An extraordinary season with the Australian Antarctic Program
Australian Antarctic Division
BAMOS Autumn 2022
Casey doctor Tadeusz Davenport holds the first COVID vaccines delivered to an Australian Antarctic station . Photograph © AAD
The Australian Antarctic Program ( AAP ) successfully wrapped up the 2021 – 2022 season after an incredible array of scientific and logistical accomplishments .
Three ships , a fleet of aircraft , 500 expeditioners , all backed by personnel in Hobart , have helped bring together a season still challenged by the pandemic .
Australia ’ s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina made history following its first voyage to Antarctica in January .
The Million Year Ice Core drill was flown south , with teams navigating challenging weather to undertake limited testing .
Meanwhile , 1000 tonnes of cargo was delivered to Casey research station in preparation for the inland traverse to the ice core drill site .
Mawson saw its first full resupply in two years , while 350 tonnes of cargo arrived on Macquarie Island to modernise the station .
The team at Davis were changed over by intracontinental plane but the station still hosted all three ships operating this season , making it a busy time at ‘ the Riviera of the south ’.
Australian Antarctic Division ( AAD ) Director Kim Ellis thanked the hundreds of personnel and expeditioners for their hard work on land , sea and air .
“ This season had seen more ships and planes in motion than any other time before . The scale was breathtaking ,” Mr Ellis said . “ Nothing is easy when it comes to Antarctica and every year the effort to deliver people , supplies and science is inspiring .”
Significantly , the AAD was able to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to its Antarctic stations , ships and flights , despite increased challenges from state border openings during the season .
Nuyina leads the way
Australia ’ s new $ 528m icebreaker lived up to its title of Antarctic triathlete during its maiden voyage .
AAD General Manager Operations and Safety Charlton Clark said the program was still balancing baby steps with triumphs .
“ Nuyina is new to the program so we ’ re taking a crawl-walkrun approach but in its first season it ’ s already delivered some outstanding outcomes ,” Mr Clark said .
The vessel transported helicopters to Davis , before sailing to Casey to refuel the station .
Its second voyage in February saw it return to Davis before heading north to resupply Macquarie Island .
Nuyina is now destined for Singapore , where it will go into dry dock for scheduled maintenance .
A lot to unpack
This season saw the largest single station resupply ever undertaken with the delivery of traverse cargo to Casey .
More than 1000 tonnes , half of it sleds and custom-designed living quarters for a mobile station were unloaded in Newcomb Bay .