Happy Dragon to Antarctica
Happy Dragon went to Antarctica late December. She took some 1300 mt of new supplies – food, building materials, cranes, trucks and more – and 9 passengers from Hobart to relieve and replenish some of the researchers working at Casey Station.
Happy Dragon also loaded the Traverse Cargo for the Million year Ice Core project, where a mobile inland station will be set up to drill an ice core dating back more than one million years, at Little Dome C in East Antarctica. The expedition will require about two weeks to travel the 1100 km to the expedition site. Tractors, snow groomers, sleds, fuel, food and the infrastructure to support 16 people who will be doing the drilling. The first Australian Antarctic traverse in decades. Arriving on Christmas Day at Casey station the weather was so bad Happy Dragon had to sit out the storms until December 31st when at last, discharge could be started. On January 20, the work had finished and the voyage “home” was commenced with 500 mt RTA on board – that is: Return To Australia cargo. The vessel encountered wild weather during the passage towards Hobart, which made the table-soccer table walk around the tutor-room. But they made 15 knots and in 1 week after the last Mack-Truck had been loaded in Antarctica, it was now discharged safe and sound in Australia.
The crew saw beautiful mountains, a huge number of icebergs in all shapes and sizes, the Aurora, they encountered fierce storms and sailed through very rough weather, but also pinguins, killer whales, elephant seals and whales.
A trip to remember.
Photo: Dave Bueller