POSITION: 59 44 S 123 46 E
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 298.7 nm
AIR TEMPERATURE: 3 deg C
SEA TEMPERATURE: 0.03 deg C
CURRENT SPEED: 12 knots
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD SUMMER TIME: 1500
Although they haven't redirected their course back to their original, to the Australia Antarctic bases, the Aurora Australis is no longer needed for a rescue but for support now that the 4 bodies from the helicopter crash have been recovered. They will stay in the vicinity of the L'Astrolabe should she need any assistance whilst transitting the ice. The mood at sea is one of sadness and a one minute silence has been observed in respect for the deceased, their crew and loved ones. There is a growing relationship between the Australian Antarctic Division and the French Antarctic Expeditioners and the ship from which the helicopter came was the very same that left Macquarie wharf only minutes prior to the Aurora Australis on 21 October. I waved to the French as they were leaving as they didn't have their own friends and family there to wave them off. It seemed the right thing to do.
An emergency response exercise was held onboard the Aurora Australis yesterday and everyone got to try out their Antarctic gear as they were outside in 1 deg c - for about 45 mins and if you were not on the ERT, you were standing observing for the duration of the exercise. Hobart and Mt Wellington were cold enough for me!
The first ice has been observed on the ship's radar but no sighting as yet. It is rumoured to be only hours away though so a winner of the sweepstake will be revealed soon.