Monday, February 28, 2011

27 Ice skating excavators, Moss with Jess, Science drinks, Leopard seal carnage and more............

Hello All,

this week as bee a very mixed week with the excitement of the first flight of the season from Wilkins. As per normal though there were a couple cancellations due to bad weather from this end but the runway was now ready. The cancellations did have a flow on effect as Rowdy was unable to work as he had put his work clothes into Warren. Warren is the furnace where food scraps and  kitchen waste are burnt to be sent back to Australia as ash. Not to mention he had also drank all his alcohol to boot...............

Anyway after a couple big nights the plane finally came and picked up all the people the station was dead silent. It was amazing the serenity around here, we were Rowdyless!!! Things aren't the same without him that is for sure. But work goes on and one of the tasks we had this week was to dig a trench under the main road through the ice to put a fibre optic cable through similar to the other one a couple blogs ago. BUT this one was a little different, all you need to ask yourself is..............Have you ever seen s excavator ice skate?

NO well have a look at the video!!

video


Now its time for moss with Jess. I mentioned a couple blogs ago about the moss down here. Well here is Jess one of the Mossies to talk about it and once you have learnt about it and how passionate they are about it it is hard not to feel the same!!

video

Time has been quickly running out on the program i have been working on as 2 of our members were due to be leaving Monday However after finishing work on Saturday we found out that it was moved forward to Sunday which put the pressure on to make sure all the loose ends had been tied up. Not that there was much more to do but it still came as a little bit o a shock. Monday we finished putting the liners down on the two remaining bio piles and it had been decided that on the No: 4 pile (yet to be named officially) that a layer of GAC (Granulated Activated Carbon) was to be layed out before any material was to be put on.......

Here is a short video about that............

video

Very shortly after that video was shoot both piles were 3/4 fulled only waiting on sampling and the secret herbs and spices to be added. But there isn't much to go now before the job will be closed for the season. Its been unreal working so closely with the science program as normally we don't really do much only a little assisting here and there but this season i was in the thick of it all season. As such when the science team decided to hold Friday night drinks we helped and proudly parked the pride of the science earth moving fleet at the front door to the science building for all to see..............


Pic: unknown

But once inside there was a another world and Timmy gave us the tour.............

video
Video: Chris Graham

Some pics from the night....................

                                                                  Pic: Ed Tormey
Al, one of the station plant operators trying one of the "Moss Samples"

                                                                   Pic: Ed Tormey
Dr Bec feeding Tyrone a syringe of something!!

                                                                   Pic: Ed Tormey
                                                                   Pic: Ed Tormey
                                                                   Pic: Ed Tormey

Whops how did that get in here......................Here is Bec the Dr i need to keep a close eye on as she has been known to be a little bit of a clumsy. Well here is the war wound from a fall she had only problem was it was a fall out of bed!!!!


The next video was a presentation to Johan and myself from the "Dirty Crew" that we had been working with which caught both me and Johan totally by surprise.

video
Video: Chris Graham

Its Official..................Dr Professor is born!!!!

                                                                  Pic: Ed Tormey

We even had streets named after us.................well no so much streets but the wall that Johan built and the road i made between the bio piles!!

                                                                  Pic: Ed Tormey

Last week there was a boating trip that captured Antarctica at its most gruesomest. Leopard Seals are one of the Alpha predators in this region. There isn't really much editorial that i can add here other than that's life down here and what the animals must do to survive. If you do have a weak stomach i suggest  that you don't look at these pics and video......................


                                                                        Pic: Tim New

                                                                        Pic: Tim New
                                                                         Pic: Tim New
                                                                        Pic: Tim New


video
Video: Unknown

The purpose of that boating trip was to put out cameras over winter taking pictures of the penguin rookeries for a science program. Don't really know alot about the program but the cameras looked like this........


                                                                         Pic: Tim New
                                                                        Pic: Tim New
The cameras were housed in those boxes with a automatic lens cap that opened only when the shot was about to take place then would close. Solar power would charge the batteries and they were set to take 2-5 shots a day. The rookeries are abandoned over winter from what i understand and being mostly night time the cameras will shut down over this time and start again once the penguins are coming back.

Its kinda ironic that this blog is numbered 27 as that's the amount of people that left us on Sunday. 27 friends departed on the second and the last flight of the season leaving just over 40 and there is a erie silence. Every morning the "Dirty Crew" has a morning meeting on the second floor overlooking the wollow. Every morning Cliff would sit in the wollow and talk with the other guys. Cliff has a voice that well lets say "stands out" and last week without him here is was well very different. Now with all the others gone the mess has been reconfigured to make it more comfortable but not seeing all the people around is a little hard to get use to.

