Author(s): Sarah Laverick
The wild and desolate expanses of Antarctica have been the setting for many famous exploits and misadventures: a place where every decision has life-or-death consequences. The legendary tales of tragedy and triumph experienced by explorers such as Shackleton, Mawson and Scott continue to inspire to this day, and their faithful ships, the Endurance, Aurora and Tera Nova are vivid characters in their fateful voyages of discovery. Australia's first Antarctic flagship, Aurora Australis, and her crews have likewise secured a place in Antarctic history. This is the 30-year story of Aurora Australis and of her various human cargoes - crew, technicians, scientists, explorers, writers and artists. It's the tale of a problem-plagued construction, two devastating fires, a crippling besetment in ice and a blizzard-induced grounding in Antarctica. It tells of brave rescue missions of other ships and their near-frozen crews, and of the heroic administering of medical help while battling life-threatening temperatures and hurricane-force winds. Aurora, and those who sail within her, has always triumphed over adversity, even when the odds seemed insurmountably stacked against success. This is a tale of engineering brilliance, team tenacity and human resilience. It brings to life perilous journeys and stunning scientific discoveries, while pausing to wonder at the richness of the wildlife and the sparse mythic beauty of the barren landscapes. It transforms the Aurora Australis into a compelling character in Australia's chapter of Antarctic history and makes heroes of the men and women who have guided her through the most inhospitable seascapes on earth.