Sunday, December 25, 2011

43 - Tourists the third Christmas in Antarctica..................


Well hello again,

Been a couple crazy days here in the lead up to Christmas's and as I eluded to in my last blog we were immediately expecting a tourist boat the KK or Kapitan Khlebnikov.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Well the KK arrived as planned however they pick a very ordinary day to come ashore as winds that day were gusting to 45 knots or 83kph. She parked in exactly the same place as the AA (Aurora Australis) did when she was in town on our resupply which was about 2km off station. You can still see the roads that had been built for the vehicles to run on in the ice.

Anyway 12 people including myself put our hands up to act as tour guides for the day, Johnny (AKA Jumpin Johnny a fellow Gold Coaster and chippy that i had been down with on my first season), Laser Dave a wintering Lidar scientist and myself took the first group. I will talk about Lidars in a future blog but for now lets keep on tr tack with the story.

Talking in the wind was difficult but the looks on all the faces of the tourists was great especially one. Vic was one of the tourists in our group and he had a particularly interesting story. 1976 I was three but Vic was on his way down here to winter as a cook.

 Pic of a pic by Michael Goldstein
All around the LQ (Living Quarters) there are pictures of the winterers since we landed here and this is the 1976 wintering group. Front right holding the dog Nina is Vic.

 Pic Vic Wett

Here is a pic of Vic while he was here in 1976. We were lucky enough that he brought some of his pics from his winter and the expeditionars got a little presentation from Vic as what the station was like back then.
Pic Vic Wett 

In Vics time the MV Nella Dan was the vessel that the Antarctic Division used. Vic would have more than likely been on V2 and unfortunately there are no SITREPS but you can see the dates of this voyage HERE. This ship 11 years later would ground itself during a resupply to Macca (Macquarie Island) and there are several documents I found on the wrecking of the Nella Dan and this one is a first hand account of the
HERE while this one is  preliminary investigation report on its grounding HERE. You can also have a look at all the vessels that the Australian Antarctic Division have used over the years by clicking HERE you'll see the list of ships on the left.

You'll notice on the side of the ship there is a yellow thing, well this is a LARC an amphibious vehicle that was use in the resupply of the stations and still is today at Macquarie Island.

Pic Vic Wett

A LARC hard at work bring in the years food, building materials and so on into station. LARC's were extensively used in the resupply of all of Australian Stations and still get used today HERE is an article giving a little of the history about the use of the LARC's by the Div.

Pic Vic Wett

This in 1976 was almost the entire station..............

Pic UNKNOWN
And today..............................with the red circle show where the old station was!!! Sorry to digress, i seem to do a bit of that don't i but just in case you were interested as to why Davis is called Davis have a look HERE.


Pic Vic Wett

Nothing like that has happened to us this season but getting blizzed in dose happen!!!!!!!!


Pic Vic Wett

When Vic was here in 1976 the main job that was being done was what is now called EPH (Emergency Power House). Above is a pic of them building it.

Pic Michael Goldstein

The EPH today..............................and I do mean today as i only just got back from taking that picture!!!

Pic Vic Wett
Nina the Husky and also the name of our bar down here. Nina was the first to be returned home after her working days. Before then the dogs when they reached retirement age they were destroyed but Nina ended up in Adelaide and here is a article in "The Citizen - Ottowa" where a couple of her pups ended up.
HERE is a pdf that I found and its the "Dog report" from Mawson Station in 1961 and it gives you quite an insight into how much reliance the early expeditionars had on the dog teams for survival here.

So after taking the first groups around station they were taken back into the LQ (Living Quarters) for a talk from our scientists about the programs we are running on station this season. More on that one another blog!!

Cup of tea, visit the post office ohhh yea we do have one of them but only mail coming in is with the voyages and the occasional tourist ship that sometimes takes it for us.