Here is a short video of the bus departing for Wilkins Runway for the last flight..................

video
Video: Johan Mets

So the season is quickly coming to an end and my social calender is filling up so booking for the Dr Professor are going to be limited..................get in quick. I have got many thoughts as to what im going to be getting up to in the off season but i think flying by the seat of my pants is going to be taking a front seat and tell me where to go.

I received an email from Lynda one of my biggest fans.............thanks Lynda i enjoy all your emails!! ***HINT TO MY SLACKER FRIENDS***

Lynda asks: Are you considering doing a winter season way down in the great south land yet??????

Well applying for a season it a annual process and it is basically the same the second and third time as it is the first time. We are employed as non on-going employees of the division. I have put my applications in and for a couple different positions including the one i am doing now this in a effort to get that allusive winter that i so badly want!!!!

Anyway enough for this blog.....................just over 5 weeks to go and its going to fly!!

Enjoy,

Michael


P.S.......................Friends are gods way for apologizing to us for our families
                            Unknown

Monday, February 21, 2011

26 BBQ Antarctic style, Wilkes this season, Bio pile news and much more...........

Hello dear friends,

here we are another week down and not that many to go, its getting to the pointy end and there is many mixed emotions running around in my mind. What to do when i get home is the first one and the second is how am i going to fit when i want to do in!

This past week there wasn't really a hell of a lot happen but that being said when it dose happen it happens all at once. Work this week we reached a mile stone with the excavation being back filled and the first of the bio piles being completed before i was told that it needed to be ripped up again to have its secret herbs and spices in.................and all this after i had made it all beautiful.

Here is one of the holes and in the hole is Bec cleaning out all the nooks and crannies of the contamination.



Dan is also there holding that pole which is actually a GPS. He is plotting the hole so that an accurate map of the excavation can be made. You can also see that red hose, it is feeding compressed air to a air spade which also helped move some of the more finner material out of the hole.


One of Johans inventions, an old track off one of the machines which was used to scrape out some of the finner material and in conjunction with the person using the air spade.


What someone looks like after using the air spade...............................don't know what she was saying as i was laughing too much!


At one point while driving the "Tiny Tim" 5t excavator i turned around to see OLD Timmy what looks like simulating a good fishing yarn!!

video

Friday Maso, one of the other plant operators, decided that we needed to have a BBQ as we hadn't had one in a fair while. So as the weather was turning bad we brought up a small shipping container and put the BBQ into that so we could have it................

It worked a treat and here is Ed giving us the tour......................................................

video

Thought i would have a play with the macro settings on my little point and shoot and i was quite happy with the results........................


Then there was young Tommy he decided to go for a run it that weather. I think he needs his head read!!

Now its Wilkes time....................................and before i get into it too much have a look at the video and also if you didn't have a look at my earlier blog entry HERE there is lots more info there and links to other web sites that are really interesting too..............

video

Tomorrow we are going to have our FIRST flight of the season as the weather seems to have turned a corner and it is getting nice and cold. Last Thursday the melt lake behind the red shed froze around lunchtime and hasn't melted since and for the last 4 days temperatures haven't got above -6c. So all is looking very positive for the first flight. I hope it comes in too as Rowdy might get even more vocal if he gets stuck here if you can believe that. He has been permanently smiling since it was mentioned that he might be going to Davis for the winter. 

He was explaining to me about this seasons hair style. Last season it was a Mohawk, this season it was a duohalke. Mohawk was for one season at Casey this season as he had been here before it was two and now going to Davis he will be going to a Mohawk. Tonight he walked into the bar and he had shaved it all off i guess in preparation to entering civilisation again. Not that they will be ready for him not only will OZ no be ready for him but neither will Davis when he eventually gets there!!

Yesterday the CASA 212 planes that had been here all season (including the damaged one) departed to head home and after a 11 1/2 hour flight made it safely back to Melbourne meaning that one the flight with Rowdy there will also be the CASA engineers in James and Rodger.

Dodge (not a typo) gave me some pic as i needed some fluff to bulk this blog entry up a little which was nice wasn't it.................................

  Pic : Rodger Shulz
  Pic : Rodger Shulz
  Pic : Rodger Shulz
 Pic : Rodger Shulz

Well i know this is a relatively short one compared to my previous blogs but with all the video editing there was trust me there was as much effort put into it.  Thanks Rodger for the fluff shots and very nice ones at that arent they!!
So on that high note i will leave you to your sweltering heat while i am starting to cool down. Hope everyone is fit and well.

