Friday, May 20, 2016

73 - Antarctic Chefs (the real person in charge), all things food and other stuff................

Hello Friends,

first thing it first this week I received my 300th follower on my Absolute Antarctica Facebook page which I'm stoked about. All seemed to happen quite quickly too as although I've had the blog running for sometime I only had the idea to make the page as I look at so much different stuff all the time some of you guys might be interested in seeing what I actually look at. Anyway this blog is a little different as a couple weeks ago i received a message via one of the station pages and it revolved around food so I'm going to attempt to show you what we do down here. However first I'm going to
need to apologise to Ali who is our Station Leader this year.........



I need to do this as I'm going to explain in this blog who is really in charge of the station and it isn't the Station Leader! Lets see if I can dig my way out of this one...........

So its actually the Chef and let me explain why. All things lead to food and bad food means bad moral besides and the threats of laxatives if we are bad is worse than any talking to from the Station Leader I can think of or comfy chair as we say. The top pic of Ali in her office has a picture of that comfy chair and believe me it isn't that comfy. Pic directly above is taken outside her office, the rock is one I moved there for her (remember that Ali......did a little digging in the right direction there I think).

The Mess/LQ (living quarters) is the centre of our little universes and the heart is the kitchen. We eat, drink, watch movies, lounge around, socialise, read in the library, play darts and other games here.  Its also home to the kitchen and dinning area aka home of the chef, sharp implements and I'm also sure this is where the laxatives hidden, somewhere.

We have 3 hot meals cooked a day with the first being morning tea served at 10am then lunch at 12:30pm and dinner at 6pm by our lovely Chef Lesley.

Pic Michael Goldstein
The kitchen........



 Breakfast is "catch and kill" or get it yourself in other words. All our food is delivered at the beginning of the season with anything short being delivered on when the ship comes back to pick up the summers. Obviously this year there was a little problem at Mawson and the AA didn't end up coming so all our extras like cheese, hydroponics seeds so we can grow a little ourselves didn't come.....:(

When our food is delivered it needs to go through customs as anything would leaving the country. But the big thing is packing it in such a way hat not only is it going to last the 2-3 week voyage but up to 12-13 months until we get resupplied. Potatoes, apples, oranges, lemons, pumpkin, lime, onions all need to be packed with a packet of Ethyl stopper. Basically is absorbs the Ethylene and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) making the fruit and veg last a lot longer. Gone are the days of individually wrapping it its in boxes as it would be delivered to the fruit shops.

Along with the Ethyl stopper we also have different cool rooms for different fruit and veg......

The Bank of cool rooms........
Pic Michael Goldstein
The individual cool rooms with their own specific temperatures.....

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
Inside the apple cool room ( one that still has something in it) and all the apples with the Ethyl Stopper packet in the box......

Pic Michael Goldstein



Pic Michael Goldstein
                      

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein
                         
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Pic Michael Goldstein
Even a freezer in Antarctica.......dont really want to go outside as its cold out there!!!                        

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein

One more interesting little thing that the cool rooms also use the outside air to assist with cooling. Outside is a bank of radiators which assist in cooling the fridges rather than wasting energy to cool them as much. 

Pic Michael Goldstein

Another thing we have to participate in is what we call Slushi, which is basically a kitchen hand. Below is Ladge who happened to be on Slushi the day i was taking the shots doing a quite normal job of peeling onions. As you can see he is almost a yeti too...........

Pic Michael Goldstein
Slushi for us over winter is coming around every 15 days being 16 on station and one is the chef, dont think would be a good idea for Lesley to do a slushi.......Monday this week was my turn and Sunday and half day Monday is the Chefs days off. SO the Slushi has to make all the food. Sunday is ok as you only need to make a brunch and roasts for dinner which Lesley gives really good instructions at the end of a meat cleaver........but Monday the slushi needs to make a morning tea and lunch. I was Slushi on Monday this week and think I have a little bit of an advantage with my background so this week I made Lazy mans hot dogs with the little boy already inside..................
Pic Michael Goldstein
Then I also made a Mars Bar roll.........was talking to Dad after seeing my last rolls which I put a piece of hazelnut chocolate in. I thought it didn't have enough and he suggested I put a piece of Mars Bar in......wow it was very nice.
Pic Michael Goldstein
 Lesley started in the afternoon and she was busy making dinner but didnt have the time to make dessert so I put together another vanilla slice only to find out there will be no more as that was the last of the cold set custard!!!!!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein
So moving right along here.....in the last week or so there has been some interesting things popping up on my radar.....one was a google street view off the Antarctic Peninsular on a little island in between Livingston and Greenwich Islands. Here you can see what its like to walk through a little penguin rookery.........what you don't get is the smell.......thats what you got to pay the big bucks for!!!! Have a look HERE.

