Thursday, November 17, 2016

80 - Time quickly running out for the 2015-2016 season.............

Hello friends,

its been a while, I know its been quite busy here and im trying to get this one in before it gets kaotic. So what's been going on you ask, lots and where to start. Now im going to apologize now for what your going to read as its going to seem a little rushed as lots more is going on but ill get to that later.

So i've always wanted to spend a birthday down here but as a summering plant operator that's never going to happen, the only way was to get a winter and now that's happened. Thankfully there wasn't all the candles on the cake as i think 43 of them would have set the fire alarm off.....

Pic Jenn Proudfoot
Pic Jenn Proudfoot


What was terribly exciting about the cheesecake that Leslie made was it also included the last of the lemon rind. It was soooooooooooooooo good.

Pic Jenn Proudfoot
Time here has gone soooooo quickly but I think that is a good thing as if it was going slow then possibly wouldn't be the best place for anyone. The only time for me the days drag a little is on those days that is blowing hard. That being said hard here at Davis is only anything over 30 knots and I think top speed we reached was about 70 knots. Casey and Mawson is where it blows a little worse, i've experienced 101 knots at Casey and that was an experience. Rule of thumb is 1 knot per kg and lets say at 101 im safe. Mind you below are a couple little clips I got to give you an idea.......

video
Vid Michael Goldstein

video
Vid Michael Goldstein

Since the sun has come back it seemed like we were waiting for a very long time for the wildlife to come back. I remember talking to Ali our fearless station leader about it and she mentioned that the penguins come back on the 11th October and said it as though it was a certainty. Well that was a couple weeks before and as it happens we were all together having our winters pic taken for the season to be ultimately hung on the wall with the rest of them and the location was just off station at the foot of an ice berg. Date the 11th October and what did we see.......our first penguin. That being said the "official winter" pic of the crew turned out really nice so here is the 69th A.N.A.R.E. winter Davis Station pic.

Pic Aaron Stanley
Then there was time for a couple hero shots while we were there as well........

Pic Aaron Stanley

Pic Aaron Stanley

Since then when we only saw 5 Adelie Penguins or so they gradually became more and more visible until they were like streams of black ants making their pilgrimage back to the islands they were born at. Dont think you can ever take enough penguin shots but here is some I only took last weekend. This one is a little different as he has a white chin, normally they are black like the one below......

Pic Michael Goldstein
This one was a little different.........

Pic Michael Goldstein
The fethers amaze me........



Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
One of the other jobs that needs to be done weekly is the ice thickness measurements. Chris and Ladge have been doing this all winter since the sea ice came back and normally only one was going out but you need two so me and Chris went a couple weeks ago and at the furthest point we were greeted by 4 Weddell seals sleeping
Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
Chris taking some pics..........

Pic Michael Goldstein
While standing there there was some strange noises. Noises really stand out here so when you hear something (even being as deaf as me) it make you look and the video below and youll see what i mean..........


video
Vid Michael Goldstein

Seeing them sleeping is one thing but I wanted to see the pups which wasnt going to be too far away as many pregnant looking seals were turning up. So me and Paul D went for a little cruise to a place called Walkabout Rocks which is as the most Eastern point of the recreational area and along the way we got what I wanted!!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein
Think this one was quite new too.......

Pic Michael Goldstein

Not only Penguins but also birds have been coming back. Cape Petrels like below have many nesting spots around the traps......
Pic Michael Goldstein
Snow Petrels are an amazing bird and probably my favourite in the flying verity on the continent as well I would think!! They find themselves a crack in a rock and make their nests in. Quiet as anything until you stumble onto them then normally you have the hardest time finding where they are as they are so deep and its so dark that you cant see them. This one was in a photogenic mood I guess!!

Pic Michael Goldstein
There was some nice bergs too.......am looking forward also to get out in the boats again but hoping the sea ice stays in for a fair bit longer still got a few things i would like to do.....like resupply.

Pic Michael Goldstein
The pic below isnt actually a berg but the tongue of the Sørsdal Glacier.....