Take care,

Michael

P.S.............."Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
                        Albert Einstein































Monday, February 14, 2011

25 Qantas flyover, First goodbyes, yet again more science and a penny for my thoughts........

Hello friends,

well its been a big week all round here and lets start of with what i finished with last week the Qantas flyover. To digress for a moment, but it never ceases to amazing me with the amount of people that have been looking at my blog. 2790 over 24 blogs and although many of you remain silent there is on occasion i do get some emails or messages that are really nice. There is one email that caught me a little off guard to say the least.

Back to the story i last left you with this pic................



So...............after posting that blog never in a million years did i EVER expect to happen what did happen. The next day being Monday i finished work to find a message waiting for me on Facebook. A passenger on the plane had arrived back in Australia and googled - Casey Station Qantas flyover - and guess what my blog popped up. Never in a million years did i think that something as small as a picture could connect two people, it really is a very small world. So in come Edward Hodgson sent me a pic of me probably taken a pic of him. You cant see me but i am there you'll just have to take my word on it..........

                                                                             Pic: Edward Hodgson
You may think the story stops there but no it doesn't. We have a station newsletter that gets read by past, present and the wider Antarctic community. Icy News and last week they put in Edwards picture that he sent me, well from that a scientist sent me an email asking if she could contact Edward in relation to his picture as it highlights the mosses and lichens that she is studying. The mosses and lichens in this area are of great significance as there is only a couple places that they grow and Casey is one of them. Behind the red shed you can see the lichens and at the end of the buildings there is ASPA 135 which is to protect this very important area. More info on the mosses and lichens on the Divisions web site .

While we are on the subject of planes we had our first departures and arrivals of the season last week with the departure of 6 expeditionars and arrivals of the same. So firstly lets say goodbye to the outgoing..........

Here is Tye one of our electricians and Billy one of our FTO's (field training officer)...............Tye wasn't going unfortunately but Billy was.........


Myself and Al........


Most of the "Dirty Crew" minus Bec and the addition of a Kiwi mouth organist Timmy..............


More of the crew.................


The entire station well "Merry Xmass"........thanks Kate


Narelle getting ready to get into the Hagg and get the hell out of here.............


Bye!


Think Dave was a little shocked that they had finally gone!!



 Rowdy made it up the hill to the skiway to welcome the new passengers and take some nice pictures for my blog..............at least he remembered the memory card this time!

                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis
                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis
                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis

What a view from the skiway too huh.............

                                                                 Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis
                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis
                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis
                                                                  Pic: Cliff (Rowdy) Simpson Davis

Ken Borek Air Ltd Basler............Ken Borek is the main Aircraft operators here in Antarctica. The Basler is a DC3 which has had its engines converted from normally aspirated to turbo prop more info can be found HERE.

Just a random shot of our ex fearless leader Narelle getting ready for a "Racking"..............Ive been racked and one of the rules of being "Racked" is not to tell what is involved in a one so in short of you want to know ill preform the ceremony when i get home..............think the Que is going to be long!!
  

Another random one of me and Kate taking our ping pong all serious like...........


This picture I've been waiting for for about 3 months as Amber is a little slack with giving out her pics...............anyway she calls it "tongue and grove"

 Pic: Amber Martyn

Saturday i was rostered on as a Slushi which is a fancy word kitchen hand. Its good fun working in a kitchen serving food to customers that i know every single one. Not only that but the next restaurant is 500km away and not that easy to get bookings at!

So Saturday night we had a theme night which was "fur or feathers" night with the exception of a fue the entire station turned out.....................




There i am at the end dishing up the food.................
Amber the Indian................well they have feathers don't they?
Duck...........................
Beef.........................
Vego..........................
Weirdo..................
The Basler pilots..........yep they are a little strange!

Sunday was a easy day with the exception that one of the more colourful members of our team AKA Dr Kate Mary Christmas fancy pants had been given news that she would be on Basler 2 to Mcmurdo. Me and the other Dirty Crew members thought we would make a little something something for her and this is how we did it......

video

And this is how she received it.................

video

5am yep 5 i cant believe it either but i was up at that time to say my last goodbyes to all the outgoing peoples. So its now 930pm and its been another busy day of science.

I sometimes get so wound up in life down here it is hard to remember life keep on going on back home.  Like in the instance of the birth of one of my best friends first and i am again missing out. Lou i hope you are doing well and i am looking forward in catching up with both you Hayden and Sacha.

Take care and until next week,

Michael

P.S......................................"I'd rather be a failure in something that I love                                            than a success in something that I hate."
                                                      George Burns