The Spirit of Mawson - Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 - 2014

Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Category: Expeditioners

Day 2 – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Cure

Posted by Taylor - 9 December 2013

We’re well on our way to Macquarie island and no time is spared – the only thing remotely reminiscent of Mawson’s woes of the high seas are the Nor’Easterly swells that batter the boat. Rolling the occupants like we’re on the pirate ship ride at the easter show. The powerful waves tower over the boat […]

Nicole DeLosa Lecture

Day 3 – A start to the science

Posted by Patrick - 10 December 2013

Nicole DeLosa Today the seas were significantly rougher than the last few days. It’s not uncommon to be looking out of the window and watch the grey sky be replaced by the darker frothing peaks of waves breaking against the side of the ship. Whilst I would not consider myself as someone who gets seasick, […]

Macquarie Island Penguins

Day 4 – Macquarie Island wildlife

Posted by Nicole - 11 December 2013

We arrived at Macquarie Island around 8am to a fairly large swell, which ultimately hindered our ability to launch the zodiacs and explore the island.  As the weather shows no sign of abating for a few days, it was decided to leave for Antarctica and Commonwealth Bay early and hopefully visit the island on our […]

Argo release

Day 6 – Launching buoys

Posted by Janet - 13 December 2013

We sail on, through the fog.  Our ship is a cocoon, a bubble surrounded by mist. It’s still and calm and eerily lifeless outside – appropriately mysterious for Friday 13th. I’m writing just after an excellent lunch – I’ve left the warmth of company, food and the dining room to sit outside, rugged up in […]

Day 7 – Birthday wishes

Posted by Joanne - 14 December 2013

WOW…what a day and it is still only 2.30pm. We woke to a bump and shudder at 6.22am when we “shunted” the first piece of pack ice. We have been moving through the ice ever since and will continue to do so for most of the next couple of days. It is fantastic and very […]

Day 8 – Antarctic Ice Ice Baby…

Posted by Nikki - 15 December 2013

Wow what an incredible day on the AAE 2013/2014! This is a day that will go down in all of our memories as something truly special. It started out as all days seem to when one smashes through oceans with a 6/10 sea ice coverage – with significant thuds, whacks and shuddering of the entire […]

Day 9 – Astounding wildlife

Posted by Annette - 16 December 2013

After yesterday’s action-packed day on the zodiacs, today has had a more contemplative air. Snow flurries have danced past the windows and most of us have remained safely cocooned inside the ship, clutching warm drinks whilst watching the icy world drift by from the bridge. The Shokalskiy has resumed its slow trudge south, crunching and […]

Day 10 – A feast for the eyes

Posted by Sean - 17 December 2013

The morning started a little sullen, which suited our situation as we were making headway through the last of pack ice but soon this opened up into a Coastal Polynya – this amazing expanse of water that opened up as a result of wind moving the ice away. Crowning this was stupendous sunshine, such glorious […]

Day 11 – Paradise in Antarctica.

Posted by Steve - 18 December 2013

On the edge of “fast” ice, about 50km from Mawsons Huts. Temperature a balmy 7.3 deg; high cloud burnt off by early afternoon, no wind. Paradise in Antarctica. The ice is now getting quite slushy – like spring snow in the Aussie ski fields. We have a stunning view of the Antarctic coastline near Commonwealth […]

Day 12 – A birthday in Antarctica

Posted by Ian - 19 December 2013

My birthday. I am 73 today on the Antarctic icecap. We are pulled up to the fast ice in the entrance of Commonwealth Bay just a little north of the huge iceberg B09B still blocking the entrance. Today the recce team set out, after a few problems with the Argos in the soft snow, to […]


Day 13 – Southern light

Posted by Andrew - 20 December 2013

Sleeping doesn’t come easily in the middle of an Antarctic summer as light permeates the frigid atmosphere at all hours. Yet I was fast asleep when the indefatigable Greg Mortimer knocked quietly on my cabin door at 0430. “C’mon mate” he whispered, the Mawson’s Hut crew are arriving back soon and the light outside is […]

Day 14 – A trip into Mawson’s hut

Posted by Estelle - 21 December 2013

What an amazing 24 hours. I was privileged to obtain a place on the second and final trip into Mawson’s Hut – an approximately 60 km trip by Argo across fast ice to Commonwealth Bay. We set out about 8am NZ time (5am Australian Eastern Standard Time) on a still, crisp, minus six degrees Celsius […]

Day 14 – A Christmas Tree

Posted by Elizabeth - 21 December 2013

Today dawned bright and clear. We are sitting at the fast ice edge with Adelies lining the edge near the ship. The sea is covered in sheets of translucent ice that have formed overnight in between the various ice floes that lie scattered about. The horizon is lined with large bergs that look for all […]

Day 15 – Summer solstice

Posted by Peter & Judy - 22 December 2013

It might be a gloomy day outside and a day on board, however expedition life continues. In this part of the world the actual summer solstice was in the early hours of today. It went quietly given the cloudy conditions; unlike recent days when in beautiful conditions some took in the early hour’s sunset and […]

Day 16 – A rare opportunity

Posted by Ben - 23 December 2013

It’s pretty rare, but sometimes in life you get given a chance, an opportunity that won’t come around again. I’d suggest that these types of opportunities are often going to involve letting go of something, and taking a risk.  I’d also suggest that these types of opportunities may have few guarantees and hold the possibility […]

Day 17 – Christmas Eve

Posted by Graeme - 24 December 2013

It’s often said that Antarctica is a dynamic environment that can rapidly transform at a moments notice. Today we experienced that first-hand, as we came down from a high of exceptionally good weather to find ourselves surrounded by thick, impassable pack ice. Too dense to travel through, the sea-ice has stopped the mighty Shokalskiy in […]

Day 18 – Christmas onboard

Posted by Carol - 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas to all and 2014 bring peace, health and happiness to the world If we were dreaming of a white Christmas our dream came true this morning, it was white, white, white, like a gigantic pavlova, breathtakingly beautiful. The wind is strong about 40-50 knots  with an occasional curious and  brave penguin sliding around […]

Day 19 – Marine biology

Posted by Alicia - 26 December 2013

First of all, I can’t but help to say that we are all very well, better than it is thought out there. Yesterday morning we were told that, in order to get out from here, help was required. Although we had spent at least one day stuck in the ice, the news prompted a bit […]

Day 20 – Clearing blizzard

Posted by Estelle - 27 December 2013

A trip to Antarctica is a story of patience. Waiting for the weather to improve, waiting for the whales and seals to appear, waiting for the right conditions to undertake research, and now waiting for an icebreaker to assist our passage out of the pack ice.  In spite of our captain’s magnificent efforts, we’ve been […]

Day 22 – An Antarctic birthday

Posted by Mary - 29 December 2013

What a wonderful day! Visiting Antarctica had been my long-held dream and not only am I actually here, but I’m celebrating my birthday in this wonderland of snow and ice. I try each day but cannot adequately capture in my journal the colours, sounds, sights and scenes of this beautiful, mysterious and serene land and […]