Highlights of Gary’s progress on the
Our Far South Expedition
February 19, 2012
The Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) has staffed a permanent station on the Island since 1948. Today, the station can house up to 40 people. Resupply is by ship twice a year. Macquarie has no wharf so crates are lowered onto an amphibious vehicle known as a lark, which motors into the shore and then drives up the beach to the station. Refueling takes place with a long floating fuel hose from the ship to the tanks on shore. The station houses research staff working on a range of tasks.
While visiting, we were lucky enough to see the weather balloon launch. Twice a day, at the same time around the world, weather balloons are launched to track temperature and pressure in the atmosphere and allow a global scale maps and weather forecast to be constructed. Macquarie is one of the few places to supply data from this far south in the Southern Hemisphere. The station also houses staff of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service who have responsibility for wildlife management on the island. At the moment they are part way through a very ambitious project to eradicate rabbits, rats and mice from the Island.
Well we’ve tracked 400 nautical miles SE from Macquarie and as we approach the Antarctic Circle north of Cape Adare, we’re starting to see small armadas of icebergs. For the last three days, we have sailed through a low-pressure system and seen the swell direction move around from the SW to the SE, which has been a blessing because the SW swell was hitting the ship beam on and producing quite a roll (side-to-side motion) in the ship. It was bad enough that we changed course for a short while one dinner -time to help keep the food on the plates! Tomorrow morning we should be past Cape Adare and turning south in to the Ross Sea.
Coming up….. the freezing ocean