Saturday, November 26, 2011

39 - Bit more on the trip south, Resupply and a Hagg ride


Hello friends,

Still a little behind where I am at, however I don't want to overload you with too much this early in the season. SO I thought I would start with a couple things I left off last blog and in particular I refer to more ship antics! Firstly I though I would show you all a selection of pics from the bridge taken at night while in the ice. I thought these were cool and think they captured the moment well.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Tom Luttrell
Pic Tom Luttrell

Motoring through the ice, hearing the ice rubbing against the hull and having the massive spot lights on was kind of freaky. Think not knowing exactly where we were in relation to the massive ice bergs that only hours earlier had been all around us. The ship’s crew were calm and collected as they had a secret weapon that the Titanic didn't have, radar.

We also had a Bob......................what’s a Bob you might ask. Well Bob is out Canadian Twin Otter Pilot or twatter as we call them and he did a rec flight directing us to the leeds in the ice. Leeds is where there is open water and where the ship travels fastest. Here is a pic Bob took of us when he did his fly over.
Pic Bob Heath

Well enough of that moving on now to resupply. We finally pulled in on Tuesday well pulled within 10km of station which was 6km too far. Problem was that we were both in hard ice and also we didn't want to damage the ice to much as we had heavy loads to move over it. So after a gentle 24 hours pushing through it we finally made it. However by that stage i had been flown off by chopper to get signed off of all the machines that i was to be driving through resupply.

Resupply here is very different to Casey, much much easier. As the ship parks in the ice no barge is needed and the containers can be lowered off the ship directly onto the waiting trucks but why don't you see for yourself. The video your about to watch is one i did while driving the crane. Horse AKA David Barringhaus driving the truck and young Timmy New dogging me on the crane.

Enjoy.............

video
Video Michael Goldstein

Resupply finished and 800,000 litres of SAB(Special Antarctic Blend) fuel transferred which unlike Casey can be done simultaneously as cargo opps, RTA (Return To Australia) cargo loaded and the ship was turned around 2-3 day early. We on the other hand took some well earned rest from a massive effort from all involved, which is all of the station. I didn’t even see the ship turn around and take off I was that buggered I was too busy studying the back of my eye lids.
Wednesday the 16th Rowdy had arranged a little trip to the Sørsdal Glacier 


Pic AAD web site

The red outline is the Sørsdal Glacier and the blue circle is where we stopped..........

The Sørsdal Glacier is a glacier about 15 km wide, flowing WNW and terminating in a prominent glacier tongue south of Crooked Fjord and the Vestfold Hills. Discovered and charted in February, 1935, by a Norwegian expedition under Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. Named Sørdsdalbreen after Lief Sørsdal, a Norwegian dentist and a member of the party which landed at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills. (AAD web site)

Also this obviously means back in the old days they held their dentists in high regard too don't you think!!!!!!! Anyway was a very nice ride down there and here is a little video of that trip.........

video
Video Michael Goldstein

The were a couple other pics and some that were worthy of a little more of a highlight here so............below is a pic is looking at the ice cliffs of the Sørsdal Glacier

Pic Michael Goldstein

One of the things you have to do is drilling the sea ice to ensure the quality of ice and thickness. Here is Rowdy doing the easy way.................with a battery drill attached to the ice drill!

Pic Michael Goldstein

That's a 1m drill bit and there was much more ice under foot than that.

Pic Michael Goldstein

On an island near where we parked there was many Snow Petrels who have begun to nest or were about to nest. Here is one I caught in the air.

Pic Michae Goldstein

And several i caught on the ice resting...............

Pic Michael Goldstein

Looking at the side of the glacier you can see the crevasses and how hard it would be to have crossed one when they were first discovering Antarctica.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This little fella is a Adelie penguin who jumped up onto the ice while i was trying to take pics of the lonesome Emperor penguin who didn't want his photo taken. Every time we got ready to take a shot he would turn his back but i did manage to get that one in the video.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This is a little arty one............but it is the ice. For some reason it doesn't seem to freeze smooth like where i was living in Canada on the Great Lakes it is like it snap froze a still moving body of water and that's how it stayed till it eventually melts out.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This one was the last burg we saw before heading back to station and as you can tell its dusk, at around 11pm but it was perfect timing as far as i was concerned.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Around the wharf area is a wallow for Elephant seals. During resupply the weather was nice and warm and there was a good melt already set into the area. Normally there isn’t much of a smell as the air is so unpolluted here. HOWEVER anywhere downwind from a penguin rookery and now I’m learning about Elephant seal wallows. It started smelling like a old wet smelly German Sheppard.

