Fred's Logbook


Date / Time: 2013-12-20 00:42:06Voyage from: Davis Station, Antarctica to Hobart, Tasmania, AustraliaETA: 7th December 2013
Fred's foster-parent:

Fred's vessel:
Vesselname:Aurora Australis
Flag: Australian
IMO No.:
Vesseltype:Class 1 Icebreaker

From Fred himself:

Well, I've just been captive on the Australian Government Antarctic resupply vessel, Aurora Australis, for the last 5 weeks.

You might say we have had a challenging voyage home from Davis Station where we were resupplying the station for the next 12 months - there was lots of food, fuel and other cargo to get ashore, so I have diligently watched the cranes on the ship offloading and backloading cargo, visited the station and enjoyed my time ashore.

But once we started the voyage home, the fun and games began! The ice was just sooo thick and there was tonnes of snow across the top of it, so my little orange ship had so much trouble pushing through it into open water.

We even sat in one puddle of water for about 8 days, just drifting whereever the pack ice took us. It wasn't boring though - I had so many things to do. The puddle was an oasis in a sea of ice for more than just us; we had so many different animals come and say hello. The most impressive ones were the Minke whales that hung around us for a day or so. There was this really annoying seal that seemed to have nothing better to do than slob around on the ice next to my ship, occassionally going in for a dip before hauling out and pretending to be asleep again. I had visits from Adelie and Emperor penguins, lots of snow petrels, a southern giant petrel, a Southern Skua (which eyed me off as though I was food for it) and the occasional Southen Fulmar.

Some of the sunsets on the ship were amazing, and I regularly stood at my porthole looking out across the vast ice as the sun sank lower. Meant that I didn't get much sleep though as the sun wasn't setting until about midnight and the sunrise was waking me most mornings about 4am!

Eventually we managed to push our way out into open water again and I had a pretty uneventful trip home, with really flat seas so there was no sea-sickness involved.

On the 7th December I arrived back into the picturesque port of Hobart. There were many excited people around me, some of whom hadn't seen Australia for over 12 months - they all seemed to be relieved to be home. For me, there was a little disappointment as I had to disembark the orange ship that had been my home for a couple of months, but the person who is looking after me assures me that I can get back on board with her in the middle of January and go to another part of Antarctica - this time, the famous Mawson station. I can't wait! In the interim, I'm holed up in her office most days, but it's OK because it is full of plants and today I have a friendly cat to keep me company. I'm about to go to a Christmas party this afternoon but I think I may be a little over-dressed for the occasion - I nearly died yesterday in the 37degree C heat, but today it is a little cooler.

Anyway, until my next voyage log, I'll sign off and wish everyone following my progress a very Happy Christmas.