Saturday, January 11, 2014

60 - Field Training "General Trades" style.............

Hello Friends,

well here we are its now 2014 so happy new year to all those I didn't manage to get in touch with. It was a fairly normal New Years as far as they go down South and not really going to go on too much about it other than to say it WAS a big night and no I didn't have a hangover, mainly due to the fact I slept through it I'm sure!! Have a look at previous years HERE along with HERE TOO and compare to this years and those of you who have seen me in previous years will probably agree this years was the tamest!!

Below our fearless boss man BSS (Building Services Supervisor) and DSL (Deputy Station Leader) Dave getting almost too much into character!!! Think he is a frog maybe.........


Hy Vis but damm I look cool..........even if I must say so myself.


Young Jim arrived at the party and said proudly who do you think I am............ well I thought about it and said...................Mr Magoo.................I was wrong apparently he was Dr Livingston.


John the resident sparky pulling off the chrome dome Dr Evil almost too well


Fridgy as a ginger pirate...........well I'm sure there was at least one of them!!!


SO.......

Field Training, its an important box that needs ticking if you have a need to get out in the field in both Antarctica and Macca. This unfortunately took sometime to complete due to the fact that our arrival was late pushing us back to arrive later than first thought. Then the three that were last in getting that box ticked weren't high on the priorities as we didn't have a need for work to get it done meaning that when it was time it fell over the xmas new year period. However I can now tell you we are now Macca field trained. Not really much different as far as whats involved other than the mode of transport. Here its foot and 30-35 km of it we did too I might add.

Saturday afternoon we departed for Gadgets Gully the first hurdle and its a warm and friendly name but believe me its a sadistic quasi friend but after an hour of climbing with 11kg on your back and being somewhat unfit and look down at where you've come its quite a sense of accomplishment.


Below is a good pic that gives you a small idea of what its like to climb.........

Pic: Vicki Heinrich

About half way up we noticed some "Sooties" nesting and below  and let me tell you they are a amazing animal!!!!!! Im sure to add more in future postings......

Pic: David Hawley

So Macca isn't quite what I expected up on the plateau, I guess I thought it would be a little more shrubby on top but its very low lying plants are very beautiful.........

Pic: David Hawley

Michael is a happy chappy after finally being let out in the field and it was a beautiful day for a stroll even if it was a late start!!!!

Pic: David Hawley

Some of the amazing plants that are coming back after being devastated by rabbits all over the island........

 Pic: Michael Goldstein
Dense Cushion Plant

  Pic: Michael Goldstein

Cushion plant

  Pic: Michael Goldstein


Up close and personal with the cushion plant...........

  Pic: Michael Goldstein


Its growing anywhere even up the track markers..........

  Pic: Michael Goldstein

Brown growing thingie............

 Pic: Michael Goldstein

Green pretty thingies............

Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Beautiful flower on another green thingie.......

Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Tiny little flowers on another green thingie............

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Very picturesque view up on the plateau..............

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich
 Pic: Vicki Heinrich
 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Pretty enough to keep a smile on my dial............

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

A view of the west coast looking towards where we would be spending the night...........

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich
 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Bauer Bay field hit...................the only field hut

Pic: David Hawley
Pic: David Hawley
Pic: David Hawley

The Bauer Bay field hut is pretty much the same as those on the continent with the exception of RAPS.........more about that in a minute. As you can see comfortable sleeps four.

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Sitting down for dinner and a favourite in the field here and I'm still wondering why. Fray Bentos or in normal speak.........pie in a can! Now it didn't look that nice but actually wasn't too too too bad really.

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Mind you the pantry was well stocked..........

Pic: David Hawley

What goes in must come out right............now in the field on the continent we use a double bag method and take it back to station. Here we utilise the ocean currents and a shovel without going into depth it could be fun right, they do say a picture says a million words!!! 

 Pic: David Hawley

Mind you while I was doing my morning business i did run upon this little guy. A Leopard Seal and its a little far away from home. This guy is normal to see in Antarctica as they are the alpha predator but seeing them here is not so common as they normally live on the ice. Taking the morning ritual next to him is a first though!!!

