Voyage of the Vasiliy Golovnin Ep.3 (2006)
8th day en route to Casey Station, across the Southern Ocean.
The seas had calmed down a lot, after a few wild days. People were up from their bunks and beginning to mingle and getting to know one another.
The ship, a kind of mechanical fiction, imperative and changing – a magnificent feat of engineering imagination.
It’s a strange experience being in an existential microcosm with strangers on a strange sea, travelling to the continent at the end of the world. Bonds and friendships form, unexpectedly: the interesting collision between Australian Antarctic Division Expeditioners, old and new, scientists and tradies and, of course, the Russian crew, who had sailed from Vladivostok and who were used to the Arctic oceans. I wish I knew more about their stories – they were fascinating and warm people, who took time to get to know.
As the climate chilled and days passed, the humanity began to thaw: a very revealing experience about human nature, perceived hierarchies and small groups of people in remoteness – you have no choice but to get on, despite whatever differences you have of opinion or life experience. My impression of this, at the time and in retrospect, is that it was immensely rich and revealing of the nature of people and how they can interact: they do have choices about this and some respond better than others. Above all, good humour and kindness.
Athwart it all was the indifference of the immense ocean, its temperament and un-human-ness and the awaiting ice. My intuition was a sense of common-purpose and incipience – something much bigger than the self, something difficult but terribly important to understand. An enlarging experience.
And, besides that, how wonderful to be on the wild ocean having the adventure of a lifetime – and knowing it was only beginning.
A videoblog of the Voyage of the Vasiliy Golovnin on a continental resupply of the three main Australian Bases, Casey, Davis & Mawson in 2006.
I was fortunate to receive the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship in that year, where I shot a stereoscopic 3D movie and a number of high-definition panoramas. It was a great adventure, fulfilling a life-long dream to experience the frozen continent at the bottom of the world. The blank spaces on the map.
The videoblog was shot on my trusty Canon Powershot Pro 1 camera – an 8.3 Megapixel device. It could shoot video at 320x240px @15fps for max 3 minutes; 640x320px for ~ 30 seconds per shot, recording 11Kz mono audio.
Basically, the video was pretty dreadful (as you can probably see) – but it was good enough for blogging with – and I managed to post a few videoblogs from Antarctica via satellite, when I was at the bases. But I shot a lot more than I ever uploaded. This is that other material.
It’s a ‘digitally restored’ version using current software tools, mainly for posterity and also for the friends I made on the voyage – and for anyone else out there who cares to watch. I hope you enjoy it.