Pic Michael Goldstein

Haven't really talked about work much but believe me there was lots to do. Totally different pace to the summer pace i'm so use to. Winter is more of a maintenance feel and keeping it all together then the preparation for resupply. Though id shoot a little video of one of my jobs I had to do every three weeks.
video
Video Michael Goldstein

In the last three weeks its been pretty chaotic in getting everything ready for the resupply. Its the first time i've been involved in getting Davis Station ready too but there is much more than just getting the roads ready. We also had to go through every machine and deblizz them. Get the engins going, take them into the workshop to totally melt the snow out of them. Make sure its all running the way they are meant to then get the roads finished. Below is a pic of the Mack truck after we had had the Herman Nelson running on it for a couple hours melting the snow from the engine bay so we could start her. 

Pic Michael Goldstein

Had to pull the drill rig and compressor out too and service it too. Below you can see the compressor and centre of pic all the hoar frost on the air intake after running it for about 20 min to get them into the workshop.......yep it was a little coolish.

Pic Michael Goldstein
Then there was the pushing snow bit and we did a little of that. Here i am pushing a little mountain that i have since heard being called Mount Goldstein and it did end up getting alot bigger by the time i had finished with it. 

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
We had lots of station meetings and in the last couple weeks we were having daily just to keep up with what's happening to stay on top of it. After one meeting we had a video hook up with the incoming summering folk who were at Hobart head office doing their pre-departure briefings. I took a pic of the crew from my perspective and Sharon took one from hers in Hobart.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Sharon L
The it was over.........I woke up on Sunday 6th Oct and wandered down to the workshop to have a play and when i came back for brunch i learnt that there was a twin otter in the air coming from South Pole to us. Mad scramble to get the skiway ready, flagged, the fire sled and gear ready and before we knew it we were plus three and the winter was officially over. I guess is was a soft finish with only 3 but the masses were only a matter of days away now so many were happy with getting only 3 more in.

Pic Michael Goldstein
More snow pushing and getting all the gear ready and it seemed like days and the ship was in sight..........could only make it out as a shadow to begin with and they hovered out there for a day before starting to push in as it was blowing 50 knots on station.........Can you see the ship in the pic below?????

Pic Aaron Stanley
 Nor could I to be honest so Aaron kindly cropped the pic above to show the ship a little clearer.

Pic Aaron Stanley
Im rushing through this Blog a little as i was orrigionally intending to get it done last week but as i said time has gone way too quickly. So your going to have to wait for the next blog and I promice the next one wont be that far away. Ill leave you with this last pic......

Selfie taken by Deveral with a camera we found on the bench which turned out to be Jen Proudfoots

Stay tuned........

Michael

P.S......"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
           Franklin D. Roosevelt US President

Monday, September 26, 2016

79 - Summerer-Winterer-Lingerer, Traverse and a touch of PINK!

Hello Friends,

Well it's now all official I'll be staying on for summer so that means you have another 6-7 months of blogs which should keep you all entertained. Starting out as a Summer Plant Operator, turning into a Wintering Dieso and now i'm jumping the fence again and going back to science. I'll be working on a project with a bunch of guys doing stuff ive never done and i'm really excited about it too also means I wont be a summerer though, I'll be a lingerer or the left overs from winter! LOL

So lets start of with a pano I took on Friday. The moon setting at close to 7:45 am 24 shots stitched into a nice one. The actual file size is 150mb but obviously i've had to shrink it down a little to allow me to put it up here.....




So the weather over the last couple weeks has been from very warm (-10c) to a little cooler (-30c).  The cooler temps make for interesting scenery with the plumes of steam from the MPH (Main Power House) from the generators working to make the power needed to keep us warm. The exhaust steam seemed to hang in the air for a long time.

Pic Michael Goldstein

There is some amazing colours too and even more breathtaking sunrises and sunsets too. This sunrise
we were pleasured by sundogs.

Pic Michael Goldstein.

