Mechanical Engineer and Technical Team Leader of S58;
wastewater treatment works at SANAE;
recreational activities at the base: Karaoke evenings at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station and more;
weather statistics of June 2019.
Team members of SANAE58 enjoying some outside time in the sun, after the long dark winter. L-R (Back): Travis Duck, Bongisipho Kuali, Jacques Robbertze, Mpati Boleme; (front) Dr. Salomé Odendaal, Tshimangadzo Munyai, Marvin Rankudu and Ewald Ferreira. Photo credit: Jacques Robbertze
Click here to download/view the SANAE IV Newsletter, July 2019 Edition.
Click here to view all the SANAE newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.
Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 August 2019
August is a very special month for women in South Africa and this said we would like to salute women within the South African National Antarctic Programme.
SANAP is filled with strong women in Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean research. The programme also consist of a number of brave women overwintering at the South African research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and Antarctica).
There are 29 National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology funded projects within SANAP and 13 of these are managed by women. This is evident that women definitely have a place within Antarctic research.
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) sends four volunteers to Antarctica every year. These volunteers assist with hard work (physically and mentally). The last take-over to Antarctica, three of the four South African National Space Agency (SANSA) volunteers were women.
During my trip to Antarctica earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet a number of very inspiring women – in the video below, meet the three SANSA volunteers of the 2018/2019 Antarctic take-over and the new VLF (Very Low Frequency) SANSA Engineer, who is currently overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition station (SANAE IV).
Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 August 2019.
Mid-Winter is celebrated right across Antarctica by all the nations & stations. It is the 0ldest tradition in Antarctica and refers to the Winter Solstice (or hibernal solstice). It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.
At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.
The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice (usually 20 or 21 June). Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are “midwinter”, the “extreme of winter” (Dongzhi), or the “shortest day”.
So, for Antarctic Expeditioners / Overwinterers the worst is over with regards to dark (lack of light and sunlight).
Happy Mid- Winter to all – share this email far and wide.
From all of us
Office Administrator to The Ship’s Operations Manager | Directorate: Southern Oceans & Antarctic Support | Office address: East Pier, Waterfront | Direct no: 021 405 9485 | Switchboard: 021 405 9400
Mid-winter Event Pretoria, South Africa – organised by Carol Jacobs :
The December 2019 – February 2021 positions for Antarctica will soon be advertised here. If you are interested in overwintering at the South African National Antarctic Expedition Station, SANAE IV, make sure you know all about the different positions available.
Note that this position at SANAE IV is not permanent and is based on a 15 month contract.
National Weather Certificate or BSc Degree (Honours) in Natural Sciences or Previous Island Experience.
Preference will be given to applicants who have been to the islands before.
Candidates must be willing to work shifts (both day and night shifts), and on public holidays in possible adverse weather conditions.
Candidates must be punctual, dedicated, precise and able to work in a team, as well as on their own.
Oversee and coordinate surface meteorological and atmospheric research project assigned by the Marine Section of SAWS.
Perform surface meteorological observations and maintain and verify all equipment at the remote station of SANAE IV.
Conduct quality control of data, report writing and asset control.
Assist other team members with logistical and administrative tasks associated with the general running of the base.
Conduct all duties in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards as set out by the South African Weather Service.
Watch this video and meet Meteorological Technicians previously (of the 57th SANAE Overwintering Team, Season: December 2017 – March 2019) and currently (of the 58th SANAE Overwintering Team (Season: December 2018 – February 2020) at SANAE IV.
Contact Mardené de Villiers or Tammy Morris (SAWS) for more information regarding this position – Tel: (021) 935 5700
Over the next few weeks we will share more information about the different positions and you can also watch videos of previous overwintering personnel at SANAE.
Senior Meteorological Technician for SANAE IV minimum requirements and duties are taken from official job advert for this position (Department of Environmental Affairs and South African Weather Service).
Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 10 June 2019
Have you ever considered working at the South African National Antarctic Expedition Station (SANAE IV)? Are you a South African citizen? Are you a Diesel Mechanic and want to know what is expected of you when you work on Antarctica?
First of all note that any position at SANAE IV is not permanent and is approximately 15 months contract. Some positions might be longer due to the training involved before departure to Antarctica.
Here are the main duties of a Diesel Mechanic on Antarctica:
• Maintenance of power generator and vehicle diesel engines and related equipment;
• Maintenance and repairs of Air-conditioning system, refrigeration, water reticulation and waste water systems;
• Replacement and repair of mechanical pumps and valves as well as pipe fitting;
• Maintenance and minor repairs of Caterpillar machines, snowmobiles, telescopic cranes, portable generators and transfer pumps. Operate Caterpillar machines and cargo handling equipment;
• Maintenance of cabooses (field caravan) and field equipment.
