When it comes to spending four weeks with 11 persons on a small vessel
such as the “Australis”, details, compromises and organisation are key
to enjoy the voyage to Antarctica.
Finding your own space in tiny cabins, sharing one shower or dealing with your cabin mate snoring are all details that become part of a daily routine that we all (have to) embrace.
Working on such an unusual platform requires good organisation to
satisfy every project and person that is part of the expedition. Sharing
“laboratory” space, zodiacs, sorting trays, etc., … can be tricky when
many operations happen at the same time and good coordination and
communication among the team is important to avoid any conflict. Our
daily routine therefore always ends with a debriefing to discuss science
as well as planning or personal feelings.
The most important assets to live on the “Australis” can be summarised
into three major points that, as we all agree, make the success of our
First is Katie, who’s in charge of everyone’s happiness inside the boat.
She is the one we will have to blame if we put on too much weight during
these four weeks. She is the British sister of the boat, always asking
if everything is fine and offering goodies for comfort. She also proved
herself a brilliant biodiversity catcher on Antarctic shores.
Then comes Ryan, mostly dedicated to outdoor activities, he is always in
for a zodiac lift, assisting the divers, going fishing and making sure
we are all safe when conducting our science. Never short on a funny
comment or joke, this New Zealander and Katie are like cats and dogs in
Last but not least is Ben, captain of the “Australis”. His huge
experience of the surrounding environment ensures the success of
location picking while satisfying every project on board. Entirely
dedicated to the Belgica121 expedition he always finds a way to help us
achieving our goals.
These aspects are certainly only the tip of the iceberg – the three of
them work day and night to run the “Australis” without us noticing and
all this work in the shade is probably the most important part of the
success of the Belgica121 expedition.