Davis re-supply takes place over the sea ice. At the 3 other Australian Antarctic bases the re-supply takes place over water.

As mentioned in previous posts – the AA finally made it through the fast ice to a location at which it was safe to carry out the re-supply of cargo and fuel.

As there was not enough beds on station – some people were still sleeping on the AA and coming ashore for ‘day trips’. A couple of days after arriving at Davis I was fortunate enough to get a ride to the ship in a hägglund to bring a couple of day trippers back.

Driving out over the sea ice to the Aurora Australis
On the way out to the AA – passing Anchorage Island

The Aurora was parked around 3.5 km off Davis – re-supply was in full swing and they had run the fuel line from the ship to the station fuel tanks.

The Aurora Australis in the ice – the fuel line can be seen on the starboard side

At the stern of the ship was an open channel – the ships path through the fast ice. There were many adélie penguins resting on the ice alongside this channel.

A gathering of adélie penguins alongside the channel cut through the ice by the AA

Over 3 days around 830,000 litres of diesel was transferred from the AA to the station fuel tanks.

The fuel line extends from the starboard side of the Aurora Australis
The bright red/orange colour of the ship is a stark contrast to the snow and ice. Also the blue hägglund is small against the imposing size and shape of the AA
Amazing to see the Aurora Australis from this perspective
Many of the local adélie penguin population came to take a closer look at fuel line and the big orange thing that appeared in their world
Adélie penguins make their way to the stern to where the open water may supply a short cut to the open waters
Our blue taxi awaits


I managed to go out to the Aurora Australis a second time, but this time a group of us walked out across the sea ice on under a beautiful, clear and sunny sky.

Walking across the sea ice towards the AA – following the channel made by the fuel line

On the way out to the ship we came across a group of adélie penguins. in their myopic state they come towards us – thinking that we are also penguins. Then they suddenly realise that we are not what we seem.

Adélie penguins coming to check us out
A picture tells a thousand words
An impressive sight out on the ice
A pair of beautiful adélie penguins 
The ice bergs look amazing 

As we got nearer to the AA – one of the crew came out towards us. It turned out to be the captain Gerry O’ – it was great to see him.

Captain Gerry O’ and I pose in front of the AA
Re-supply was still in full swing and going well
The AA looks impressive from every angle
The pink hägglund “Opal” was being used as a taxi

I got a ride back to the station in ‘Opal’ the pink hägglund – I had to be back to open the Post Office. The mail bag would depart with the Aurora Australis.

Later the same evening I had one last trip out to the ship – this time I brought along all the postal stuff (first day covers, stamp packs, and post cards) for the crew to purchase and send.

Last view form the Aurora Australis trawl deck

Please share…..

Until next time……


2 thoughts on “Parked in the Ice

  1. Just finished reading Tim Bowden’s account of the 1989 resupply on the Icebird and the need to wait for sea-ice breakout before fuel re-supply could take place. Compare that with the huge advantage of a decent ice breaker being able to get so much closer at such any early time of year – brilliant.


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