 Pic: David Hawley

He looks like he is having a quite a rest as he probably has traveled 1500 nautical miles.

 Pic: David Hawley

Good pic of the west coast on a calm day...........


  Pic: David Hawley

So after a good nights sleep, for me anyway, thankfully Fridgy remembered to bring ear plugs for the others. We departed Bauer Bay and started for Brothers Hut.......you can just make it out but the sign post on the track to Brothers.........


  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

Brothers Hut goggle egg where we would be spending the night.........in the background there is a tourist ship from Heritage tours with just over 70 tourists on board.....

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

We were all a little shattered from the day before and the walk we had just done.

  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

We crossed paths with a couple of the MIPEP guys that I talked about in previous blogs but here are their hunting dogs. 


  Pic: Vicki Heinrich


  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

RAPS or Remote Area Power Supply..........this is a fully self contained unit that is capable of generating power from wind, solar as well as petrol generator. All this along with being able to fly, yep fly its designed with weight in mind so that it can be sling loaded under a chopper!


  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

So normally on the second night of field training you would be recovering in the hut, make dinner and sleep. On this occasion though the tourists were on the beach and as there was a couple hours left in the day I thought I would loosen the legs a little and have a walk down to where they were. The other guys, Fridgy and Vicky thought they would sleep. Well that wasn't a good move as when I got to where the tourists were I learnt that we would be going out to the ship for dinner, NOT A NORM. This is where the field training for general trades comes in. Dinner for us was was a choice of pork belly or venison.

 Pic: David Hawley
 Pic: David Hawley

Also a nice cool Russian beer went down a treat.............BIG SMILE.

  Pic: David Hawley

BIG SMILES all round...........

  Pic: David Hawley

But the Venison was very nice.............and the cheese cake didn't hang around long enough to have a photo taken, both times it was in front of me, yes i had two pieces!!!!

  Pic: David Hawley

Then there was the walk on the beach to help us settle our dinner!!!

Pic: Vicki Heinrich

And a good sleep...........

  Pic: David Hawley

After a good sleep we departed for the long trip home however this time it wasn't the slog up the plateau but a walk on the beach. Harder than it sounds I should say though as the beaches are not sandy but rocky and very easy to twist an ankle. When you have scenes like below its not so hard now is it!!!

Royal penguin rookery......

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

A Tasmanian Parks Ranger told me there was about 11,000 breading pairs in this one......

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

And like all rookeries there is always a Skua looking on for an easy dinner......

  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

A little bit further down the beach we found this baby Giant Petrel just sitting there waiting patiently for food........

  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

King Penguins........

  Pic: Vicki Heinrich

This is an old hut no longer used......apparently an old engine crate transformed. I think staying there these days sleep wouldn't be one thing that would come easily as these guys make a little more noise than me snoring.......


   Pic: Vicki Heinrich
Pic: Michael Goldstein

Walking along the beach it was easy to forget that we were actually on training. I came onto these Royal penguins and went onto my knees and they came running over pulled out my camera and started snapping.........not afraid but inquisitive little guys.

 Pic: Vicki Heinrich

This is the good ones I got.........

  Pic: Michael Goldstein

   Pic: Michael Goldstein

In the background you'll notice the old digesters this is one of the areas where they produced a massive amount of penguin oil. Up that gully which a little stream that runs there is a MASSIVE Royal Penguin Rookery and we weren't allowed to go to but this was ideal for the oilers as they walked past the door to the processing plant. Found a good article on this place have a look HERE. 

   Pic: Michael Goldstein

Well here we are at the end of another mammoth blog......hope you've made it this far without falling asleep. One more thing you might find interesting the Australian Antarctic program this year included  some deep field work that i know a couple involved with. I found a blog being written by someone out in the field to give you a little bit of a better idea of what great white hell it can be and what they are doing......Have a look HERE.

Other than that i don't really have too much more for you. Its currently Sat 11 in the PM its blowing its preverbal off out there. West coast is getting hammered with 5m swells and I don't think ill be going on that walk tomorrow that i really wanted to do. Maybe one day next week.

Enjoy


Michael


P.S........."Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all
             they need is one reason why they can." 
             Mary Frances Berry