Pic Michael Goldstein


Jo our resident Deiso come Postie dressed to the 9's in a old Ambos dress uniform. Don't know where the Ambo's uniform comes in but he dose look the very professional and he did get quite a reaction from me when i saw him in it!!!

 After all that they then had the 2km walk back to their ship. No choppers could fly due to the high winds.
Pic Michael Goldstein

The tourists walking back to the KK....................

KK soooooooooooooooooooooo the wind had dipped to 20-25 knots tide was low which gave me and Laser Dave the perfect opportunity to drive a hagg out and picked up the cargo and to get a couple close ups on the KK.

 Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Don't think i would like to be on this big girl in a force 11 or 12 which are common down here.....................i digress again but Casey has been in a resupply for the last 2 weeks and due to the weather they have been having the poor guys are still going. HERE is their weekly news letter to explain whats been happening there and the ships SITREPS.

One of the buildings on the tour was this one................

Pic Michael Goldstein

This hut is a historic hut that was originally at Heard Island but moved to Davis a little while ago, HERE is a web site explaining Heard Island and geography.HERE is a google search on Heard Island Images. HERE is a web page on FQA's of the island and a MAP relative to its position to Australia/Antarctica. A map of the island itself can be found HERE. There is also another web site i found on the huts at Heard Island HERE.

Anyway i digress and all in all it was a unreal day especially talking to Vic which was for me anyway the highlight thus far. Mind you I'm sorry to say Vic, I'm sure something will be better than that soon, it always dose down here!

 Yesterday we had a xmass breakup and Summer Tradies pic. Every season the Summer Tradies pic is taken normally with the major project they have been working on for the season. This season one of the projects we have been working on is a new boat shed and below is a short video timelaps of this break up party and the pic that will be

video
 Video Michael Goldstein

Well think i have BS'd on enough for this blog and I'm now thinking that it is currently Christmas day back home. I am now feeling quite home sick but don't tell Mum and Dad that can be our secret. Talking to them today it sounds like there is going to be quite a bash on at there house and for the third year in a row I'm going to miss it!

I do love it down here but it is at times like this as much as the people here really do become a second family the real one are the ones that i miss the most. Doesn't feel l Christmas as we don't get bombarded with advertising, no night well very little anyway, I choose not to even read the newspapers which only depress me with all the misery in the world.

So to finish up I hope that you've all been good boys and girls and that Santa brought you all the presents you deserve, Happy Hanukkah, seasons greeting and for the rest have a nice break.

Take care,

Goldie

P.S............................Christmas... is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that
                                  one carries in one's heart..
                                  Freya Stark

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

42 - Quad bikes and station life at Davis..............


Hello Friends,

Yes I'm running late been having a relaxing weekend and wasn't really in the mood for spending hours in front of my computer but concentrating on the backs of my eyelids and minimizing the size of my movie collection was done with much enjoyment. This was however done on the back of a week that disappeared so quickly that I'm still shaking my head as to where it went. Saturday i was given the opportunity to head off station on the quad bikes for a little but of a cruise. So without further ado check this one out, sit back and enjoy..............................

video

Video Michael Goldstein

Well tomorrow we are having something a little different happening and a first for me. The Kapitan Khlebnikov a Russian polar class ice breaker bringing in tourists will be here for the day bringing in some 100 tourists.

The tour has been arranged by a company called Quark Expeditions and they have a couple by the looks of it on their books for next year if i make you too jealous you can always come down here that way...........BUT be prepared i think the tourists that are arriving tomorrow have paid in the order of $50,000 per bed in twin share. That being said they have seen a almost all the stations on this side of Antarctica with the packed schedule that they are following.

So as this week has much entertainment in store for you and for me i might keep this one short and put another quick one up later in the week and another for Christmas.

Till next time!!!


Goldie



P.S....................... "Life is not so much a matter of 'finding' ourselves as it is a matter of
                          making ourselves."
                          Alan Loy McGinnis






Saturday, December 10, 2011

41 - King Neptune one last time and Uncle Bob and his Twatter...


