With a university degree in Antarctic science, Leading Seaman Tanya Maksimovic knew exactly what do when confronted by an elephant seal taking a nap on the road to Davis Station in Antarctica.

The hydrographic systems operator was on deployment at the time.

“We are always respectful of wildlife, so when a huge elephant seal decides the road at Davis Station is a good place to sleep, you just have to wait and it could be a couple of hours before you can get your vehicle out,” Leading Seaman Maksimovic said.

Leading Seaman Maksimovic’s studies in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering and maths) also extended to geology.

While many with a university education choose the officer career path, she said joining Navy as a highly skilled sailor was something she was glad she did, inspired by her father who served for 20 years.

“It is a great job. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, and it’s good to see so many women pursuing STEM careers,” Leading Seaman Maksimovic said.

“I have a role that is so important on a daily basis and has an end game day-to-day. 

“If we are charting something for a purpose, such as checking safe landing sites for vessels during a humanitarian assistance disaster relief situation, then we have to do it and we have to do it right. I like that element to the job.”

Elephant seals at Davis Station in Antarctica.

Deployable Geospatial Support Team 4 in the Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit offers Leading Seaman Maksimovic and other specialists the opportunity to work in Antarctica and other parts of the world.

She and her teammates agree it’s the places you go and people you meet that are the highlights of the job.

“We travel a lot and we go to some amazing remote places because we are the ‘deployable’ team,” Leading Seaman Maksimovic said. 

“I never thought I’d be looking up at the green and purple skies during an Aurora in Antarctica, but it happened and was an unreal experience.” 

For more information about a careers as a hydrographic systems operator in the Royal Australian Navy, visit: https://www.defencejobs.gov.au/jobs/navy/hydrographic-surveyor

Leading Seaman Tanya Maksimovic, left, and Able Seaman Jodie Dickers in their Antarctic uniform.