• Report to the mechanical engineer and will perform additional base related mechanical and civil functions requested by the mechanical engineer and also be part of a technical team, led by a technical team manager, that has to perform any additional base related technical functions;
• Preparation of monthly and annual reports and other common “non-technical” duties performed by expedition members
Meet the Diesel Mechanic of the 57th SANAE Overwintering Team (Season: December 2017 – March 2019), John Skelete.
If you have what is takes, keep an eye on the SANAP website for the next season (December 2019 – February 2021) job openings (click here).
Contact Mr Willem Boshoff for more information regarding this position – Telephone (021) 405 9418.
Welcome to Cape Town SANAE57 team, take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition crew, Department of Public Works personnel and Nolitha Construction (responsible for the refurbishments of the SANAE IV base), the Ultimate Helicopter Crew and the S.A. Agulhas II’s Captain and Crew.
The 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team has returned to Cape Town, after 15 months away from home (see photo below). This team had to stay a bit longer at SANAE IV than usual, due to the longer take-over in order to accommodate the Weddell Sea Expedition, that was incorporated in the 2018/2019 Antarctica Cruise.
S.A. Agulhas II arriving at the Port of Cape Town, 14 March 2019. Photo Credit: Heine Smith (Department of Public Works)
S.A. Agulhas II passing East Pier, Building 1 (Department of Environmental Affairs). Photo Credit: Errol Julies (DEA)
S.A. Agulhas II entering East Pier, Port of Cape Town. Photo Credit: Riana Snyman
L-R (Back): Stephanus Schoeman (RADAR Engineer), John Skelete (Diesel Mechanic), Bo Orton (Electrician), Will Jelbert (Doctor), Forster Mashele (VLF Engineer), Sabelo Biyela (Diesel Mechanic); (front) Hloni Rakoteli (Communications Engineer), Lux Tanyana (Base Engineer), Elias Seabi (Meteorological Technician) and Cobus van der Merwe (Neutron Engineer).
This Weddell Sea Expedition was funded by the The Flotilla Foundation and the S.A. Agulhas II chartered a team of scientists into the Weddell Sea, for extensive scientific exploration on and around the LarsenC ice shelf and the A68 Iceberg. Click here to meet the South Africans that was part of this expedition.
The Weddell Sea Expedition also involved the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (click here for more information), but due to unfavourable weather conditions and the loss of the AUV (automated underwater vehicle) the search was ended where after the ship headed back to Penguin Bukta where overwintering members (S57) and take-over personnel of SANAE IV boarded the ship.
The welcoming ceremony was led by Mathibela Selepe (Department of Environmental Affairs, Chief Engineer: Telecommunications and Instrumentation) and welcoming speech delivered by Mbulelo Dopolo (Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Director: Earth Systems Strategies).
Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 March 2019
The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way home, after being in the Antarctica waters for 3 months. Onboard is the returning 57th SANAE (South African National Antarctic Expedition) overwintering team, 2018/2019 SANAE take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition members and ship based scientists of different South African universities.
Expected time of arrival (ETA): 15 March 2019, around 08:30
The S.A. Agulhas II will arrive in Cape Town at 2am, tomorrow morning.
The vessel will then proceed to Landing Wall 1 for inward clearance and shifting in to east pier around 08:30.
Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 March 2019
Meet the Communications Engineer of the 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition Team – Hloni Rakoteli. This is not the first time Hloni heads home on the S.A Agulhas II from an overwintering expedition, his first expedition was on Gough Island as part of the 61st Gough Island Overwintering Team (Gough61 team photo). Get to know Hloni a bit better, before watching the video, by downloading the June Edition of the SANAE57 team newsletter.
Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)
The SANAE57 (57th SANAE Overwintering) Team is currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, heading home after 14months on Antarctica. ALSA was privileged to catch up with the team during take-over (in January) at SANAE IV, the fourth South African National Antarctic Expedition Station.
Back (L-R): Elias Seabi, Lux Tanyana, Sabelo Biyela, Cobus van der Merwe, Hloni Rakoteli; (front) Stephanus Schoeman, Foster Mashele, Will Jelbert, John Skelete, Bo Orton. This photo is also now part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy – on the ALSA archive (click here).
Each member of SANAE57 was introduced in the team’s first newsletter. Read below Will Jelbert’s (team leader and doctor of the team) introduction at the start of the expedition and hear what he had to say after the expedition (in take-over). If you want to read more about this expedition member make sure you read the September Edition of this team’s newsletter.
Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)
As the S.A. Agulhas II is currently returning from the Weddell Sea Expedition and the SANAE IV take-over voyage (current position about S 61°12′ E 000°00′), scientist onboard the vessel are still hard at work…
It was lovely meeting up with Mpho at SANAE. We’ve spent a take-over together on Marion Island in 2016, after her year on the island as the Environmental Control Officer (ECO) for M72 (2015-2016).
72nd Marion Overwintering Team. Mpho standing in the top row, 2nd from right. Click on the photo to view more detail of the team.
