Hutton goes to the Antarctic - Voyage 2 (3307), along with the Fuel Rats and Canonn Interstellar

Antarctic Refuel Operation is COMPLETE. A lovely gallery of Canonn Interstellar and Fuel Rats mugs that went ashore for refuel operations (and nearly got stolen by the Penguin Overseer).
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There's some MEAN weather heading their way 50-100kt winds, so the team on board the MPV Everest nabbed some shots from shore for Canonn and The Fuel Rats and have had to scarper in double quick time ready to reload and then get to their next resupply operation:

"This morning the run of mild weather that had enabled us to complete ship to station refuelling and consecutive days of cargo operations came to an end. Anticipating increasing winds during the morning, our ship's crew, watercraft operators and station teams commenced RTA cargo operations this morning a little after 0800hs. Forecast winds from the East were thought to carry the potential of generating a rapid increase in winds in Newcomb bay disrupting watercraft operations. Regular communications from the bridge to station and to the station's bureau of meteorology staff allowed a running commentary of current and anticipated weather conditions, supplemented by the keen eyes of a number of experienced expeditioners on the bridge keeping a watch on the wind speed averages and surface definition. Before mid-morning, despite 10 minute wind averages remaining low on the water, an increase in local area wind speeds, >25kt wind gusts recorded from the ship, and reducing surface definition on the moraine line informed a conservative decision to suspend boating operations and review the option to stay in Newcomb Bay or depart for Hobart.

By mid-afternoon and with careful consideration of factors including outstanding RTA cargo remaining on station, the condition of sea ice, current route and local area forecasts, a determination was made to conclude resupply operations and depart for Tasmania. At present, the outline of station buildings is gradually receding into a backdrop of dark rock and snow white coastline on an ocean of whitecaps and snow flurries.

The abrupt departure of the ship from Casey this afternoon curtailed our ability to say our goodbyes and thank them for their outstanding efforts in preparing for, and conducting this resupply. Despite the challenges of significantly reduced station numbers, the complexities associated with undertaking resupply activities in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and technical communications issues, the station community under the leadership of Kyle and Dave, maintained their sense of humour and professionalism. We wish the expeditioners at Casey all the very best for a rewarding and safe winter season.

On behalf of our voyage supervisory team we would like to sincerely thank the Master and crew of the MPV Everest, our roundtrip expeditioners aboard the ship, and all on station and in Kingston, Tasmania for their efforts to ensure this resupply was safe and productive.

Regards,
James, Jenn and Andy."
 
As they're on the return journey now - they've asked that we email over some questions for the on-board "Fuel Rat" team if we've got them - whether it be about refuelling operations, life on board the ship or down in the Antarctic etc

Feel free to post here and we'll collate and relay them over.

Thursday Update
This afternoon at 1300hs, the MPV Everest sailed out of the Northern edge of the ice pack after an overnight transit. Yesterday afternoon and overnight, access was granted to the bridge deck where many of us were treated to the impressive spectacle of ice bergs, whales, orcas, snow petrels and an array of penguins and seals dotted upon the concentrations of sea ice that we navigated through at slow speed. For many of the expeditioners aboard the ship this is their first experience transiting from the continent and the diversity of the wildlife off the bow of the ship is a delight to behold, particularly after a southbound voyage that was almost devoid of wildlife.

Having left the 'shelter' of the sea ice, increasingly concentrated due to the recent winds, we find ourselves now back upon the swells of the Southern Ocean with waves expected to increase to approximately 6 metres – a relatively gentle reminder to ensure personal belongings and work stations are properly stowed.

Group exercise sessions, movie viewings and tours of the dive apparatus aboard the vessel are being conducted, whilst others catch up on sleep and personal admin after what has been a quite intensive period of operations.


Friday Update
Last night, expeditioners were treated to a presentation by Bloo, (one of the members of our refuel team) and his adventures around Mt Brown in East Antarctica. A quiet ship today with sea conditions overnight leading to a disturbed sleep for many, compounded by an emergency muster conducted this morning at approximately 0700hs with all expeditioners and crew accounted for. Now well and truly in the open ocean, all but a few hardy icebergs have receded astern as we continue our passage North East.

Saturday Update
Today we enjoyed glimpses of blue sky and sunshine for the first time in several days. A reduction in ocean swells has granted a reprieve in the rolling motion aboard the ship that had thinned out the queue at mealtimes and sent a few poor souls to their cabin for the duration. Pleasing to see some colour returning to their faces today. Voyage 1 reporting writing and administrative duties are ongoing at pace whilst shipboard planning and preparations for V2 continues, bolstered by the addition of expeditioners from Casey who now adopt their shipboard roles for V2.
 