The sun definitely has some sting now and have already been sunburnt a couple times in the last week, which is the first time Ive seen any colour on my skin in the last 6 months. That sun we have been getting has enough sing in it that its been melting the snow as well through the day and the re-freezing it overnight. This is making it for a rather treacherous walk to work in the mornings. Last week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, three days in a row I had nice little falls and the last one I managed to finally do a little damage in a sprained ankle and twisted my knee a little.


Couple weeks ago we made another trip up to woop woop and got a couple pics from that journey.

Under a Hägglunds on the ice of the plateau.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

All the different designs on the ice....

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein

Looking down into the Vestfold Hills and we were treated with a light covering of fog over them.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Here in front of the Hägglunds it doesn't really look that bad but believe me looks can be deceiving. The sastrugi or lumps in the snow are sometimes up to 1m high and hard packed snow. This made for a very slow trip home and very rough.

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein

Thought that one looked good too very proud to be working for an organization doing wonderful things!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein

This pic was taken with my iphone. I was walking past the ice bar we made sometime ago and someone had put an icicle on it. The wind had polished it and with the sunset in the background reminded me of a pic i saw that a good friend of mine too her winter, thanks Geezer for the idea think its almost as good as yours!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein


Now onto something that's dear to my heart. A little over 2 years ago I lost my mother after a very long battle with breast cancer. It's still very fresh for me and emotions bubble very close to the surface whenever talking about it. 

October for me is a particularly sad time of the year for me as on the 1st of October was my Mother's birthday.  I was at Macquarie Island  at the time I received word that I needed to get home and what the AAD did to get me back home was something my family is very thankful for.

October 1st is also the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, in 2016 it is estimated that16 084 new cases of breast cancer will diagnosed, 150 men and 15 934 women (data from https://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-statistics). To increase the awareness the super special guys I work with at the Australian Antarctic Division Social Club have been working very hard with BreastScreen Tasmania to unveil a new piece of kit for us down here at Davis Station Antarctica, the Pink Hägg.

With the support of BreastScreen Tasmania one of our beloved Hägglunds has undergone a makeover and is now PINK! The boys down in the AAD workshop have been working hard to get it ready for its unveiling at the AAD Pink Breakfast.


The Hägglund will travel down to Antarctica on the Aurora Australis, hmm just a bit of a colour clash there with pink and orange, thankfully there are black tracks in between the two. But that being said I’ve done an artist’s impression of the AA in pink and not the orange we are all use to ....... What do you think???????

Artist impression Michael Goldstein
Another Artists impression but the same artist Michael Goldstein

Before it leaves on its adventure south those at the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston will have the opportunity to leave a tribute for a family member or friend who has survived, is living with or who has lost their battle with cancer on the inside of the Hägglund. It’s going to be departing on Voyage 1 bound for me where I’ll be doing exactly that for my family. You'll be able to follow the travels and adventures of this special Hägglund by searching for the hash tag #wheresthepinkhagg but definately on Absolute Antarctica and the Absolute Antarctica Facebook Page and I’m sure to be taking it out for a spin, where I’ll probably have a sombre moment or three!!!!

Haven't seen the a picture of the Hägg as yet so again I put on my "artist" cap again and thought i'd give you an idea what it's going to look like.........

Pic Michael Goldstein

So we are now looking at some 6-7 weeks before the ship is here for the V1 resupply. Its hard to beleive as time has gone so quick. Its going to be different as normally its me on the ship coming in and im excited at the prospect of new people coming in, the new role ill be taking on and seeing old friends. Im also sad in a way as these 16 very different people have really in many ways become family and with V1 arriving many will be departing.

The blogs have slowly become more and more difficult to find the motivation to write too i might add. The Absolute Antarctica FB page is going gang  busters with 800 likes in such a short space of time really surprises me.  For the last while Lauren a friend from the Division has been helping me with posting different things on the page and together i think we are making promoting and educating all things Antarctic in a way that most seem to be liking. Its an easy place to fall in love with and when the day comes that i'm unable for whatever reason to come back to Antarctica it will hold my heart forever!

Pic Darren White

I hope this finds you all well
Take Care

Michael

P.S..........Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
               Ralph Waldo Emerson