Nish Devanunthan

Dear Colleagues,

As I prepare to turn the page of a decade-long chapter of managing Operations and Infrastructure Support for Antarctica and Southern Ocean work and move on to new horizons, I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you. Working together in enabling South Africa’s presence in this unique and challenging environment has been an unforgettable experience that has enriched my life in countless ways.

The extreme conditions and remoteness of the environment have demanded the best of me, and I am incredibly proud to have been part of it all. It sometimes felt like dealing with the logistical complexities of supporting Marine and Antarctic activities were the same as navigating the harsh ice conditions. We have faced and overcome numerous challenges as a team. Even though we may not have agreed on everything, the bonds we have built and the memories we have made will always hold a special place in my heart. I am truly grateful for the friendships, support, agreements and disagreements we have shared.

I am also deeply appreciative for being entrusted to manage South Africa’s presence in these pristine environments, and to have personally witnessed the beauty and wonder of Antarctica, Marion Island and Gough Island. The rough seas, breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife, and understanding that there is so few which get this opportunity, have left an indelible mark on me, and I will forever cherish these memories.

As I move on to new endeavours away from the Ocean and Polar space, I will carry with me the valuable lessons I have learned especially when dealing with an unpredictable environment – the importance of adaptability, resilience, teamwork, and tenacity. The various curveballs and unexpected challenges have made me more resourceful in finding solutions. I am confident that the skills and experience gained will serve me well in my future pursuits.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your unwavering support, dedication, and friendship during my tenure in the Antarctic and Marine space. I will always treasure the memories and the connections made, and I wish you all the very best in your ongoing work in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean or wherever your paths may lead you.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey, and please stay in touch.

With deepest gratitude,

Nish Devanunthan

Former Operations Coordinator: South African Polar Research Infrastructure (2022 to 2023)

Former Director – Operations and Engineering: South African National Antarctic Program (2013 to 2022)


Farewell gathering at SAEON Egagasini Node end of April 2023

Message from the SAPRI Team:  

Even though Nish was with SAEON and SAPRI for only 9 months, he left a great legacy and managed to really ramp up the operations within SAPRI. He has a fountain of knowledge on Antarctica and Islands, DFFE, the S.A. Agulhas II and supply chain management, yet he still has a great sense of humour and commitment to action in the face of bureaucracy.

Nish, fair winds and following seas, we have the watch (although might ring you every now and then!).


SAEON Egagasini Node and SAPRI Team (L-R) Back: Simoné Louw (Node Administrator), Laura Braby (Postdoctoral Research Fellow), Saffiya Seddick (Seamap Coordinator), Juan-Jacques Forgus (Technician), Nicole du Plessis (Science Officer), Arno Botha (PhD Student), Zach Smith (Systems Developer), Nkululeko Memela (Operational Ocean Modeller); (middle) Lara Atkinson (Offshore Marine Scientist), Jennifer Veitch (Numerical Ocean Modeller), Anne Treasure (SAPRI DPS Node Manager), Anche Louw (SAPRI Digital Marketing and Communications Manager), Daneeja Mawren (Postdoctoral Research Fellow); (front) Juliet Hermes (SAEON Egagasini Node Manager and SAPRI Manager), Nish Devanunthan (Former SAPRI Operations Coordinator) and Thomas Mtontsi (Science Engagement Officer).


Feature Image: Nish Devanunthan at the South African National Antarctic Expedition Station, SANAE IV. 

Anche Louw, South African Polar Research Infrastructure (SAPRI DPS Node), 04 May 2023 

© South African National Antarctic Programme • Managed and administered by Antarctic Legacy of South Africa • Photo Credits
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