What I was wondering when I saw the picture - in one of the pictures, they have this floating shoebox (I really hesitate to call it a "boat") with the container with the fuel hose. Does the hose "belong" to the ship or to the station? And if it belongs to the station - how do they get it onto that shoebox? (assuming that shoebox is part of Everest's equipment)

Oh, and second question: If those rusty cans in a few of the pictures actually are the fuel tanks (as indicated by the safety signs so prominently displayed as background of the rat mug) - no fear that they might corrode through and necessitate the use of mops and buckets?

Final question for today: I had been driving a diesel car for some time in the past, and I've heard that the bunker oil that is (was?) widely used for ships would be considered a solid by a layman under ordinary conditions - what kind of fuel do they actually use for the station that they can pump it through those hoses (and get it out of the tanks, which don't seem to be heated) through a freezing ocean (and would expect during winter)? Heck, even my Weber grill has trouble with the propane in a cold January, and that's in central Europe.
 
As they're on the return journey now - they've asked that we email over some questions for the on-board "Fuel Rat" team if we've got them - whether it be about refuelling operations, life on board the ship or down in the Antarctic etc

Q1) If one part of your body had to be made out of ice (with all the associated difficulties that entails re: keeping it frozen or otherwise losing it for ever) which part would you choose?

Q2) Could you tell us a little bit about the fuel management of the ship. How much fuel does the ship carry, how far can the ship travel on that amount, and how far are you from a refuelling depot? Also ... is it possible to emergency refuel a ship like that (e.g. via helicopter or rescue boat ... has it ever happened?).

Q3) Richard Dawkins once claimed to have seen two dogs doing a 69. What's the worst lie you've ever told to impress someone?
 
Having arrived safely home to Hobart, Tasmania to reload, the MPV Everest is setting sail for part 2 of the mission - to refuel Davis and Mawson bases!

Source: https://twitter.com/AusAntarctic/status/1359336812259332099?s=20


Will be bringing you updates as they make the journey and maybe even some more photographs. These are the continuing voyages of Commander Dogsbreath and his Canonn and Fuel Rats goodies for charity. His mission, to seek out bases in need of fuel and supplies and to boldly go where he hasn't gone for at least a few weeks. THE ANTARCTIC.
 
Dang, that Everest class needs a shipkit and a chrome paintjob 😂

And I wonder if Dogsbreath and the others got somehow extorted into this whole endeavour? Do they have mining equipment on board by chance? 😜
 
The MPV Everest has arrived at its next stop:
Source: https://twitter.com/AusAntarctic/status/1364130629567225859?s=20


Tuesday:

As the sun rose this morning we commenced our final approaches to Davis. The Everest Master, with the assistance of his Officers, skilfully navigated the vessel through the bergs that lined our pathway forward and between Gardner and Anchorage into the harbor. Outside the decks were a hive of activity. Rugged up expeditioners stepped outside into the cold, and windy conditions armed with their cameras, to capture the passing bergs, Adelie penguins perched on bergy bits and their first glimpse of the continent known as the Great White Hell.

At around 0800 the distinctive colouration of the Davis landform came into view. At 08:50 the MPV Everest was anchored at the Davis Anchorage. However, upon our arrival the winds were ~ 30 knots and too high to allow operations to commence. Early afternoon, after feasting on turkey, the winds had dropped to allow us to commence. The small inflatable boats (IRBs) were lowered from the deck onto the water. Thus marked the start of the Davis Station Resupply Operations for the 2020/21 Season.

This afternoon the plan is to transfer the six Helicopter Resources Team members ashore, where they will recommission the two helicopters that wintered at Davis. The Beach Master, along with the resupply officer, will also go ashore this afternoon to assess the wharf area, in readiness for tomorrow's planned cargo operations.

REGARDS: Andy, Jenn and Lauren

Wednesday:


Late yesterday afternoon some happiness was sent ashore in the form of the highly valued mail bags. All on board and ashore are very grateful to the Everest crew who, upon request from Voyage Management, located the bags. After 15 months on the ice this is the first mail the team at Davis has received.

This morning we were greeted To blue skies and sunshine, the kind of weather you would expect from an area that is called the Riviera of the South. Today's weather has provided us with ideal boating conditions for what has been coined the Davis Regatta Day. This morning the Bill Budd Barge and small boats from the ship and station were launched on the water, seven boats in all. The purpose of the regatta Day is to train Mawson and Davis expeditioners to assist in the refuel operation. Our highest priority this morning was to get 8 personnel ashore who would form the wharf team for cargo operations. While this was occurred a further 9 expeditioners were transferred to the small boats to commence on water training.