Another one was pyramids in Antarctica......well I don't think so but made me chuckle a little. HERE

So you might remember from BLOG 70 I spoke about the AA on the rocks and it was close to almost 50 years to the day earlier the Nella Dan was aground in almost the same spot. Well I  was contacted by a chap called Max who was actually at Mawson when it happened in February 1966. He was kind enough to fill me in on some gaps in my story. He emailed me a lot of information that i'm hoping will fill in some holes form the last story for you. 

The Press releases at the time show a very interesting story.........

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED IN CANBERRA 16 February 1966. ANTARCTIC SHIP AGROUND IN HURRICANE AT MAWSON In the early hours of Sunday morning the mooring lines holding the Nella Dan in position in Mawson Harbour parted when winds exceeding 100-knots struck the ship. The work of relieving Mawson Station had just concluded and the men of the 1965 party, together with the Expedition’s leader, Dr Phillip Law and staff, and some members of the crew had gone ashore on Saturday evening as guests of the 1966 party for the traditional changeover celebration. Unable to return, and in fact, unable to even venture outside as the fury of the storm mounted, the 52 guests spent an uncomfortable night lying on the floor of the mess and recreation huts without bedding. Meanwhile, the captain and crew spent a watchful night with the ship’s engines running as the vessel tugged and strained at the six bow and two stern mooring lines attached to shore anchorages. At 0325 hours on Sunday, when the steady wind speed was 85-knots and gusts exceeded 100-knots, four of these lines parted and the ship drifted sideways with the wind. With zero visibility, in a blizzard of driving snow, Captain Wenzel Gommesen, with radar to guide him, managed to guide the bows of the ship against a lip of shore ice as the fore part of the keel ground on the rock bottom of the harbour. With one stern and three bow lines, and the engines at full speed ahead, Captain Gommesen succeeded in holding the ship in this position heading into the wind. In the late afternoon the winds moderated and the passengers returned to the ship by Army Dukw in a 35-knot gale. As the stern of the ship is floating free, no difficulty is envisaged in sailing from the harbour when tide and winds permit. However, the helicopter on the after deck has been damaged by the storm and will not be in action again during this voyage. PRESS RELEASE ISSUED IN CANBERRA 17 FEBRUARY 1966. ANTARCTIC SHIP REFLOATED AT MAWSONOn Tuesday morning the Nella Dan which had run ashore during the hurricane, backed off the rocks in Mawson Harbour with no apparent damage. At 11 a.m. the Nella Dan departed for Prydz Bay, a running survey of the edge of the Amery Ice Shelf is to be carried out before the ship visits the closed Australian Station at Davis.
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED IN CANBERRA 22 FEBRUARY, 1966.
 ANTARCTIC SHIP IN NEW WATERS The Australian Antarctic ship, “Nella Dan”, on Thursday penetrated to the bottom of Prydz Bay, 6 miles south of Davis Station, to a point within ten miles of the Munro Kerr Mountains. Dr. Phillip Law, with seven men including John Haigh, geophysicist, Dr. Robin Oliver, geologist, Brian Woinarski, Bill Edward, Max Corry, Dr. Scott Cameron and Ron Wilson, then took the launch “MacPherson Robertson” through a maze of icebergs to land on one of these features. Although ANARE aircraft had landed on the continental ice near Mount Caroline Mikkellsen in 1957, heavy pack ice had previously prevented any landing from the sea. Magnetic and geological observations were made, the surrounding hills were photographed and lichens were collected. The men returned at dusk and the ship proceeded around the impenetrable massed icebergs of the Polar Record Glacier tongue to try to approach Bolingen Islands which have never been visited. Friday, 18th February, “Nella Dan” stopped a mile north of Lichen Island, an outlier of this group, and again put out the launch. Dr. Law took Bill Edward, John Haigh, Dr. Cameron, Dr. Oliver, John Bennett, Max Corry and Peter Baggott to try to land on Lichen Island to which he had sledged over sea ice in 1955. Strong winds and rough seas breaking on the rocks, however, prevented a landing. The launch then proceeded through a close screen of icebergs in rough seas for a further three miles south-east to investigate another island. This proved to be a pair separated by a narrow 20-foot channel between steep rock walls. The launch managed with some difficulty to enter the cleft through which the wind was funnelling and a strong current was running. The men were landed and the motorboat with its crew stood by until they had completed their observations. ANARE geological and magnetic data were collected and the launch pitched and tossed its way four miles back to the “Nella Dan” which then sailed for Davis Station. 