On our way home we come up off the sea ice and we were greeted by one lonesome male Elle seal, only a month early. Hopefully his mates won’t be too far away as I’m looking forward to getting some good pics of these guys along with the smell once this fella gets a couple to 30 + mates here!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein

Right now the last thing I wanted to talk about is 100 years, yep 100 years on 2nd of December Mawson departed Hobart bound to explore this incredible place. I often think of what they must have gone through compared to our living, sleeping motorized transport, power, and heat and eating arrangements. You’ll notice that this will be popping up in the news more over the coming weeks and here is a couple links I’ve found already.........

Sydney Morning Herald article on members of Mawsons' expedition partyBorder Mail article on members of Mawsons' expedition partyKitting out of expeditioners

Well time for me to get some sleep as i have a big weekend planned sooooooo maybe next blog we might actually be up to date and ill put this trip in.......

Hope you all are well, take care.

Michael

P.S............"Our duty is to proceed...as if limits to our ability do not exist." 
                 Teilhard de Chardin



Saturday, November 19, 2011

38 - A little bit while in Hobart and the Southern Ocean..............


Hello friends,

Not to fear I am NOW here and let me tell you what a ride getting here.  The forced holiday that I needed as my time in Hobart was filled with much to do and many late nights.  Firstly I better apologise for my previous blog entry as it was rushed towards the end. My intentions were to get the first entry done and published before I got onto the ship but as all good intentions better things beckoned and I got up to mischief instead of dutifully doing what you all would do......well most of you anyway. Secondly i also better apologize for taking my sweet time in getting this the first blog up but better actually do some work and its been a busy as normal resupply. More about that in the next blog though........
So I better tell you what I can of what I got up to in Hobart then hadn’t I. On the 25th of September I departed the Gold Coast bound for Hobart. Now my start date for the Division wasn’t till the 17th October so what did I arrive so early for you might ask. Well a coxswains ticket is what brought me to town so early. The division put me through a commercial boating course with enables me to drive boats down south.  
Doing the boating course was one thing but  the division wouldn’t put me up, soooooooo that’s where a buddy from last season Kenny and from this point forward will be known as “The Boss man” comes into the equation.  “The Boss Man” kindly accepted to put up with me for 3 weeks while I was doing my course which only meant I needed transport. Queue Rowdy, now I know that if you don’t remember this name from last season you’ll be happy to know that by the end of this season you will. Rowdy half way through last season at Casey got a winter at Davis, sooooooo he had his car in Hobart and I unfortunately had to drive around in it.
That picture was taken when I got back last season where I again utilized Rowdys ride where i chauffeured mum and dad as they had come to town to welcome me back.
3 weeks and what I initially thought was going to be a walk in the park ended up being very interesting and edumacationable. Never though there was much more than knowing where you were and how to drive the boat you’re in, in the conditions you’re in, I was wrong. The first week besides being my birthday in the middle of the week was 5 days of a course called Coxswains Deck. In this course you learn about what commercial shipping day shapes (the shapes they display to indicate what they are doing), night lights (of which I though port and starboard and a stern light were the only ones), sound signals, flags, and laws. PASSED but wow a lot to learn.

Friday night Wendy arranged a little birthday bash at my favourite Greek restaurant called Mezethes in Salamanca with many of my friends who were in town and who work at the Division. Thanks Stus, wicked food and horribly potent after dinner shots, your a champ.
The following week I had the first 3 days off where I caught up with friends, organized my econ (baggage to be sent south) and was kitted. Kitting is the term we use for being issued with our clothing down south.  We get issued with thermals, PPE, shell clothing (windproof uninsulated gear) Carhart gear (not windproof but insulated work outers) , balaclavas, hats, a variety of gloves, Snow and normal boots, the usual work shirts and pants.  This process can take up to 1 ½ to be done depending on how many people are being kitted at the same time. But you have to make sure it all fits well as there is no shop to run down to once you’re south if something doesn’t fit.
Later that week was another course called “Elements of Shipboard Safety” which was fun. We learnt about all the safety devices on board a commercial ship. This also included going to the local public INDOOR swimming pool and learning how to deploy, get into and right a life raft. Followed by a day learning about fire fighting with a pyromaniac. 18 people in the course and 60 litres of fuel.

