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DAVES CASEY DIARY
 
MY TRIP TO CASEY AND MEDIVAC OUT
 
 

FEBRUARY 2004

Preparation & Last Minute Training

On the 9th, left home at 9.15am for Hobart. Arrived in Hobart at 6.00pm.
Quantas flight via Gladstone, Brisbane and Melbourne.

On the 10th, stores training for the Bureau of Meteorology.

On the11th, Dental appointment in the morning, with 3 fillings, xray and cleaning.
All expeditioners must be dental cleared. To the Antarctica Division in the
Afternoon to be kitted out.

On the 12th, fire training at the Tasmania Fire Training Centre, Cambridge.
BA training with training scenarios, by crawling through real smoke-filled
buildings, by using BA equipment.

On the 13th, second day of fire training. Fire safety and equipment training.

On the 16th, to Calvary hospital for a ECG stress test. All expeditioners over 55 years
of age must complete one.

Trip Down on the Aurora Australis

On the 17th, departed Hobart at 4.30pm on the Aurora Australis, (Voyage 7), for Casey,
my third expedition.

On the 18th, position -44.5S, 145.2E. Acclimatising slowly to a lively welcome to
the great Southern Ocean. Seas about 7 to 8 metres, with winds strength up to
50 knots.

On the 19th, position -46.2S, 143.6E. Sea conditions still very rough, about 5 to 6 metres.

On the 20th, position -48.4S, 139.7E. Our current speed 10 knots, distance last 24 hours
218 Nm. Air Temp 9.7 degsC. Seas NW swell 2 to 3 metres.

On the 21st, position -51.8S, 135.3E. A shocking night sleep. Winds up to 60knots, with
seas swells up to 7-8 metres. The AA rocked and rolled all night. Sleeping in my bunk
was near impossible, up and down position in my bunk all night. Current speed 8 knots,
distance last 24 hours 209 Nm. Temperatures getting cooler at 2.3 degsC. Slight snow showers.

On the 22nd, position -53.5S, 130.3E. Seas calm overnight, much welcomed. Making
good progress south. Current speed 11 knots, distance last 24 hours 255 Nm. Air temperature 3.2 degsC.

On the 23rd, position -57.8S, 124.5E. Seas rough again 3-4 metres. Our current speed
11 knots, distance last 24 hours 272 Nm. Air temperature 4.0degsC.


First iceberg sighted today

Aurora Australis in ice pack

On the 24th, position -60.3S, 118.3E. First iceberg sighted today. Our current speed
14 knots, distance last 24 hours 293 Nm. Air temperature 0.3 degsC. Snow showers.

On the 25th, position -64.4S, 111.1E. In the afternoon, initiation ceremony for expeditioners crossing the -60 degs South line for the first time. In the initiation ceremony, the expeditioner, must kiss a dead fish, they are also subjected to a concoction of rotten dead fish mixture put through their hair. I am an onlooker this time. Plenty of weathered icebergs continually appearing. We entered into the sea ice
pack early in the evening. Sea conditions smooth at last. Our current speed before we reached the ice pack was 15 knots. The distance last 24 hours 286 Nm. Air temperature 1.1degsC.


Beachfront at Casey

Casey Base

Casey Accommadation Building

Lush green moss

FALL ON THE ICE

On the 26th, position -66.1S, 110.3E. Arrived at Casey Station at 6.30am local time.
Commenced cargo operations with Larc, and expeditioners ashore to Casey, by station work boat called “Pagadroma”. At 9.00am to the Met office for the change-over procedure. After Lunch, my movements becomes confused, due to a fall on clear ice.
Apparently, after visiting the tank house with the person I was replacing at Casey, we
stepped outside via the back door and found ourselves on clear ice, which was covered
up by light snow, we both fell. Bad luck for me, I hit my head on the ice, I have no
recollection of the accident what so ever. I regained consciousness early in the evening,
finding myself connected to a oxygen mask and drips running into me.

MEDIVAC


Medivac Chopper

Flight Doctor attends to Dave

On the deck of the Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis departs for Macquarie Island

On the 27th, I am in the medical ward at Casey. Doctors Jeff Ayton, Andy Williams and
Tanya Kelly, take a lot of xrays of my head/neck region, and scan them off to Hobart.
With advice from the neurosurgeon in Hobart, the doctors come to a decision to medivac me back home to Australia. After some delays due to heavy snow falls, I am medivaced by helicopter back to the “Aurora Australis”. The AA departs Casey later in the evening for Macquarie Island.

( For the next 5 days, my condition seem to be bad with severe pain coming from my
head/neck region, especially from my head. The doctors Jeff Ayton and Andy Williams,
pushes plenty of pain killing injections and tablets into me on those days. I am doped up in bed.)

On the 28th, position -65.1S, 110.4E. Current speed 13 knots. Snowing quite heavily and
pack ice more compacted than on arrival. Into clear water by 4.00am. Cruised east along
the shelf. (On the daily sitrep report, it read, “to AA master and crew, Medicos, Field Training Officers, Pilots and crew, for smooth and professional operation, and for efficient midivac.) Air temperature -2.7degsC.