Well Hello people,

Time for another blog and I'm thinking to start with this time I'm going to go back a little in time to when I was still on the ship and show you a video that I have finally finished on King Neptune. I had mentioned in Blog 2 that I had been working on a video of the Neptune ceremony but LONG STORY. 

I'll start by explaining this long story with something some people would have never in a million years though i would EVER say. I'm going to ditch the PC and change to a Mac when I get home. I have been having so many issues editing that videos and in particular this one of King Neptune that its has turned me off PC's. I had been fighting it for the last couple months but now its decided needs to be done. But to cut the long story short from 9pm last night to nearly 1am with a little creative thinking i managed to get it done. All this for you Mrs Snoozy, the things and the lengths I go through for you..............so here it is the LONG awaited King Neptune video.


Video Michael Goldstein

Jumping forward, back to this week on Tuesday Francis and myself were given the opportunity to go up in the Twatter. No I'm not swearing at you a Twatter is what the Canadians call a Twin Otter. This season we are using a Canadian Company by the name of Kenn Borek who supply a majority of the countries planes down here. Bob and Al are our trusty pilots who we meet last season when they were called in to cover the CASA 212 plane that went down. So Bob has done about a million seasons south then he goes home and fly up in the Arctic too.

Anyway getting a little off track.............Tuesday we get our stuff together and make our way down to the sea ice ski way where the plane would be landing still not totally sure where we are going. The plane was on its way back from Beaver Lake which is the other side of the Amery Ice shelf. Last week Jumpin John Harris went over there to do a little clean up and he did a little story about his adventure which you can see HERE.

So we were out on the Skiway waiting for the plane to arrive back from the same place bringing more rubbish back to station with the dieso duo of Jo and Jose on board. After unloading the plane into a sling as it could be slung under a chopper and taken back to station we loaded up 5 drum's of fuel for future flights to go on further. Sansom Island here we come here is a little vid of the flight.......

video

Video Michael Goldstein

Here are a couple pics from that flight that i though would be with seeing again..........

 Pic Michael Goldstein

Little bit of open water

 Pic Michael Goldstein 

Nice burgs grounded on one of the many banks there are around here.

  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

The canvassed edge of the Amery Ice shelf there is lots of interesting reading here..........
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

These ice caves were incredible to see.............They are MASSIVE too, Bob (twatter pilot) thinks the chopper would be able to fly through them they are that big!!!!

  Pic Michael Goldstein

The Xue Long (CHINARE Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition i think???) parked up in the ice as we were doing their resupply at Zhong Shan which is located about 100km South East of here and 2km from Progress 2 (Russian) both stations are maned year round.

  Pic Michael Goldstein

 Pic Michael Goldstein

Here is the summer only Russian station we flew over again and youll see the red box is the one ive blown up and the yellow ones are more of the same tracked vehicles.

  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

Russian fuel cans I do hope with their injection of money into their Antarctic endevours that they spend some on clean up!!! Same thing red box is the one ive blown up.

  Pic Michael Goldstein
 Pic Michael Goldstein

Some of you might have heard about the accident we had down here. My heart goes out to her firstly that this is one place that a researcher loves to come to as the place is so untouched. Secondly so much work is done in the lead up to an expedition like the one she was on in and incredible location in the Prince Charles Mountains only to have it cut short by an injury.

Injurys down here be it serious or not quickly become life threatening by the nature of the climate we are faced with everyday. Lyeing injured on the gound back home not much is going to happen. However here the ground sucks the warmth out of you VERY quickly and depending on temprature and wind conditions you become hypothremic. Add to this you could be 3-4-5-6-7 hours away from any decent medical facilities the situation becomes dire. The evac from Prince Charles Mountains was done in the Twatter and is somewhat covered HERE right at the bottom of the page.
Not going to dribbel on any more today think ive given you all enough to keep you all quiet for another week.