Upon return from her year on Marion Island, there was an opening for an ECO on the 2017/2018 Antarctica take-over. Mpho grabbed this opportunity on with both hands. She’s also been back to Marion Island in 2018, as the take-over ECO and since been employed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, based at the Pretoria office.
VIDEO#2: Meet this take-over’s ECO (Environmental Control Officer) – Mpho Mashau
This is the first of many video’s taken by the team of Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, while visiting the SANAE IV station during this current take-over (2018/2019).
This series of videos will be posted over the next few months (See playlist on Facebook here: SEASON 1: Antarctica Take-Over 2018/2019) to introduce you to the overwintering team and the support staff of this take-over.
Watch these videos and learn more about the different operations involved in such an expedition.
Earlier this year Prof Annie Bekker of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, also director of the Sound and Vibration Research Group, organised and hosted the S.A. Agulhas II mini-seminar. This seminar covered the full scale measurement capabilities of the S.A Agulhas II and the measurements to be taken this Antarctic season.
Captain Knowledge Bengu, who will be the Captain of the S.A. Agulhas II for the 2018/2019 Antarctic Expedition, attended this seminar. This gave him some insight of what is planned by the scientists for the season and how to prepare for the SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition and all the operations involved.
South Africa’s ice breaking vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, is currently on her way to Antarctica on a 96 day cruise (almost a month longer than usually) – what does the captain say about this? Anche Louw of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa interviewed Captain Knowledge Bengu – see interview below.
The first stop for the S.A. Agulhas II is Penguin Bukta. Here the SANAE58 team, cargo and other research personnel will be offloaded and then transported to SANAE IV.
The ship will then depart to the Weddell Sea (after fuel pumping) for the 45 day Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, on search for The Endurance and also if possible scientific exploration.
For more information about the Weddell Sea Expedition – click here.
The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from the East Pier of Cape Town harbour on 6 December 2018. The ship then docked at customs, where passports of all passengers onboard were stamped. The ship officially left Cape Town 7 December 2018 en route Antarctica.
Track the S.A. Agulhas II here.
Programme Director, Nishendra Devanunthan, coming down the gangway after some final checks onboard.
Team members ready for their 14 month Antarctic Expedition.
Chef Chad Africa is ready for his 10th Antarctic expedition.
The S.A. Agulhas II departing from East Pier, Cape Town Harbour.
SANAE58 Team Logo.
Family and friends waiting on the quayside to wave goodbye. Some will retun in 3 months time, others will only return in 2020.
Team member of the 5th SANAE Team (1964), Guy Trevor Robertson, attended the ship’s departure. With him in the photo is Ria Olivier (ALSA), who will make sure Guy’s images, of his time in the Antarctic, gets archived.
Two postgrad students of the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering Departmenet at Stellenbosch University (James Matthee & Christof van Zijl) that will be testing the ship’s shaft line during this voyage.
The 58th SANAE Overwintering Team.
The voyage schedule is as follows:
Annual relief voyage Cape Town to Antarctica (Penguin Bukta)
Onboard the vessel is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team that will stay in and maintain South Africa’s Antarctic research station (SANAE IV), while gathering weather and space weather data for a period of 14 months.
The Weddell Sea Expedition will also form part of this voyage – click here for more information.
Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 December 2018
– Commemorating the agreement of the Antarctic Treaty –
On the 1st of December 1959, 12 Nations (including South Africa, the only African signatory) signed the Antarctic Treaty agreeing to 14 commands, including that Antarctica will be used for peaceful purposes only. Today, Antarctica is seen as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and SCIENCE”.
South Africa has been part of scientific exploration in the Antarctic since 1960, the year of the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE). Scientist travel annually with South Africa’s research vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, to the Antarctic. Once the vessel has reached the ice shelf, cargo and passengers are swung over with the ship’s crane. The helicopters onboard also assist in this regard. Passengers then travel about 200km to SANAE IV, which is situated in Dronning Maud Land (71°S, 2°W) where an overwintering team consisting of 10 people are housed.
South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) – this is the name of the South African government’s programme for research in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.
You might be wondering how we will be celebrating Antarctica Day/Month – keep an eye on Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s Facebook Page or Instagram as from Monday (3 December 2018).
The Antarctic Treaty document can be downloaded here.
Mpati is currently employed within the South African National Antarctic Programme and today she can celebrate her birthday with friends and family at home. Her next birthday will be on the Antarctic Continent, as she is part of the 58th SANAE Overwintering team departing on 06 December 2018 and returning mid-February 2020.
On behalf of ALSA and all involved in SANAP – Happy Birthday Mpati.
The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team is almost done with 3 weeks of training. As from tomorrow this team will be prepared for their 14 month expedition to South Africa’s Antarctic base, SANAE IV.
They will depart today in a week’s time, 06 December 2018, and return around middle February 2020.
Watch this video to learn more about Antarctica, South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic Continent and South Africa’s research vessel (S.A. Agulhas II) built by STX Finland.
Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 November 2018.