The following week was two courses, engineering (how to problem solve a fault in a diesel engine) and navigation. Engineering was simple due to both the amount of time I have spent around boats and heavy machines. Navigation was lots more involved than I initially thought but in the end I passed all, happy days.

Sunday the 16th October everyone started arriving and the Rowdy’s green machine turned into a taxi by picking up some of the boys who were now arriving to start work at the Division on Monday the 17th October. Also the Division accommodation kicked for me in and to Kenny’s happiness I mover out and into it.   

 Pic:  Dave (Horse) Barringhaus
Many of the guys who I had been down with before were also staying there so it felt like home even if it was for a week. Monday, first day of work and because I had been in a couple times in the past three weeks it felt like I had started weeks ago but as every year inductions had to be done and all the boxes ticked. That arvo my flatmate moved in, my good old mate The Zen Master Brett. Brett is at Casey this year but we were lucky enough to be rooming together.
alot of fun we learnt how to look after the fuel lines while the ship is refueling over water (like at Casey), navigate through kelp beds and how the different IRB's (Inflatable Rescue Boat) and RIB's (Ridged Inflatable Boats).

Boating course over and Hobart City Council held a reception for expiditionars heading south this season. Was a very nice night and the party continued at Customs House which is one of the traditional pubs that we drink in before getting on the boat. However we were a night early........................sooooooooooooo after pre-departure training which was on Saturday where the voyage management talk about the specifics of the boat and we get onto the boat for our inductions which include getting into a immersion suit................fun and sexy what do you think???

Pic Michael Goldstein

So after a very big night 3pm we loaded up onto the ship and with a few  people waving us off and yes i know who wasn't there your names have been noted for future reference we through the ropes and took off.

Here is a little video i put together of that........ (after is has started playing in all of the videos there is a button in the right hand corner of the video that will make it full screen.........to exit that press ESC)

video
Video : Michael Goldstein

Now thought i would put a tour video together on the ship as i was kinda board and thought you might be interested in what the alternative to flying down is like.............Those of you who i have been south with before might remember one of the stars or two of the people who show up in this, one of them now works on the ship.....

video
Video : Michael Goldstein

So we took off and for some it was the last time we saw them for some time. One poor guy got sea sick that night and we didn't see him for about 2 weeks of the 17 day journey, soooooooooo happy i don't get sea sick or i wouldn't have been able to get the video footage i got for you all!!!

video
Video : Michael Goldstein

At one point it did get bad so i thought i would put my trusty GoPro out on the trawl deck on a mount and leave it. Was VERY impressed with what i managed to catch the happenings out there and more happy that i wasnt there when it happened!!!!

video
Video : Michael Goldstein


So I cant exactly remember when we went into the ice but it was a bit of a shock to the system. Suddenly the ship stopped rocking and there was noises from the ice rubbing up against the hull. Think this one is one of my better video editing efforts mind you this was the first one i started working on and i think i probably spend 10 hours on it!!! Not much else productive to do on the boat other that edit video and work in the kitchen!!

Video : Michael Goldstein

This one is a little later when we started going into the hard ice and how difficult the ship had at times to get thought it.................

So i was working on another video i might have finished for next entry on King Neptune. Well thanks to some friends at the Div well several friends actually i got well and truly King Neptuned!!!

My first season i flew in and out. Second i flew in but boat out and there was a King Neptune ceremony on that voyage home but for some reason my name was missed. I was there and i was ready but for reasons that excape me i missed out. BUT not this time, i did have a incling that it was going to be extra special attention to me but there was a couple others that were in the same boat as me SO it was evenly shared out!! To prove to the many that i have now been granted access to sail the Southern Oceans here is a pic.........

Pic Tom Luttrell

Lots of fun..................but Wendy my dear remember if you ever happen to travel on the ship south payback will be SWEET!! LOL

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo we finally made it on day 16 well kinda made it. Still needed to put the ship in position for resupply. Ice thickness needed to be 1.7m for some of the new machines we were getting particularly the crusher at 30t. This meant that it took about 12 hours to move about 1km carefully braking the ice as not to fracture the edges that we would be working on.

Final position as seen from station....................




Anyway i think that with all those videos that should be enough for this entry





Pic Tom Luttrell


Here I am working hard...............................

Pic Michael Goldstein

Well here it is I'm finally here with resupply and some real work about to start!!!!!!!! Yea i know first time this year and i know your jealous................................

Keep tuned next blog will be a little resupply seeing Rowdys long locks and settling into a new  station. 

Take care

Michael


P.S..................... "I dream for a living."
                          Steven Spielberg