8th March 1966.PERILOUS NIGHT FOR ANTARCTIC SHIP Captain Wensel Gommesen, Master of the expedition ship “Nella Dan”, was able to leave the bridge for the first time today after being on watch continuously for over 50 hours. With a blizzard impending “Nella Dan”: left Lewis Island hurriedly at 5 a.m. on Thursday, 3rd March, and headed north past accumulated icebergs of the 60-mile Dibble Iceberg tongue. The wind increased steadily until at 6 p.m. it had reached 100 m.p.h. The ship had nearly cleared the end of the tongue when she was forced to heave to into easterly winds. The night was one of grave anxiety. The ship pitched and rolled in giant seas, and spray from the waves crashing into the bows soon encased the superstructure and rigging in thick ice. The Captain stood at the engine controls peering into the inky darkness through the rotating clear-view screen of the bridge, the other windows being rendered opaque by the ice. The ship’s lights could do little more than illuminate the driving snow, the ice-covered deck and the waves surging past the bows. Every few minutes sheets of spray obliterated the entire scene. First mate Jorgensen at the radar reported the positions of icebergs, while from the wings and the crow’s-nest lookouts called attention to the floating growlers undetectable by radar. The Captain translated this information into crisp instructions to the helmsman. At 2 a.m. the ship entered an area of brash ice – pulverised pack ice covering the sea and studded with bergy bits and growlers. For twenty terrifying minutes the rock hard ice thumped and battered the hull and the ship wallowed in the huge swell as the Captain brought her around to move out of this area with the wind now astern. When daylight came at 4 a.m. it disclosed the full fury of the storm. Towering waves came screaming down ion the ship, their breaking crests cut off by the hurricane and hurled as spindrift and spume downwind until the whole surface of the sea was streaked with foam. The barometer had dropped steeply from 1018 to 966 millibars. In the Late afternoon the wind dropped to 50/60 knots and the ship was able to make some distance in a northerly direction away from the ice danger zone. The engineer rigged a searchlight on the wing of the bridge to help detect ice ahead. All on board spent another sleepless night until at dawn on Saturday the storm moderated.   

Phil Law who was the then Director of the Division some time wrote a couple books and in one calledYou Have to be Lucky (p190) he wrote about his experience about the grounding.....

The captain told me that, as the night wore on, he had been anxiously watching the wind increase and, as a precaution, had kept the ship’s main engines running. Suddenly at 0325 hours, two steel bow lines had parted and the third had snapped the length of rail line to which it was anchored. The ship had begun to drift rapidly astern towards the rocky West Arm of the harbour. Visibility was zero—even the foredeck was invisible because of dense, driving snow. Revving up the engines to full steam ahead, the captain had used the radar to guide him as he deliberately ran the bows aground, with the stern against a ledge of shore ice near the dog lines. To allow this he had been forced to jettison one of his stern lines. With full power he had barely managed to hold his position; in fact, at one stage during the night, the gusts had proved stronger than the engines and had forced the ship backwards!
The immediacy of the decisions that faced the captain, in a drifting ship in pitch darkness, can be appreciated when it is realised that the lines had parted at 0325 hours and two minutes later, at 0327, the bows were aground.

Then in another book Phillip Law: The ANARE Exploration Years 1954-66 on page 257 he talks about getting the Nella Dan off the rocks..........

The Nella Dan did not appear to be damaged and on Tuesday 15 February the Captain struggled to get it off the rocks. It took half an hour, with much manoeuvring, before the Nella Dan slowly slid back into deep water and moved out of Horseshoe Harbour into open water and headed towards Prydz Bay.     
Probably what speaks volumes is this picture of the Nella Dan on the rocks...........

Pic Unknown

Shortly after getting her off the rocks......

Pic Unknown
So on we have been getting a little bit of snow lately and while me and Chris were transfering fuel into the generator day tanks had a little play in it........I had noticed a slo-mo function on my iPhone and well think it turned out ok!!! LOL

Video Michael Goldstein

Sunset tonight was pretty specie too........

Pic Michael Goldstein
SO I know its a weird day to be putting out a blog but im heading out into the field this weekend with a group of guys for a long weekend. Though id better pull the finger out and get this one done as its been sitting there half done for a while now. Time goes SOOOO quickly down here, sun is going quickly too. Sun isnt getting up till after 1030am now and the pic above was taken at around 430pm.

Not long now and its going to be mid-winters but dont worry there will be another couple blogs out before............

Take care,

Michael

P.S............Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
            -Steve Jobs