The RM Araon is the 360ft long ice breaker that will take us from Christchurch to Jang Bogo station. It will be our home for 10 to 12 days, depending on when we actually leave and the sea conditions. Terry knows nothing about ships and is not a water person, so this portion of the trip has him a little on edge. At least the Araon looks good from the outside, all nicely painted and with lots of cranes and antennas and life boats.
On the inside, the ship is surprisingly spacious. The two of us are sharing a 4 person cabin and there is plenty of room for all of the stuff we hauled on board. We have 4 bunks, 2 desks, 4 closets, a refrigerator, a couch, a porthole window and a bathroom. Not only are the rooms larger than expected, there are numerous spacious laboratories. Most of these are full of cargo that is headed for our destination, Jang Bogo Station. After that stop, the Araon will perform numerous sea experiments such as retrieving hydrophones and other instruments sprinkled around the Antarctic, as well as a visit to the nearby Italian Mario Zucchelli Station. For scientists, we have 32 Koreans, 5 Italians, 3 Kiwis, 3 Americans, 1 Australian, 1 German and 1 Finn. There are a total of 3 women and 72 men on board for this leg of the journey. This is about the ratio of Terry’s graduating class in Electrical Engineering in 1984.
One of the more unusual features of the Araon is the full time satellite internet connection. This can not be cheap. But with 46 scientists and 29 crew, the competition for bandwidth is intense. Still, the connection works and we are able to upload this blog with a bit of persistence. For the evenings of 25-26 November, we bunked on the Araon but were able to get off and walk about Lyttelton as we wished.