Whilst the small boats zipped around the water in training mode, the barge after transferring the personnel the wharf in the morning, began cargo operations. The first cargo run of the day was the refuelling equipment. This was met ashore by the refuelling team that had come ashore earlier in the day. The refuelling team will now spend the remainder of the day setting up the shore side in readiness for a weather window to open to allow the transfer. Tonight on station, the refuelling supervisor will brief the expeditioners in readiness for when we undertake the refuelling operation. As this is being written we are now in the swing of cargo operations. The ship's 250 tonne starboard crane is lowering ½ height containers of aviation fuel to the barge which are then taken ashore to the Davis team.

Tomorrow the plan is to continue the second of the watercraft training for expeditioners and to send 2021 Wintering Davis expeditioners in to their new home.

REGARDS: Andy, Jenn and Lauren

Thursday:


Today's operations commenced with the transfer of 10 expeditioners from the ship to the small boats for the second of the watercraft training sessions. It was then time to fire up the 50 tonne crane, attach the Billy Pugh and transfer personnel to the barge. The first barge load of expeditioners to experience the Billy Pugh ride were those Mawson personnel who have gone ashore to assist with the resupply operations. The senior crane operator on board manoeuvred the Billy Pugh quickly and efficiently, transferring all 14 from the main deck to the barge in the blink of an eye. Once the barge returned to the ship it was time for us to farewell the Davis Wintering Team. Again the crane operator transferred another 14 personnel to the barge, keeping everyone's feet dry. As the barge pulled way we waved them goodbye as they headed towards their new home.

Meanwhile cargo operations were underway using the second barge. The first cargo ashore this morning were the 11 bulka bags containing the incoming expeditioner luggage. After this load it was time to switch back to the 250 tonne crane to continue with the discharge of containerised cargo. It was a somewhat slower morning owing to the requirement to remove a few drums from the half height containers containing aviation fuel. This lowered the container weight, allowing the station wharf crane to safely lift the container with the remaining drums, from the barge and onto one of the waiting vehicles to be transported to station. This afternoon we continue with the discharge of priority containers from the ship to station.

Whilst station tonight will be a hum of voices and sounds, as the numbers on station increased substantially, the ship will feel like a ghost town. We sailed south with 74 expeditioners, and tonight there will be only 25 of us along with the ship's crew left on board.

REGARDS: Andy, Jenn and Lauren
 
On tonight's Hutton Orbital Live we have a transcript of an interview with the resident head Fuel Rat on board, answering all the questions you sent in to them. Yes. All of them. Even the silly ones.
 
Updates on "Fuel Ratting" operations in the Antarctic:

Hutton Cargo operations - "Ice Planet" style:
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Friday

This morning the decks of the Everest were blanketed with a dusting of snow, which continued to fall throughout the day. This did not hamper today's mission - A day totally dedicated to 2 barges and the movement of cargo from the ship to station. Like yesterday, there were some tricky loads which slowed us down. This included cargo listed on the manifest as "nested containers". This terminology referred to two 10 foot shipping containers which are connected by what is known as a joiner. This joiner needed to be removed to allow the lifted weight of the container unit to meet the safe working limit of the wharf crane. The Everest deck crew swiftly removed the joiners, before lowering each unit on the barge ready for transfer to station.

Our counterparts on station continue to receive the cargo we send ashore, moving it from the wharf to its respective laydown area for unpacking or storage for a later date. The Helicopter Resources Team have been hard at work with reports from station indicated that the commissioning of their machines is proceeding well. The helicopters will then undergo a test flight prior to coming to the ship, where they will be placed in specially designed containers for transport. With unfavourable weather on the way these test flights will now occur some stage in the following week.

Tomorrow we will discharge the remaining cargo for Davis, with the exception of the front end loader that requires the tides to be just right. The Davis and Mawson welders on board will also begin moving their equipment onto the main deck tomorrow, as we begin to prepare the area required to land the helicopters on.

REGARDS: Andy, Jenn and Lauren

Saturday

There was no stooging around today with action on all fronts. Conditions on the water today were ideal for boating operations, with very minimal wind and blue skies. These conditions not only allowed the barge to continue movement of cargo to shore, but also permitted us to support a small boating trip to Long Fjord to support a station science project. This trip was to determine an appropriate location for the deployment of a piece of acoustic equipment, which will be used to monitor seal movements in the area.

From the bridge of the ship we watched the helicopters conduct their test flights, the sound of the machines in the air indicating they had been successfully awoken from their slumber. On the main deck the ingoing Davis and Mawson boil maker/welders, along with their team of helpers began removing, the container feet in readiness to receive the helicopters later next week. The team are making good progress on this job.

As we write the DVL and the MPV Everest Chief Officer are currently ashore inspecting the Return to Australia, RTA, cargo. On completion of today we will only have the front end loader for Davis, and the cargo destined for Mawson left off the ship. Ove the coming days the weather is looking unfavourable for back loading the ship with RTA cargo and for refuelling. And so the saying "Hurry up and wait" begins.

REGARDS: Andy, Jenn and Lauren

SRV Deployment Image:
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