On the 29th, position -63.2S, 119.5E. Current speed 8 knots. Distance last 24 hours 263 Nm. Air temperature 0.6 degC. Sea condition moderate to rough, swell 3-4 metres.
There are ninety eight expeditioners aboard. Rough ride once more.

MARCH

On the 1st, position -61.3S, 128.9E. Current speed 14 knots. Distance last 24 hours 251 Nm. Air temperature 3.2 degsC. Sea conditions moderate.

On the 2nd, position -59.5S, 136.3E. Current speed 14 knots. Distance last 24 hours 207 Nm. Air temperature 5.1 degsC. Sea conditions gathering fury.

On the 3rd, position -58.3S, 146.5E. Current speed 15 knots. Distance last 24 hours 332 Nm. Air temperature 4.4 degsC. Sea conditions moderate to rough. The ship is rolling
relentlessly. My minders, Doctors Jeff and Andy jokingly, reckon I have the best bed on the ship.


Daves Birthday
 

On the 4th, position -55.4S, 156.8E. Current speed 15 knots. Distance last 24 hours 342 Nm. Air temperature 6.8 degsC. Surprise, Doctor Jeff reminded me it was my birthday today. My minders, helped me out of bed to get me to the mess for dinner, plus birthday cake.

On the 5th, position -54.3S, 158.5E. Distance last 24 hours 81 Nm. Air temperature 5.1 degsC. Arrived at Buckles bay, Macquarie Island 7.00am. Cargo operations with Larc and helicopters commenced at 0930am. Larc operations suspended due to swell too high,
for safe Larc cargo operations alongside ship.

On the 6th, at Macquarie Island. Air temperature 8.4 degsC. Cargo operations with helicopter and Larc proceeding well. Fuel pumped ashore commenced. Doctor Jeff
gets me more mobile, by helping me walk out on the deck to view the operations of the Larc and helicopters.

On the 7th, at Macquarie Island. Air temperature 8.3 degsC. Refuelling and cargo operations completed. I am taken by helicopter onto Macquarie Island. I am able to
phone my family for the first time since my accident at Casey. With help from my
minders, I am able to visit Garden cove, just near by the mess, and also visit the Weather office. After 3 hours on Macquarie Island, feeling pretty tired and weak, I return to the AA by helicopter.

On the 8th, at Macquarie Island. Air temperature 8.3 degsC. I say goodbye to Doctor Andy Williams. Andy was one of three doctors to treat me for my head injuries. Andy commences his 12 months expedition as doctor on Macquarie Island.

On the 9th, position -54.7S, 158.3E. Due to adverse weather conditions, retrieved all
expeditioners from Macquarie Island by lunch time. The ship departed 2.00pm for Hobart. Air temperature 6.1degsC.

On the 10th, position -49.4S, 153.5E. Current speed 14 knots. Distance last 24 hours 293 Nm. Air temperature 9.2 degsC. We are traveling better than anticipated, and we are evading the adverse weather as forecast so far. I am fronting up to the mess for my meals
by myself now. Feeling a lot stronger, but still suffering from headaches with dizziness spells.

On the 11th, position -45.3S, 149.5E. Current speed 17 knots. Distance last 24 hours 297 Nm. Air temperature 10.7 degsC. We are cruising along in 1 to 2 metres seas. This is the
last voyage for the 2003-2004 Antarctica season. I have mix feelings, as this is likely to
be my last voyage on the Aurora Australis and expedition to Antarctica.

Back at Hobart
On the 12th,
we arrived Hobart at 8.00am. Met at wharf by my family, work mates and
friends.
For the next 8 days, I am in and out of hospital, for scans/xrays, and for monitoring my
head/neck injuries by a neurosurgeon. I fly home to Queensland on the 20th, after a medical clearance from the neurosurgeon.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK A LOT OF PEOPLE FOR MY MEDIVAC FROM CASEY STATION, ANTARCTICA BASE, TO AUSTRALIA. I OWE THEM A LOT.

Dr Jeff Ayton, Dr Andy Williams, Dr Tanya Kelly (Casey Doctor), Kim, (a radiographer), helicopter pilot for medivac Ric Piacenza, Casey station leader Karen, Casey nurse Dan, all Casey expeditioners involved in medivac, Voyage Leader Rob Easther, Deputy Voyage Leader Shane Hunniford, the “Aurora Australis” ship Captain Peter, and ship Crew, Met team Cliff Spencer, Bruce Alden, Segun Adewumi, Kerry Steinberner, returning expeditioners on the AA, in Hobart Robin Thiema, Jenny Coombe, Ian Hickman, Neil Adams and my Hobart minder Geof Beacon Fulton.

Home in Yeppoon
Since my arrival home, I have been in hospital for kidney stones. (passed 2 small stones). I am progressing slowly, having physio on my neck weekly. I have to visit a neurosurgeon in Brisbane later this month.

My family and I would like to thank everyone for their kind get well wishers.

 
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