2001 - VK0/Aeronautical Mobile

Mid-January my son, David, and I boarded a QANTAS Boeing 747 filled with lots of excited passengers (all with cameras!) and headed south to Antarctica for the day. It was a very friendly flight - strangers spoke to other strangers, swapped seats, elbowed each other out of the way to get better photographs and rushed from one side of the aircraft to the other as another magical view unfolded. I watched my compass do whirlies over the South Magnetic Pole but we could not see the French base of Dumont d'Urville due to heavy cloud cover.

As we headed towards the Australian base of Casey, we flew over ice floes, looked down deep crevasses and saw pack ice and huge icebergs drifting out to sea. Our Captain contacted Casey station by radio and the guys there asked us to look out for the Norwegian ice ship, the m.v. Polar Bird, which had got stuck in the ice 2 weeks ago while on its way to deliver personnel and supplies to Casey. Eventually we made both visual and voice contact with the ship which then had to wait another couple of days for a "good storm" to free it.

A camera in the cockpit transmitted pictures onto the cabin video screens and various lecturers in Antarctic life gave excellent commentaries, so there was rarely a dull moment during the 12 hours of the flight - 4 hours flying time down south, 4 hours over the ice and 4 hours for the return to Melbourne. The meals were good and a visit to the cockpit rounded off the trip which is one I can fully recommend.

DYL, David and a friendly penguin, Melbourne Airport

Antarctic view


Bergs stuck in pack ice

Large Icebergs

Casey Station

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