Rex Visits Blunn Island
During the re-supply voyage (V4) early 1997 there were a number of distinguished visitors to the station. The most distinguished of course was the director of The Australian Antarctic Division, the Big Boss, Rex Moncur.
A backlit view of Blunn Island.
Rex's main interest was to visit Blunn Island as a tribute to the person it was named after (see email from Suzanne Stallman). However, there was lots of other work to be done ferrying people back from Wilkes and dropping Oliver at Ardery Island, and Rex said he'd come along as my crew and give a hand. Andy was the driver of the other boat and we also saw this as a good opportunity to tell Rex of some of the problem we saw with the IRB's at Casey at the time.
I'm not sure if Rex was that keen so spend so much time in the boats with so many pollies around to look after, but after the trip I'm sure he'd really enjoyed the day. It wasn't a good start for me as at the landing at Wilkes I'd not noticed my bow line go over and it ended wrapped around my prop. I couldn't lift the motor and since I was tired I didn't even think twice about cutting the line at the bow, and it was untangled and re-tied to the bow in a moment. I was quite embarrassed about such a silly mistake, but Rex thought I'd done a good job fixing the problem so quickly (funny how people see things so differently).
After RTCing the Wilkes people we headed for Blunn and then Ardery. The first challenge was finding Blunn Island. There are quite a few islands in the area it is located, some not even on the map used, and Blunn is unnamed on the map. Plus with everything rock or snow it can be hard just telling what is an island. So I'd been prepared and spent some time on previous trips making sure I knew which one it was.
Rex with Blunn Island in the background.
Me and Rex.
Once there we did a loop of the island getting digital photos of Rex in the IRB with the island in the background. Rex was keen to land on the island but the problem is that it is completely ice covered and has at least 3 meter ice drops straight to the water all the way around. But we were lucky in that the tide was out and some rocks were exposed at the base, so we dropped Rex on the rocks and backed off and got some photos. It was unfortunate that it was such and overcast day with little contrast.
Rex on the rocks.
Rex left behind?
From here we went down to Ardery where we stopped under the cliffs and sat in silence watching the birds and talking about the project on the island and how nice it is to visit the island. At the landing Rex went up with some of the others to look at the camp, while we relaxed in the IRB's and caught up on some sleep.
Rex inspects Ardery Island setup.
Rex and the Adery crew.
I really enjoyed taking Rex around Casey in the boats, and I get the feeling he enjoyed the trip also. The boats at Casey are really a highlight during the summer.
Me and Rex, mates.
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 1996 14:49:34 +1000
To: Darryn Schneider
From: Suzanne Stallman
Subject: Blunn Island
Thanks your call re Blunn Island. The following applies:
Blunn Island:66:18.83:110.43:An irregular shaped island about 0.5 km north east of Cronk Island in the Windmill Islands. It is named for Anthony S Blunn, who as Secretary of the (then) Department of Arts, Sport, Tourism and Territories was responsible for the Antarctic program between 1987-1993 and supported the Antarctic Division in obtaining the icebreaking research vessel Aurora Australis and enhancing the focus on scientific research. Between 1983-87 he was Secretary of the (then) Department of Housing and Construction which was responsible for the rebuilding of Australia's Antarctic Stations. In this capacity he ensured that his Department directed the rebuilding program on the basis of the requirements of the Antarctic Division.
Hope this helps. Have a great Christmas and New Year.
Photos by me, Andy and Anthony. Special thanks to Anthony for down loading the images.