So untill then...............................


Take care,

Goldie




P.S.................... "Being broke is a temporary situation. Being poor is a mental state."
                        Mike Todd



Saturday, December 3, 2011

40 - Settling in, A tour of the ice burgs and a seal of approval.......


Hello friends,

I know I haven't been as regular as last season but as this is all new to me I'm trying to soak it all in myself. But I am a sharing and well maybe a little caring at times too. So some of you still aren't aware exactly where I am so this blog I thought I would direct you to a map of where Davis Station is compared to Casey Station. CLICK HERE

So today is an important day in the history of Antarctic exploration as today the 2nd of December 1911, 100 years ago Douglas Mawson set sail for an epic journey. While today we live his dream on and explore, in a little more comfort than him, all the scientific secrets that this one of the last true frontiers left. CLICK HERE for the link to the centenary web site.

Today V2 (voyage 2) departed Hobart bound for Casey Station to drop off expositionars and resupply the station for the next year which coincided with a flotilla commemorating Douglas Mawsons voyage and the GG was there where she awarded the highest Australian Antarctic honour to a Antarctic Marine Biologist Dr Stephen Nicol, and the Master of Aurora Australias Captain Murray Doyle. CLICK HERE for the full story.

While I am on a roll with writing thought I would let you all know about a weekly news letter that we write here on station that normally has stuff in it that I don't cover, as I haven't done it. You might find it interesting though CLICK HERE and it updates normally every week. While I was wed trolling I also found an interesting page on the Div web site about all the interesting educational facts about almost everything CLICK HERE. There is also a couple videos that did last winter about life here, haven't seen them as the Internet is a little slow tonight but take a look and tell me what you think CLICK HERE.

So now let’s get to the fun part, a group including myself and my no so young friend Rowdy went out on a little jollie last weekend to a field hut called Platcha. More info can be found by CLICKING HERE but I will be going there again this weekend so I will put a little more with my own twist next blog. But for now I'm going to put some of the many pics I took on the way there.

First few pics are of a Weddell seal pupping area we went through on the way there. Was amazing as there was at least 70-100 Seals and their pups there and the noise, well Rowdy explains it as they sound like there is a party going on!!

 Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
All around Davis the hills are marked with these interesting rock strata. I don't really understand much about it but i did find THIS while I was scurfing the web. One of the many advantages of having scientists here, other than doing their own science, is answering some of my stupid questions which this isn't one!! LOL
  Pic Michael Goldstein

Here is a couple pic with some different Lichens that grow in our area. Sharon and Jess, some of you will remember Jess from her Moss tour in last seasons blog well Sharon is her supervisor and those of you who were interested in Jess's little talk HERE is a little more about it.
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein

Ice never seems to stop amazing me with all the different colours, textures, designs and shapes.

  Pic Michael Goldstein
  Pic Michael Goldstein
 Pic Michael Goldstein
SO last little thing is a video i quickly put together of our way home through ice burg alley, driving a hagg. ENJOY

video
Vid Michael Goldstein

Well another week gone and where dose the time go. It seems to go too quickly when I'm here, so much to do.

Last thing I wanted to talk about is family. I know I said it last year but this year it’s a little different. I AM THE MOST FORTUNATE KID IN THE WORLD. Not only can I say that I work in the most amazing place in the world but I also have the best parents in the world. It is especially hard for anyone down here when "stuff" is happening at home when your an expo down here as it’s not the communications as the phones work good, but it’s the not being able to hug someone, tell then you'll be there in 5 minutes where the best you can do in reality id 5 months when the ship picks me up. BUT along with BEST job and parents i have the best friends both here and at home. It makes me tear up to think what good fortune i have to be living a life that so few have and many dream of.
So friends I hope this finds you well and know that you all are in my thoughts often!

Take care,
Goldie

P.S.........................A family can develop only with a loving woman as its center.
                               Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel